We all can’t wait to leave on our dream trips for the summer. While some of us will be making short trips, others will plan really long journeys to get to their home countries or cooler climates. Though we might be excited to get away from the heat and dust of Dubai for a while, we need to give serious thought to the effect that flying will have on our bodies, especially if we are taking long haul flights.
Some of the potential risks that are associated with flying include dehydration, swelling of the joints and the risk of airborne diseases like colds and even chickenpox. My mom got chickenpox once when travelled on a long haul flight.
One step you can take to minimize these risks is to perform a few simple Pilates exercises which can ease the stress of long distance travel.
Michelle Scott, STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer at Real Pilates said that sitting idly in cramped spaces can increase a number of health risks like reduced circulation of arterial influx of fresh blood and venous outflow, bloating, clotting of blood in the lower leg leading to deep vein thrombosis. It can also increase the risk of back injury.”
According to Michelle, the best way to reduce muscle stiffness and backaches during the flight, and even help reduce the effects of jet lag is to perform frequent movements and keep active during long and even short flights.
Here are five key exercises to practice during flights –
• Seated Leg Lifts – From a neutral seated position, raise one knee towards your chest, enabling the lower back to slightly stretch and then place it back down. Repeat the same activity on the other side. Maintaining a constant circulation of blood through the joints minimizes the risk of DVT. It also engages the abdominal muscles to support the spine.
• Elevated Elbow Stretch – Raise both hands above the head, grasp the opposite elbow and pull it towards one side till you feel the stretch. Hold the pull for around 15 seconds and repeat the same with the other elbow.
• Seated Calf Raises – Whilst seated upright, apply pressure to the balls of the feet and slightly raise both the heels off the floor. Slowly release the pressure whilst lowering the heels, this will help mobilize the ankle joint. Repeat 15 times to increase circulation and reduce swelling of the feet.
• Contraction of abdominal muscles – Siting up straight with the spine along the length of the chair, take a deep breath and contract the muscles by holding them for five seconds. Repeat about ten times, every couple of hours during long flights, to keep the abdominal muscle active and improve digestion.
• Modified Spine Twist – Cross your arms over your chest. Take a gentle twist to one side, return to the center. Keep your chin up and your spine neutral. This activates the spine in to rotation, ease tension in the back and shoulder girdle.
With these exercises to keep you limber during your flights, you should still be fit and active when you land.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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