American Physical Therapy Association In-Flight Exercise Guide

by Carrie Thompson on April 20, 2007

by Carrie Thompson | April 20th, 2007  

Richard SimmonsThe American Physical Therapy Association recommends the following exercises for travelers who will be seated for a long duration, including airline and rail passengers.

Heel Raises – Sit with feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Lift heels so that only toes and the balls of the feet are on the floor. Hold for 5-10 seconds and lower feet back to the ground. Repeat 10 times.

Toe Lifts – Sit with feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Lift toes and balls of the feet so that only the heels are on the floor. Hold for 5-10 seconds and lower feet back to the ground. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Circles – While sitting, lift right leg slightly off the ground and rotate the foot clockwise, making a circle in the air. Do this 15 times clockwise, then 15 times counterclockwise. Repeat with left leg and foot. Alternatively, trace the letters of the alphabet in the air with the right, and then the left, foot.

Overhead Stretches – Stand and reach arms straight up and stretch. Slowly lean to the left, then to the right, bending at the waist. Repeat this action five times to each side, holding each for 5-10 seconds. If you are unable to stand and stretch, then reach arms straight up while seated. If you have room, slowly stretch to each side as well.

Back Twists – While sitting, reach the right arm across the body and grab the left armrest. Slowly turn the torso and head as far to the left as is comfortable. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat five times, and then switch sides.

Curl Downs – While sitting, pull stomach and chin in _ and gently curl trunk down very slowly, reaching hands to the floor. Hold for 5-10 seconds _ then uncurl slowly back up. Repeat five times.

Toe-Heel Walk – When walking down the aisle of the plane, walk on your toes one way and then return to your seat by walking on your heels.

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