Ever notice how even a short flight (no crossing time zones), leaves you weary? Kiran Sawhney, fitness instructor and owner of Fitnesolution, a fitness centre in Delhi, says the trick is to keep moving, both on ground and while in the plane. Before you board the plane, instead of lounging at the airport, take a brisk walk through the terminal. “This should invigorate and de-stress you, and may reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis),” says Sawhney. DVT strikes when you are inactive for long periods, as on a plane.
Also Read DVT: It could happen to you
On the flight, switch to flight socks and (unless you are getting some shut-eye) stay active: flex and relax your feet and the other muscles in your legs; stretch your arms, and rotate your neck from time to time to avoid stiffness; get up and walk down the aisle or make pedalling motions with your legs. Stretch in your seat during the flight, and also take 10 minutes to do so afterwards. Between flights and when you arrive, take a brisk walk in the airport terminal as soon as possible to revive blood circulation. Keep drinking water as the dry cabin air can cause dehydration.
And s-t-r-e-t-c-h: Exercise in the air means you arrive at your destination feeling fitter.
Stretches to ease the stiffness
You can do these exercises on the plane or after that brisk walk once you get off, whether in the airport lounge or back in your hotel room—just don’t leave them for later. “It only takes 10 minutes,” says Sawhney, and they can all be done while seated.
1. Interlock your fingers and breathe in. Stretch your arms out, pushing your palms outwards and ahead of you as you breathe out. Repeat three-four times.
2. Extend arms in front, palms facing the ground. One hand at a time, pull the thumb (using your other hand) gently towards you as you breathe out. Then turn palms to face the ceiling, and pull each finger down (again, using the other hand), pointing towards the floor, one at a time, breathing out each time.
3. Rotate wrists clockwise and anticlockwise, 5-10 times, then shake them out.
4. Rest linked hands on the back of your head. Let your head fall forward and breathe deeply five times as you let the weight of your arms and head stretch the neck and upper back.
5. Reach over your head to hook the fingers of your left hand over the rim of your right ear. Ease your head over to stretch the side of your neck. Take five deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
6. Rotate the neck five times, both clockwise and anticlockwise.
7. Raise your shoulders. Breathe out and drop your shoulders. Repeat four-five times.
8. Rotate shoulders forwards and backwards, five times each.
9. Try to turn (twisting only above the waist) to face the back of your seat. Repeat three-five times on each side.
10. Brace your hands on your knees and alternately arch your back and curl over to tuck your tummy in. Repeat three-five times.
11. Bring each knee alternately up towards your chest five times.
12. Rotate your ankles 5-10 times, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
13. Slip off your shoes. Spread your toes out and flex the foot, then make a “point” of your foot like a ballet dancer. Do this flexing and extending five times on each foot.
14. Keeping your toes on the floor, raise and lower your heels 20-30 times.
15. To refresh your face:
• Lightly tap on the top and sides of your head with your fingers.
• Gently massage from temples to under the jaw.
• Place thumbs above the bridge of your nose, and let your face push towards your hands as you gently squeeze your eyebrows between the thumb and index finger.
• Massage your fingers gently along your cheekbones under the eye, towards your nose, and then outwards from nostril across upper jaw, and finally along the lower jaw.
• Circle your lower jaw clockwise and anticlockwise five times.
• Use the palm of your hand to rotate the tip of your nose five times, clockwise and anticlockwise.
• Firmly tug your ears upwards and downwards three times each, then rotate forwards and backwards three times.
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