I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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Before flying, it’s best to engage in light bodyweight exercises and yoga stretches. It’s best to get the body moving and the blood flowing. Do some work on your hips and lower back, like bodyweight squats and side lunges.
Before heading to the airport, try a quick 30-minute full-body bodyweight workout. A quick jog around the block is always beneficial if running is your thing. The objective is to get your body moving and the blood flowing. If you must quickly head to the airport, there are moves you can do at your gate, as well.
Sitting for several hours a day is the primary hip and lower back tightness source. Some yoga poses you can do for travel days include:
Crescent lunge. This exercise stretches the hip flexors and quads.
Low lunge. Stretches the hip flexors and quads.
Lizard pose. Stretches the outer hip (adductor) muscles & gluteus medius.
Garland pose (yoga squat). Stretches the inner thigh (abductor) muscles.
Child’s pose. Great for the lower back!
Cat/cow. Improves blood circulation between the vertebrae of your spine to help alleviate back pain and stiffness.
Downward facing dog. Helps open up the chest and shoulders. Also improves posture.
Standing forward fold. Helps release tension off the lower back, shoulders, and neck. Also stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calve muscles.
Sphinx pose. Helps stretch and lengthen the abdominal muscles, strengthens the spine, and opens the chest, lungs, and shoulders.
These moves are the perfect combination of mobility exercises and yoga for travel. do these moves during your flight to help prevent muscles stiffness and achy joints.
Neck Rolls. This is easy as you can do this while sitting in your seat. Start by dropping your chin to your chest, then rotate your head, first in a counterclockwise motion, then after a few rotations, in a clockwise motion.
Shoulder Rolls. Sit in a relaxed position and slowly roll your shoulders forward a few times, then back a few times. Do this for as long as you need to feel comfortable in the shoulder blades.
Chest-Opening Stretch. This is an excellent flying exercise for when you’re getting up to stretch or waiting for the bathroom. Interlace your fingers behind your back and bend forward slightly. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and repeat.
Toe Raises. With your heels on the floor, lift your toes as high as possible to get a good stretch. Hold, then flatten your feet back down to the floor.
Ankle Circles. Lift and twirl your feet as if you’re drawing circles with your toes. Switch directions every 15-20 seconds.
Quad Stretches. Another exercise to do when you’re up and about in the cabin. One leg at a time, grab your ankle, and gently pull it up behind your back. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Also, make sure you’re holding on to the seat so you don’t lose balance when hitting turbulence!
Squats. These don’t have to be fancy, but a great during-flight exercise is doing a couple of gentle squats while roaming the aisle. This will help increase blood flow throughout your legs and prevent muscle stiffness later.
Walk. At least once every two hours, you should get out of your seat to walk around. This helps with circulation and vastly decreases the risk of a DVT. Just make sure the seatbelt sign is turned off.
You’ve made it! It’s the end of your travel day. Even if you could get some movement in during your flight, it’s always a good idea to get some in afterward, too.
The best post-flying exercises involve stretches that open up your back, chest, hips, and calve muscles. Some great post-flying exercises include:
Glute Bridges. Sitting for long periods leads to weak and achy backs, so getting some glute bridges in will help strengthen and open up that lower back.
Inchworms. The inchworm is a full-body strength move. The movement helps tighten up the core muscles and opens up the shoulders.
Standing Bent-Over Calf Stretch. Nothing feels more satisfying than stretching those achy calves after a long flight. This exercise will not only stretch the calves but the hamstrings as well.
To do this pose, first stand with your feet staggered. Bend your back knee and keep your front knee straight as you fold forward and pull up gently from underneath your toes. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
And, of course, another chest stretch. The airplane seats are not conducive to good posture, so chances are you spent the majority of your flight hunched over. Do another post-flying chest stretch to help open up the chest, improve circulation to the upper extremities, and improve posture.
Boho Beautiful is my favorite YouTube Channel Series for all things yoga & vegan living. I do Juliana and Mark’s yoga almost every morning and even purchased a few of their awesome yoga programs. I personally love this video for the best yoga for travel.
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