Shoes off, adjust seat, laptop out. Sound familiar? Long haul business flights can present themselves as the ideal opportunity for reading lengthy reports, analysing statistics or writing the presentation you’re due to give at your destination.
However, there are some compelling reasons as to why you should do more than sit staring at your laptop the whole flight:
• Extended periods of inactivity can lead to tense muscles, back ache and a fatigue that will linger long after the flight.
• Studies indicate that mental output is directly linked to physical output. If you want to produce valuable work on board you need to do more than stare at the screen.
• According to NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) the “absolute risk of an individual developing a travel-related DVT remains low even if they are classed as being at relative moderate or high risk”. However, the advice is still to “avoid periods of prolonged immobility”.
Now I’m not suggesting that you start jogging up and down the aisle but there are few simple exercises you can do whilst remaining seated that will further reduce your DVT risk, keep you feeling supple, and boost your productivity levels.
• Ankle circles. Lift your feet and draw circles with your toes rotating one foot clockwise and the other counterclockwise. After 20 seconds reverse the procedure.
• Knee lifts. Lift your right knee by contracting your thigh muscles, hold for a few seconds and lower. Repeat 15 times and then do the same with your left knee.
• Neck drop. Relax your shoulders and gently drop your head so your right ear moves towards your right shoulder. Hold for five seconds and repeat the other side.
• Shoulder rolls. Roll your shoulders forward five times using a gentle circular motion and then reverse the movement a further five times.
• Forward flex. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, engage your core, and walk your hands down the front of your legs towards your ankles. At the same time lower your upper body down until your chest touches your thighs. Hold that position for 15 seconds and slowly rise. Repeat five times.
Of course the most straightforward form of exercise on a plane is simply to take a regular stroll up and down the aisle and you should aim to do that every hour or so if you’re not sleeping and safety allows. Furthermore, take advantage of any stopovers with an airport walkabout.
Many of the major airlines including Virgin, Qantas and Emirates recognise the importance of exercise on long flights and publish simple inflight workouts on their websites and in flight magazines.
So next time you’re packing for a long haul business flight be sure to include a mini workout sheet in your carry on luggage. It will improve your travel experience, your productivity and your sense of wellbeing on arrival.
© Extravitality 2014