The Importance of Stretching During Air Travel
Most of us are aware of the importance and need to get up and stretch particularly during those long haul flights to avoid blood clots, which can be very serious and in some cases, life threatening.
But did you know there are other factors to consider as well, particularly when seating in a cramped airline seat for too long? Here are some other reasons for you to get out of that seat and stretch, especially if your flight is longer than two hours in duration.
Besides blood circulation restriction, stretching will help relieve muscle fatigue and cramping.
By holding one position for an extended period of time causes your muscles to be in a continuous state of contraction, or shortening in this case which restricts blood flow and circulation to those muscles, as well as decreased energy, resulting in deprived oxygen at the same time. If we allow this to continue for extended periods of time, many people begin to experience ‘muscle cramping’ or ‘muscle spasms’, which can be very painful and annoying. Not good for our total overall well – being!
Get Up and Move Around
Taking a few moments to get up out of your airline seat and take a walk up and down the cabin aisle, or even a short restroom break, will help stretch those constricted fatigued muscles and improve blood flow and circulation throughout the entire body. Moving around will also flush out lactic acid, sugars used for energy in the body when oxygen is unavailable. By moving about, we restore needed oxygen to our deprived muscles, which is a very good thing!
For those that should experience muscle cramping, getting up and walking around is the best way to relieve those painful symptoms.
Stretching During Air Travel Also Prevents Injury
Not only will movement help prevent these harmful symptoms, but stretching will also help prevent injury caused by prolonged sitting in one position for extended periods of time. Short constricted muscles and particularly weak muscles are at high risk for injury, so you need to regularly stretch throughout the flight. I am sure we have all experienced muscle soreness, tightness and even minor pulled muscles after sitting in one position for too long, so get up, stretch and walk or even stand for a short while during your flight.
One last thing experts suggest is to think about your breathing occasionally on the plane.
A deep, slow breath in, followed by a relaxed exhale, sends a relaxation message from the brain to your muscles, helping to reduce muscle tension.
Set a Timer To Remind You to Stretch
On a recent long – haul flight from Vancouver, British Columbia to Sydney, Australia which was well over eleven hours, I could not help but notice that very few people actually got up out of their seats during the flight. If they did, it was merely to use the washroom and then back to their seats.
I always choose an isle seat when flying for a number of reasons. First and foremost, is that I can easily get up out of my seat at any time, even if it is just to stand by my seat for a few moments to stretch. I also enjoy the isle for the extra space and not having that cramped in feeling, this particularly if my flight is going to be over 2 hours in length.
Most everyone has a watch, cell phone, laptop or other device where they can easily set a timer for themselves. This is great idea for those of you who do have difficulty getting out of that seat on those long flights. Try to get up and stretch every couple of hours if possible and take a stroll down the isle. I usually stop and ask the flight attendants for a fresh glass of water while I’m at it!
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