10 Stretches you Should be Doing Before Any Long-haul Flight

Until some mad scientists invent teleportation, flying still remains the best way of long distance travel. When people are strapped for cash, those economy seats really start to look like a bargain, and that’s perfectly understandable.

Stretches before Flights

However, the problem occurs when individuals have to deal with long-haul flights. Those small, uncomfortable seats start to wear on the body after some time, and it’s absolutely vital to prepare ourselves for those situations. Stretching is the best way to do so. Unfortunately, some individuals tend to be too embarrassed for their own good but trust me, there’s nothing like a good stretch to keep the blood flowing.

After you try it out once, we can practically guarantee you’ll be amazed by the results. Here are some of the best exercises one can do for instant relief.

Neck rolls

The neck is the first problematic area that cannot withstand a lot of tension. The good thing about these exercises is that you don’t have to be an Olympic-style athlete to perform them. Furthermore, you can do them straight from your seat at any time. There are multiple variations to these stretches, including rolling the head from side to side, downwards and upwards, dropping your chin all the way to the chest and holding on for a couple of seconds, and so on. They don’t have to be overly technical, but they work wonders. A light massage also does the trick sometimes. Don’t be afraid to try it out.

Work those leg joints

Getting cramped up is the worst feeling in the world. First of all, it comes out of the blue, so you don’t even have the time to prepare, it doesn’t go away that easily, and it can come back at any time. Not to mention that it hurts like hell! Long-haul flights make us more susceptible to cramps, but there are several ways to combat these annoyances.

The most important thing is to get the blood flowing through your legs. The best way to achieve this is by doing simple leg stretches, such as ankle rolls, knee stretches, or by giving yourself an intense massage. With the smallest of efforts, cramping up will become a thing of the past.

Quadriceps stretch

This exercise is an absolute necessity when working out on a treadmill in a gym, but did you know that it can help when taking a long-haul flight as well? Let’s explain it in a more detailed manner.

First things first, make sure you have a perfect balance, by holding onto a wall or any immovable object in your vicinity. Afterward, grab your right leg by the joint, flex it so that the knee is facing the floor, and try holding on for several seconds. Do the same process with the left leg as well. This simple stretch will release tension in the front thighs as well as hip flexors.

Calf raises

This movement will give you that terrible burning sensation in the calves, as it specifically targets this area. Still, while it may be uncomfortable at first, it increases the blood flow immensely, which helps to avoid cramping up. There is no need for a huge number of repetitions, a few calf raises for each leg is all it takes.

To perform this physical activity, simply raise on your tippy toes until the heel is no longer touching the floor, and put it back down. Do you feel the burn?


Just like in the Beatles song, only without the shouting part, as you wouldn’t want to scare the other passengers. After sitting for a long time, the pressure starts to mount on the spine, and it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible.

You can do so by grabbing onto the armrests (yeah, you’ll be hogging both armrests for a second, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do). Afterward, start to twist your torso ever so slightly, increasing the rotation with every repetition. Doesn’t that feel great?

Figure four stretch while standing up

Here is one of those movements that seem very complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize just how useful it can be. Either way, we advise you to start slowly, and gradually increase the depth of the lunge as you develop more confidence in this movement pattern.

To start the stretch, simply cross your right leg over the left knee, forming a number 4 with your legs. As you might assume, that’s where the name for this stretch comes from. After that, all that’s left to do is to drop your hips as much as you can, all the while maintaining a good posture with your back straight. Once you’re done with one leg, move over to the other side and repeat the same movement. Don’t be alarmed if you lack confidence at first. As time moves on, you will find better balance and this stretch will become an integral part of your routine.

Folding forward seems weird, but it works

This is one of those stretches that might look weird to strangers who might be watching you, but it is also highly effective, and that’s the most important thing as far as we’re concerned. It’s a great way to stretch your lower back, which is a part of the body that is often problematic to a lot of people. Besides that, it can also be very helpful when it comes to neck pains.

Initiate the movement by standing up, with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. Try not to bend your legs and with the arms crossed in front of your forehead, begin to slowly drift downwards. You should feel the tension in your lower back and neck area slowly start to go away. Maintain the lowered position for about 30 seconds, rest for one minute, and then repeat the movement several times, if necessary.

Feel the benefits of resistance band arm stretching

This is one of the simplest stretches that can be done practically everywhere, but it brings relief to sore back and shoulders instantly. When it comes to props, you will have to carry resistance bands along, but these things weigh close to nothing and take up very little space, so this really shouldn’t be a problem.

To start this exercise, stand up with your legs at shoulder width. Grab the band in each hand, keep your arms straight and shoulder-high. After that, begin by slowly stretching away your hands, while maintaining a consistent pace in a controlled movement. Do up to 10 reps at a time, take a short break and repeat a couple of times.

Perform a chest stretch to release tension

In case you find yourself on a long-haul flight and you just don’t have much room to stretch, there are several ways in which you can start feeling better almost immediately. One of the best moves you can do in this situation is the chest stretch, which can make those nagging cramps and pains go away.

Start by keeping your arms straight and interlocking your fingers behind the back. While maintaining an upright posture, push your shoulder blades towards each other, while simultaneously exhaling. You should feel an immediate impact in your chest, shoulder and neck area as a result, and you’ll be able to get back to your seat and comfortably continue with your journey.

Get your blood pumping with some lunges

When sitting down for extended periods of time, our bodies first start to relax, but in time, that relaxation leads to tension and build-up of energy. The best way to use this energy productively is to find some space and perform a couple of forward lunges.

Sure, some people wouldn’t call this a stretch, but stretching can be active as well. The most important thing is that you will feel a lot better after a couple of quick sessions. If you bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, you will receive the most benefits from this complex movement. You might be huffing and puffing for a bit afterward, but you’ll also feel a surge of positive energy that makes it all worthwhile.

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