Yes, you can work out on a flight—here’s how
Get up and get moving!
With travel restrictions easing around the world, now is the time to pool all your pending leaves into a quick getaway to an exotic destination. Whether you have a leisurely island paradise calling your name or a secluded mountain cabin, the road to ultimate bliss can often start with prolonged time on a flight. If you are looking to make those tedious hours more productive or just exercise your legs after long hours sitting in a cramped position, the good news is that it is possible to work out on a flight—the experts at virtual fitness studio The Tribe tell us how.
Wait, why do I need to stay active on a flight?
It might seem like your time on the journey is better spent fantasising about your idyllic destination, but hear us out. Sitting stationary for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis, with poor blood circulation causing the formation of blood clots. It is also natural to get restless, making the duration twice as hard to endure—and there are only so many times you pace around the cabin without getting a look from the stewardess.
The good news is that staying fit on a flight does not need you to drop and give twenty—you can explore different ways to exercise your mind, body and soul. Robin Behl, co-founder of The Tribe, agrees. “You can choose to employ this time to train the mind since the body is restricted in a confined space. This could be by solving puzzles, reading a self-help book, articles on research and self-exploration. You can even choose to listen to a podcast on subjects that will help you explore your body better as a mover and educate you on injuries you face and body awareness in general,” he says.
Okay, I’m onboard. What do I need to know about working out on a flight?
As a rule of thumb, Behl recommends against opting for exercises that are movement-heavy or require ample space to be executed. Anything that requires equipment, of course, is off the table as well. “You will need to avoid anything that can hit or disturb your fellow passengers, which is probably most of the conventional exercises, such as squats, lunges and planks. Instead, you can use this time to practise your breathwork with guided or unguided meditations. It also helps to practice stillness, as the art of staying can help you gather more mind and body control,” he explains.
Got it! Which exercises can I try instead?
If you are looking to get the blood flowing after prolonged periods of time sitting cramped in a seat, here are some exercises to try:
Stretching might not seem like a mighty exercise on its own, but its importance in the world of fitness is monumental. If you’re looking to relax your posterior muscles without getting up from your seat, reach both your hands straight up. Grab hold of one wrist and lean slightly to one side before repeating the same motion on the other side.
After all those hours of sitting hunched at an awkward angle, your shoulder muscles are likely going to be sore. Bring some mobility back to your upper torso by shrugging with your shoulders until you reach your ears. Release your shoulder and turn your head briskly to the right. Alternate this same motion on each side five times to ease the stiffness in your shoulder.
If you have some legroom to play with, you’ll want to utilise that time during long layovers by bringing some circulation back to the lower torso. Start by hugging your right leg as high as you can towards your chest while keeping the left foot flat on the ground. Release the right leg and stretch it as far as you can in front of you, before repeating the same motion on the other side ten times.
We hope this helps you have a smoother journey with fewer leg cramps and more energy to make beautiful memories on your trip!