Airplane Stretches for Quick Recovery After a Flight

At some point in your travels, you’ve probably wondered how you can be so tired; when all you’ve done is sit on an airplane for three hours. The simple fact is that our bodies are made for movement. This health tip article is all about a few simple airplane stretches to help you to recover quickly following a long flight.

First of all let’s know what happens in a long haul flight.

Your lymphatic system is responsible for moving nutrients to various cells, as well as collecting waste products from those same cells.

Movement powers the lymphatic system, so if you aren’t moving:

  • your cells aren’t getting the nutrients they need, and
  • the toxic waste they produce is building up.

What with security concerns, crowded flights, and turbulence, getting any movement while you are on board can be quite a challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t have to run a marathon to get the lymphatic system into gear. A few simple airplane stretches are all that’s needed to help you feel as fresh when you walk off the plane as you did walking on.

They are even helpful to prevent DVT during flying

Put your tray table up and recline your seat all the way. Hold all of the stretches for five long breaths (about 20 seconds). Keep the length of your inhalations the same as your exhalations.


Sit up straight, with both feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders down and back, hands resting your lap. Close your eyes. Take 10 deep breaths. Concentrate on keeping your rib cage pulled in and letting air expand into the backs of your lungs.


Tilt your head to one side, ear to your shoulder; repeat opposite side. Tilt your head forward, chin to chest; for a deeper stretch, place a hand on the back of your head, and gently pull your head forward. Look straight ahead. Turn your head first to one side, and then the other.

Core Body

Shrug your shoulders. When lowering your shoulders, concentrate on pulling your shoulder blades down and back. Repeat five times. Place one hand on the seat beside you, palm down. Reach up and over with your other hand. Repeat on other side.

Extend your arms out in front of you, interlacing your fingers. Tuck your chin to your chest and round out your back, reaching as far ahead with your hands as possible.

Open your chest by clasping your hands behind your back.

Rotate your trunk first to one side, then the other. When rotating to the right, I find it helpful to place my right hand up on the top of the seat, and my left hand on the outside of my right thigh.

Get a good torso stretch by reaching as high overhead as you can with both hands.

Lower Body

Hug one knee to chest, alternate sides, repeating five times. Raise your heels up and down. Repeat 10 times.

Raise your toes up and down. Repeat 10 times.

Hugging your knee, rotate your ankle for five circles in one direction, and then five circles in the opposite direction.

Tag: Airplane Stretches

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