When it comes to travel, taking off and flying half way around the world is an incredible experience. But unless you’re ponying up for a first class ticket, you might find yourself pretty cramped during that double-digit hour flight.
Even young and healthy passengers are not immune. Nobody wants to start his or her trip like that. But there’s hope! Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be exiting the plane in tip-top tourist shape.
Before Your Flight
This one is a no-brainer – book the aisle! Sure the window seat is attractive because you might have some cool views for part of the flight, but your body will thank you for sitting on the aisle. Aisle seats give you a little more wiggle room and the freedom to stretch your legs with relative ease. If you aren’t traveling with kids and you’re willing to pay a little extra, grab an exit row seat! This gives you quite a bit more space to stretch your legs than an economy or coach seat.
During Your Flight
Somebody has to sit in the middle seats, and it may be you. Sorry. We don’t always have the luxury of picking the exact seat we want. Do not worry. These tips will do your body good.
- Use a travel pillow behind your back or around your neck to keep your spine aligned and prevent slouching.
- Keep your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle. Alignment is important in preventing leg and lower back pain.
- Get up frequently. You don’t want to annoy Mr. Aisle seat, but take advantage of that open aisle when they aren’t serving drinks or a meal (if you’re lucky enough to get food service on your flight!) Movement prevents stiffness, which can cause pain.
- Drink plenty of water. Sure you may want to celebrate vacation with a few adult beverages, but water is important to keep your body fueled. If you drink alcohol on the plane, make sure you have two glasses of water to every one drink.
After Your Flight
If you want to keep your body feeling fresh and loose, get out and walk. It’s the best way to see a city. If you’re stuck 16-18 hours on a plane, the last thing you’ll want to do is board a bus or Uber and sit for an extended period. Also, you may want to take 30 minutes to freshen up, not only your face, but also your body. Do some light stretching and take a shower. The heat will help your tight back muscles relax.
Lastly, lugging around a heavy backpack or shoulder bag will also wear you down. Grab the essentials, a light jacket, a bottle or two of water, a snack, and a camera if you aren’t relying on your smartphone and that’s it. I often see families loading all of their things into one backpack. Even in rotations, pain can occur from carrying the extra weight while you’re walking. I like your family, but I don’t want to see you all of you in my office after a long trip!
My last suggestion is see our team before taking off. Making sure your alignment and posture are correct is as important before you travel as it is after you’ve taken your trip.
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