Having to spend long periods of time just sitting on an airplane may affect your health – the circulation of your blood could be affected, as well as, your muscles will probably tense up. Water retention towards your legs may result in swollen o inflamed feet, and chronic immobility, a major risk for a deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. There are some exercises that can be done to enhance your circulation of blood, as well as, reducing immobility symptoms. Perform these exercises on a regular basis during the entire flight, as much as you would like.

Exercising on a Plane Photo Credit: travel.cnn.com

Exercising on a Plane
Photo Credit: travel.cnn.com

Shoulder and Neck Exercises

Reduce the stiffness in your shoulders and neck by rolling your neck from left to the right in a circular motion accompanied by a light stretch by just bending the neck sideways. Perform shoulder rolls to improve the circulation of blood by hunching the shoulders to the front, in the upward direction and then backward in a circular movement. Lastly, bend over the head forward through bending the neck. Put your hands in the back of your neck to give a bit of pressure. Hold that position for thirty seconds. Straighten up and put one hand in your forehead. Forward your head while fighting off the motion together with your hands. Hold the position for a couple of seconds and release. Do it again for  10-20 times.

Abdominal and Back Exercises

Stretch out your back in order to alleviate muscle stiffness and pressure developed throughout the immobility. Move your upper body till your chest reaches your thighs. Hold that position for a couple of seconds and gradually return up. Do this for 20-30 times.

In order to work your stomach muscles, perform suctions through breathing out all air out of your lung then, rather than breathing in, pull your abdomen into your rib cage and hold it for a couple of seconds before relaxing and breathing in. Do it again for 10-20 times.

Knee Exercises

Perform knee lifts to enhance the circulation of blood to your heart from the legs. While you are sitting, raise your left knee simply by tightening your thigh muscles; hold that position for a couple of seconds and then lower. Perform the movement for 20-30 times after which repeat together with your right knee. Perform a stretching exercise by holding your right knee together with your hands and then hug it to your chest. Hold that position for 30 seconds after which repeat using the other leg. Do it again for 10 times using both legs.

Ankle Exercises

You can do ankle rolls while seating. Raise your feet from the floor and make a circular movement with your toes, moving clockwise using one foot and counterclockwise using the other for 15 seconds. When you are done, change directions for an additional 15 seconds. Repeat as frequently as you desire. Perform a lower leg or calf stretch by positioning your toes towards the floor and pushing your heels up as much as possible till you notice the stretch. Hold that position for a couple of seconds after which release. Do it again for 20 times; do that as frequently as possible. These exercises can help keep the circulation of blood and avoid blood clots developing.


You can also do some walking down the aisle from time to time. Should there be room at the rear of the plane to stretch without disturbing other people, stretch your entire body by getting up with your tiptoes and stretching your arms as much as you can. Stretch the legs and back by bending your waist and then reaching your toes using your hands. You may also perform knee lifts while you are standing, by holding your knee and tugging it into your chest. Hold that position for ten seconds and do it again together with your other leg.

Here’s a video guide to show you how you can exercise on a plane.

Airplane Stretches Travel Workout

So, next time you travel in a plane, try these exercises to avoid stiffness during traveling. Try to be creative in your exercise routine to keep you interested. Even some light stretching can do wonders to alleviate stiffness.

For more health and fitness tips, check out Dangerously Fit website.