Whether you’re jetting off for a weekend getaway or you’re headed out of town for work, flying economy isn’t always the most comfortable ride. The good news is cramped seats do NOT have to mean cramped muscles. Survive your travels by staying active with these small-space exercises, none of which should bother your fellow passengers.
1. Seated Neck Release: Even if you’re lucky enough to fall asleep on the flight, you’re bound to wake up with a crick in your neck (especially if you forgot to pack a Mini Ostrich Pillow). This is a quick stretch to keep those aches at bay. (via PopSugar)
2. Seated Cat Cow: When the in-flight entertainment fails to distract you from your back discomfort, this seated variation on a popular yoga pose is a very good place to start. First, push your chest out while keeping your shoulders back and looking up towards the ceiling. Then exhale, rounding your back and rolling your shoulders forward, like an arched cat. (via About Health)
3. Leg Movements: Drawing circles with your feet, lifting your knees regularly and massaging your calves are all very important to preventing deep vein thrombosis. For extra protection from blood clots, get yourself a pair of super cute compression socks. (via EVA Air)
4. Get Up and Move: It’s tempting to just hunker down with a book or a movie for the duration of the flight, but once the fasten seatbelt sign turns off, you really need to get up. We’re not saying strike a Chaturanga in the aisle, but in order to get some real exercise you’ve got to get out of the seat. Set a goal to get up regularly, like whenever your seatmate heads to the galley. (via StyleBistro)
5. Yoga Poses: Be sure to read through all 18 of these fantastic yoga poses that are air-travel friendly. We’re not just talking seat stretches either (although there are plenty of those). They’ve got a very discreet tree pose and a no-impact muscle-building stance. (via CNN Travel)
6. Seated Tuck Jumps: This might be a tricky one for tall folks, but if you have the legroom then you can manage a very compact ab workout — even if you’re stuck in the middle seat. Keep your legs at about 90 degrees and pull them towards you quickly using your core, tapping your thighs to your palms. (via Shape)
7. Standing Calf Raises: The post-drinks bathroom line is always a long one, so why not make the most of that standing time? Calf raises help with all-important blood circulation AND tone your muscles. You can take it up a notch by raising one foot at a time, or by using a briefcase as a step and giving the bottom of your foot a much-needed stretch. (via Wikihow)
8. Resistance Training: The TSA says resistance bands are a-okay to bring in a carry-on bag and since they’re so compact, they’re a pretty brilliant solution to missing your regularly-scheduled gym visit. Try some leg lifts when the aisle is quiet, or seated thigh taps during a movie. Both are great, small-space workouts for sculpted legs. (via About Health)
9. Upper Body and Core: Check out the upper body workout you can get from simply lifting your own body weight. Not to mention the ab and hip movement you’ll get from this crossover leg lift. Who knew there was so much potential in such a small seat? (via Fitness Reloaded)
10. Airport Yoga Rooms: Don’t forget the workout potential in your departure terminal. More and more airports are opening yoga rooms, so you can get your endorphins (and zen fix) in the midst of a hectic travel day. (via Wendy Perrin)
Do you have any favorite exercises to get you through painful, long-haul flights? Share your tried and true moves in the comments.