The biggest obstacles to stretching on an airplane is that we are required to sit in our seats all the time and we have an idea of what stretching “looks like” that, in actuality, we can expand upon, or in this case, narrow upon. With that in mind, all you have to do is narrow your vision of how one stretches. Simply put, only do movements that stay within the space you have to sit in. From here you can do movements that increase circulation, limber you up and even strengthen you. Here are some narrow movements you can do right in your seat without bothering your neighbors. It may feel silly at first, but your body will thank you later.
1. Increase Circulation to Your Lower Body
a. Toe Raises- Flex your toes up to the ceiling. 10 times.
b. Heel Raises- Rise up your heels until your bent knees are balanced on the balls of your feet. 10 times.
c. Alternate Toe Raises- Alternate between flexing the left toes up, then the right toes up. 10 times.
d. Alternate Heel Raises- Alternate between raising your left heel up, then, your right heel up. 10 times.
e. Knee Hinges- Loosely swing your knees together and apart, within the borders of your seat width. 10 times.
f. Knee Floats- Alternate lightly floating your left knee up 6 inches off the floor and put it down, then the left knee up and put it down. 10 times.
a. Pelvic Rolls- Loosely alternate rolling your tailbone to point backward, then to point forward under you, then come to center. 10 times.
b. Tummy Tuckins- Exhale your tummy inwards and upwards. 10 times.
a. Overhead Press- Gently clasp your fingers in front of you, invert your palms to face away from you and press your palms forward and up toward the ceiling. 3 times.
b. Shoulder Shrugs- Inhale your shoulders gently up toward the ceiling and bring them down on your exhales. 3 times.
c. Shoulder Rolls- Inhale your shoulders gently up toward the ceiling and roll them down the back on your exhales. 3 times.
d. Overhead Tricep Stretch- Gently inhale one arm up and over your head, bend your forearm back and dangle that hand down your back. Pull the elbow back with your other hand. Exhale to bring it down. 1-3 times each arm.
a. Chin Drop- Inhale and gently sink your chin down toward your chest, exhale it back to neutral position. 3 times.
b. Head Tilt Side- Inhale and gently sink your right ear down toward your right shoulder, while keeping your left shoulder in place, exhale it back to neutral position. 1-3 times each side.
c. 45° Chin Drop- Rotate your face 45° left and inhale as you gently sink your chin down toward your left chest, exhale it back to neutral position. Repeat other side. 1-3 times each side.
d. Neck Extension- Lace your fingers round the back of your neck to support the weight of your head going too far back. Inhale while looking up at the ceiling. Exhale back to neutral position. 3 times.
5. Back Bracer for Landing No one ever talks about this but I do this aaaaaaallllll the time. Whenever the plane is about to land, I push my feet down into the floor to un-weight my body from the jolt of the airplane landing being transferred up the seat into my body. It puts the jolt into my abs, legs and gluts instead of my spine and head- Make as if you are going to stand up, you’ll feel it immediately in your legs and you’ll know you are doing it right.
Have a great flight everyone!