Airplane Exercises for the Anxious Traveler

Airplane Exercises for the Anxious Traveler

Exercise has been found to be a great reliever of stress and anxiety, however it remains a widely underused strategy. Take the time on your next flight to ease your mind and your body for the long haul. Below are some exercises to ease your flight anxiety before, during, and after your flight. Think of this as your ultimate guide to relaxation.


Pre-Flight Plan

Get your blood flowing with a brisk walk around the terminal. Walk for at least 5 minutes, grab a big drink of water, then sit and do a relaxing activity (listening to music, coloring, reading, etc.) for 10 minutes. Repeat as you find necessary.


In-Flight Plan

Whenever you begin to feel your anxiety creeping up, begin performing the following exercises, allowing your body to relax, your blood to pump through your system, and your endorphins to begin calming your nerves. This routine can be repeated as many times as you like:

  • First thing’s first: breathe.
  • Shiatsu 1: Apply pressure with your right thumb to the middle of your left palm. Press and hold for 30 seconds and release. Make sure to deep breathe while you are applying pressure. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Shiatsu 2: Extend your left arm out, palm facing the sky. Pull all four of your left fingers down with the fingers of your right hand. Extend and hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

  • Shiatsu 3: Vigorously massage your entire left palm with the thumb of your right hand for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Head Tilts: Place your right hand on the left side of your head just above your ear. Gently pull your head to the right bringing your right ear to your right shoulder. Breathe and hold here for 10 seconds. Slowly release back to neutral position. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Head Forward Tilt: Place your dominant hand on the back of your head. Slowly tilt your head forward placing your chin on, or as close as you can, to your chest. Breathe and hold here for 10 seconds. Slowly release your head back to neutral position.

  • Shoulder Rolls: Roll shoulders forward for a count of 8. Roll shoulders backward for a count of 8.

  • Extended Arm Stretch Forward: Clasp hands together in front of your chest, palms facing you. Round your back, extend your arms forward, and face palms away from you. Pull arms straight out and away from your body for a count of 8, slowly bring hands back to chest while straightening spine.

  • Extended Arm Stretch Backward: Lean forward and clasp hands together behind your back. Bring your shoulders back, extend your arms backward, and face palms toward you. Pull arms straight out and away from your body for a count of 8, slowly bring hands back into your body while straightening spine.

  • Spine Twist: Place left hand on the outside of right leg and right hand on the inside of your (right) arm rest. Turn your chin to your right shoulder and allow your body to follow, spine straight, until you feel a stretch (you are not trying to crack your back). Hold and breathe for a count of 8 and slowly return to neutral position, spine straight. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Alternate Knee to Chest: With your left foot flat on the floor, lean slightly forward, clasp your hands / arms around your right leg, and pull your thigh into your chest. Breathe and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly release your right foot back to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Leg Lifts: With your feet together, lift your feet off of the ground, straighten legs as much as possible,  and rotate ankles clockwise for 8 count. Lower feet back to floor. Lift feet and rotate ankles counterclockwise for a count of 8. Repeat both steps 3 times each.

  • Foot Pumps: Lift toes while keep heels on the floor. Slowly pump toes up and down for a count of 8 with a 1 count hold between each repetition. Place toes on the floor and slowly pump heels up and down for a count of 8 with a hold of 1 count between each repetition.

  • Cardio: Walk to and from the airplane restroom at least two times per hour (or just take a walk up and down the aisles for a minute or two). This will get your heart pumping blood throughout your body allowing your muscles to loosen and your anxiety to relax.


Post-Flight Plan

The walk off the plane and through the terminal should be enough to loosen your stiff muscles and get your heart pumping. This cardio will help you keep loose and relieve any potential muscle soreness from your flight. Once you are settled in your hotel before going to bed, go through a simple and slow stretch routine. As a result, your anxiety will reduce, muscles will relax, and better sleep can be enjoyed.

 

You’ve made it through! What exercises or stretches do you do on your flights? Do you have an exercise routine before you depart? Leave a comment with your story below.



*Disclaimer: The content found at Anxiety In Transit is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider.*