It can seem hard to reach your fitness goals when you’re traveling and find yourself sitting in an upright position more than racking up steps. The thing to remember is that any and all movement matters in the quest for health, even on a plane. In fact, it’s especially important to keep moving in-flight, as it will help ease anxiety and boredom, and can help prevent serious health issues (no one wants post-travel related blood clots as souvenirs).
While current regulations don’t allow shuffle sprints in the aisle, and jumping jacks might make everyone nervous, there are a few exercise moves that can activate your muscles and keep your body feeling good. From first class to that cramped middle seat way in the back, these are some simple exercises you can do on an airplane.
Moves You Can Do In Your Seat
All of these are good for you, and none of them take up much space. We suggest telling your in-flight neighbors about your plans, and inviting them to join in the fitness fun. You’ll be the healthiest and possibly the happiest row on the plane! Repeat each move multiple times during your flight for best results.
Neck #1: slowly tilt your head forward and backward as far as it will go. ant some added resistance? When bringing your head forward press gently but firmly with your hand of your forehead.
Neck #2: slowly tilt your head to the right (trying to touch your ear to your shoulder) and then do the same on the left side. Get some resistance again by pressing your hand against the side of your face that you’re leaning into.
Shoulders: shrug your shoulders thoughtfully, lifting them up to your ears and pushing them down, then roll them backward and forward to loosen yourself up.
Back: fold yourself in half, trying to get your chest to touch the tops of your thighs and hold for a few seconds before slowly returning to your seated position.
Chest: pretend you are holding something over your head, or clasp your phone or water bottle, tensing and flexing your chest muscles as your pull the (imaginary or real) object down in front of you, towards your knees. Just remember to keep yourself completely upright and make your arms and chest do the work.
Bicep Curls: making a fist, or holding a small object like an apple or water bottle, with your elbows at your waist, bring your hand up toward your shoulder. Since you probably don’t have dumbbells, you’ll need to create resistance yourself and pretend your arm doesn’t want your hand to make it upward.
Abdominal Suctions: exhale and then engage your abdominal muscles, pulling your stomach up and in. Hold for 1 second, then release.
Thigh Squeezes: Make a fist with each hand and place them between your knees. Squeeze your thighs together and hold for 5 seconds, then release. This will engage the adductors, your inner thigh muscles.
Glute Squeezes: Tighten your rear muscles as much as you can and hold for 5 seconds, then release. This should help keep your backside more comfortable while sitting for a long flight.
Moves to Try When the Fasten Seatbelt Sign is Off
When it’s safe to move about the cabin, step to it! Be sure not to block anyone’s way, and if you’re concerned about the safety of performing any of these moves please speak to your flight attendant.
Lunges: whether you can do frontward and backward lunges from the galley, or you try to lunge your way to the lavatory, these moves will get your blood flowing.
Squats: you probably can’t do these in your row unless you’re in First Class, so we suggest performing a set of squats while waiting for the bathroom.
Calf Raises: need something from the overhead bin? Why not knock out a couple sets of calf raises while searching your luggage?
Do you have in-flight fitness moves you do to stay sane and keep moving while traveling? Tell us in the comments below!
– Team FitStar