Exercises to Help Circulation On Long Haul Flights

For digital nomads, the sky truly is the limit when it comes to where work and adventure can take you. However, the reality of hopping from one destination to another often involves long haul flights, which, while exciting, can take a toll on your health, particularly when it comes to circulation. The cramped seats and limited mobility can lead to discomfort and increase the risk of circulation-related conditions. Fortunately, with a few simple exercises, you can mitigate these risks, ensuring you land ready to explore your new surroundings or settle into your next work location. Here’s what you can do to keep the adventure alive and your circulation flowing during those extended flights.

Common symptoms

Before diving into the exercises that can help manage circulation on long flights, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms that indicate poor circulation and potential health risks, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Being aware of these symptoms can help you take proactive steps to mitigate them. Some common signs of circulation issues during long flights include:

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs: This is often one of the first signs that your circulation is impaired.
  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities: If your legs or feet start feeling numb or you experience a “pins and needles” sensation, it could be a sign of poor circulation.
  • Muscle cramps: These can occur in the legs or feet due to lack of movement and decreased blood flow.
  • Discomfort or mild pain in your legs: Feeling a dull ache in your legs can also indicate that your circulation is not at its best.
  • Coldness in the lower legs or feet: Poor circulation can lead to a decrease in body temperature in these areas.

If you feel any of those symptoms you may want to try some of the following exercises that will help with blood circulation.

Exercises to help improve blood circulation

  • Ankle Circles: Lift your feet off the floor and rotate your ankles in circles. Do 10 circles in one direction, then switch to the other direction. This exercise is easy to do in your seat and helps prevent ankle swelling.
  • Foot Pumps: Start by placing your heels on the floor and lifting your toes as high as possible. Then keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels. Repeat this pumping motion for 30 seconds to stimulate blood flow in your legs.
  • Knee Lifts: Sitting upright, slowly raise one knee towards your chest and hold it with your hands for 15 seconds, then lower it gently. Repeat with the other leg. This exercise engages your lower abdominals and helps with leg circulation.
  • Neck Rolls: Tension can build up in your neck during flights, contributing to discomfort. Slowly roll your head in a circle, aiming to stretch the muscles gently. Do five rolls clockwise and then five counter-clockwise.
  • Shoulder Rolls: Raise your shoulders and roll them forward for five circles, then backward for five circles. This helps relieve tension and improve circulation in your upper body.
  • Walking: Whenever possible, take a short walk down the aisle. Walking not only stretches your legs but also significantly improves blood circulation and decreases the risk of DVT.
  • Seated Cat-Cow Stretch: Place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, arch your back and look slightly upwards, expanding your abdomen. On the exhale, round your back, tucking in your chin to your chest. This yoga-inspired move increases spine flexibility and stimulates the flow of blood through the body.

Incorporating these exercises into your long-haul flight routine can make a significant difference in how you feel upon arrival. They can help to prevent the stiffness and discomfort that come from extended periods of inactivity, making your travel experience more enjoyable. Remember, hydration is also crucial for maintaining good circulation, so drink plenty of water throughout the flight. Safe travels!

Related stories
Guide : Barcelona off the beaten path

There is probably not enough time and space to describe all the things Barcelona offers in one single blog post but we’ll give it a shot. […]

Read more
Summer Getaways in Europe

Europe is an exquisite tapestry of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Whilst cities like London and Paris tend to take centre stage, there are countless other […]

Read more
Travel Ideas for Adventurous Couples part II: Exploring Latin America

In part one we discovered some adventurous activities throughout Europe for couples. Now let’s dig in part two and see what Latin America has to offer. […]

Read more
Join our community & never miss a thing

Ready to rent?

Reserve your next flat away in just a few clicks! Enjoy smooth communication with our expert team and relish the comfort of an apartment fully equipped for remote work.
Book now