Long flights can often take a toll on your body as you sit and try to sleep in a typically awkward position for hours on end. Stretching before your flight can help improve your circulation, stimulate your lymphatic system, and lubricate your joints so you don’t end up too stiff upon landing.
You can also try stretching a bit during your flight if there is no turbulence that requires you to stay with your seatbelt on all the time and feel the blood rush to your limbs.
Runner’s lunge and spin
Begin by squatting and resting your right foot between your palms while stretching your left back. Feel the stretch from your hip to your heel and step high on the ball of your back foot. Open your chest and gaze forward, lengthening your spine and activating your lats.
Leave your left palm on the floor and raise your right arm upward, turning to the right and opening your whole body to the side. Feel the stretch in your arms as if you want to touch the ceiling and breathe as deeply as you can. After three long inhales and exhales, bring your right palm down and switch legs.
Side lunge and twist
Assume a wide standing stance, bend over at the hips and bend your upper body toward the floor. Bend your left knee and leave your right palm on the floor as you raise your left arm upwards. Rotate to the left and feel your right leg lengthen as you bend deeper into your left leg.
With each inhale try to lengthen your spine a bit more and with each exhale try to deepen the twist. After your third exhale, lower your left hand and step toward your right leg, bending your right knee. Stretch your left leg and twist to the right. Stay for three long breath cycles, then bring your right hand back down.
Come to center and stay for a moment to reset, grabbing your elbows and relaxing your torso over your legs. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Downward facing dog and twist
Bring your hands and feet to the floor and raise your hips, forming an inverted V with your body. Bend your knees if you need to and feel your spine lengthen as you push the floor away from you. Extend your legs and feel your heels want to touch the ground, stretching your hamstrings and calves.
On your next inhale, grab your right calf or ankle with your left hand and look under your right armpit. It’s a little difficult because your balance is out of balance, so activate your core muscles and make sure both legs are strong and engaged. Stay for three long inhales and exhales before repeating everything on the other side.
After twisting to both sides, return to the starting position and bend your legs interchangeably as if trying to walk without moving your feet. This will reset your hips and send freshly twisted blood rushing from your spine into your legs.
Tasty Squat and Twist
Start with a squat and widen your stance as much as possible, opening your hips and stretching your lower back. Bring your hands together and open your elbows to further intensify the opening of the hips and straighten your spine.
From there, place your right palm diagonally forward from your right foot, leaving the elbow connected to your right leg. Open your body to the left side by raising your left arm and looking up. Try to keep your left hip as open as possible. Stay for three long inhales and exhales and repeat on the other side.
Once you’ve completed both twists, return to the starting position and stretch your lower back, lowering your glutes as low as possible. Don’t forget to breathe.
Standing Side Body Stretch
Start in a standing position and raise your arms above your head. Join your palms together and stretch, as if trying to touch the ceiling. Relax your shoulders and pull them away from your ears. Grasp your left wrist with your right hand and stretch your left arm, leaning to the left and opening your body to the right side. You should feel a stretch from your foot to your hip and obliques through your arms and fingertips.
Take a deep breath and go as deep as your body allows. After three long inhales and exhales, come back to the center and stretch the body to the left side. Repeat the entire exercise once or twice for maximum effect.
Roll up and down
And last but not least, start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale, look up and start rolling on your exhale. Articulate your spine and go as slowly as possible, controlling each vertebra as it descends. Once you have reached your forward fold depth, relax your upper body and let gravity take over.
Grasp your elbows and gently rock your body side to side, releasing your hips and stretching your lower back and hamstrings. Your legs don’t need to be completely straight if that feels too strenuous, so bend them as much as you want.
Stay for three long inhales and exhales, then just as slowly return to a standing position, stacking each vertebra on top of the other. Repeat once or twice for the full effect.
Gel seat cushion
Helps reduce back pain when flying or sitting for long periods.
Try these stretches the next time before boarding your plane and don’t forget to stretch when you land! It’s just as important.
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