If you’ve been on any flight longer than an hour or two, you know how awful it feels to be stuck in a seat for ever and ever while you’re just DYING to stretch your body out. (Don’t even get me started on MEGA long 10+ hour flights!!) It’s compounded by how small of a space you’re in, even when standing in the aisle, making just about any satisfying stretch to keep the blood flowing feel close to impossible — right?? I GOTCHU. If you travel a lot for work or love taking an annual vacay, here are the three best must-do leg stretches to do so you can stay loose and comfortable during your flight! (all tried and true 😉)
All of these stretches must be done while standing in the aisle — do a quick warmup by walking to the FURTHEST bathroom possible on the plane! Bonus: if you don’t feel comfortable standing in the smack middle of the plane with everyone watching you, if you walk to the farthest bathroom at the back of the plane, no one will be able to see you back there! (If you’re seated in the back of the plane, do a lap up to the front and back as a warmup.)
Must-do leg stretch #1: lateral leg lifts
For this stretch, stand facing the windows of the plane. Hold onto the back of a seat or overhead compartment, or place your hands on your hips. Raise one leg up in the air (out to the side) as high as possible without straining yourself — do this movement five times, then switch to the other leg. Repeat this set at least twice, or as much as you need to feel the stretch! You should feel this in your upper thighs and outside of your hips. The first few reps will be easy, but you’ll start to feel resistance after 15 seconds!
Must-do leg stretch #2: lunges
For this stretch, stand facing either end of the plane. You can use the back of a seat for balance if you like, but try your best not to actually lean weight onto it! You should be using your legs to power you through this stretch, not your arms lifting you up. Leave one foot planted, and with the other take one big step out in front of you. Both feet should be pointed forward. Now, bend your knees and lower yourself down until your back knee grazes the floor (or comes close!). If you’re doing it right, both legs should be bent at 90º angles when you’re lowered down. Let your knee graze the floor and come right back up! Repeat 3-5 times, and then switch legs. You should be feeling this in your quads and glutes (your booty!).
Must-do leg stretch #3: V split toe touch
For this stretch, get in the same position as if you’re ready to do a lunge. Your legs should form a V, like you’re about to slide down and do the splits. But instead of lowering your body straight down, reach both hands up and over your head and then down to the foot that’s in front. If you can’t reach your toes, reach for your shins! Hold this for five seconds — feel the deep stretch in your hamstrings! — and then return to stand. Repeat two more times, then switch sides!
There you go! To stay as loose and comfortable as possible, I would recommend doing these leg stretches at least once every 90-120 mins (time these stretches with the movies you’re watching!) during your long flight, or whenever you get up to use the bathroom. Is there anything else you would add to this list?? Let me know in a comment below! Or check out some other helpful tips here!