• Keeping Fit When Flying: On-Board Exercises

    Keeping Fit When Flying: On-Board Exercises

    If you’re going on holiday somewhere hot, sunny and exotic this year (i.e. anywhere but England), then the chances are you’ll be boarding a plane and making the journey by air.

    But if you’ve been following the fitness news and research in recent months, you’ll have noticed a lot of studies and reports focusing on the dangers of sitting down for too long.

    Not only can it cause problems like deep vein thrombosis, but it can also lead to many future health complications.

    When you’re on a plane though, there isn’t much to do other than sit down. However, there are a number of exercises that you can try to help keep your blood flowing effectively around your body and maintain healthy circulation. We’ve put them together for you below.

    Upper Body

    • Rolling your neck

    When you’re sat looking around for the food or drink trolley, use the opportunity to rotate your head and roll your neck, gently looking from left to right, then up to the ceiling and back down the floor.

    • Rolling your shoulders 

    Do the same with your shoulders, shrugging them up to your neck and rolling them back down to a fully relaxed position. Alternate between rolling them forwards and then backwards.

    • Stretching your shoulders

    If you need to get something out of the overhead locker, take the opportunity to stretch your shoulders. Stretch one arm up to the cabin roof, and then drop it behind your head, bending at the elbow. Push your arm between your shoulder blades and feel the stretch in your deltoids and triceps.

    Move your arm across your chest, and pull it close with your opposite hand, stretching your shoulder blades again. Repeat both exercises with the other arm.

    • Opening your chest 

    After you’ve done your rear deltoids, you should try and open up your front deltoids and chest too. Place your arm on the head rest in front of your seat, and push gently (too hard and you’ll annoy the person in front), turning your body away from your arm. Feel the stretch across the front of your body, and repeat with the opposite arm, turning the other way.

    Abs & Core

    • Crunching your upper abs

    You’ll probably do this one fairly often already, whenever you drop the pen or need something from the bag in front of you. Simply drop your arms in front of your legs, and lean forward, running your hands down your shins until they touch the floor and you feel your abs pull tight.

    • Crunching your lower abs

    Like a reverse sit up, this time rather than crunching to your legs, bring your legs to you by raising your knees and pulling them into your chest, as if you’re hugging them. Hold in this position for a few seconds. If two legs is too difficult, alternate between each leg.

    • Twisting in your seat 

    Work those obliques as if you’re trying to twist and grab someone’s attention behind you. Keep feet flat on the ground and upper body locked, before turning from the waist and grabbing the arm rest with both hands, to keep your body pulled to the side. Alternate between turning to each side.

    • Stretching your obliques 

    Another one for when you’re getting your bag from the locker, stretch your arms out high, and then bend your whole body over to one side, and then the other. You’ll feel the stretch along the side of your body down to your obliques.

    Lower Body

    • Raising your legs

    If you have the space in front of you when sat down, lift one foot off the floor with a bent knee, and then extend the leg out in front of you, as if you were slowly about to kick a football. Slow and controlled is key here, as you tense the muscles in your upper leg.

    • Rocking your feet (seated and standing)

    Whilst seated, push your feet forward onto your tip toes, and then rock them backwards onto your heels, lifting your toes up off the floor. Repeat forwards, rocking onto your toes and lifting your heels.

    You can do the same heel-to-toe motion whilst standing too, which will help intensify the stretch in your calf muscles.

    • Rotating your ankles 

    Often neglected by most people, this one is important in strengthening the support your ankles provide to the rest of your body. Raise one or both feet off the ground, and rotate each foot around in a clockwise and counter clockwise motion.

    • Stretching quads

    If you’re standing in a queue for the toilet, take the opportunity to stretch your quads, by holding onto a head rest and pulling your ankle into your bum.

    Full Body

    • Touching your toes

    Not for the self-conscious, you have to fully commit to this exercise. Standing in the aisle, with you feet slightly apart, bend from the hips and run your hands down your legs as far as you can, seeing if you can touch your toes. It’s a great full body stretch, but you will get some strange looks.

    • Lunging in the aisle 

    The same goes for this one. It’s a perfect exercise to work your legs and obliques, but you will need to lunge down to the aisle next to other passengers. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes, as your step forward, drop down, and open up your hip flexors.

    Need a demonstration of these exercises or advice on working out whilst on holiday? Just speak with any of our personal trainers. 

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