Planes…We all have taken them before; some people more recently than others and it might even have been a while since you stepped on one! However, I am sure you remember how it feels to land and barely be able to get up because your muscles are aching, and you cannot feel your bottom. You probably remember not feeling too well and wanting to get out of that plane as quickly as possible. With this goes the dehydration you have been undergoing by forgetting to fill up your water bottle after the security check, as well as your ankle being extremely swollen. Well, this is normal as you just spent hours sitting on an uncomfortable seat, sleeping in the most awkward positions, and staring at a screen for 6, 8, 12 hours. 

Dehydration, fatigue and swelling of the feet are all common when it comes to flying. The lack of movement and muscle activations lead to pooling of blood in the extremities, which explains why your feet swell on planes. To help with that, you can try to extend your legs as often as possible under the seat in front of you and make circles with your feet. Seated calf raises can also help to prevent pooling of the blood in the feet because the contraction of the calf muscles will help blood circulate. 

You also need to stay well hydrated. The stewards usually do not come often enough and only give you one glass of water (when it isn’t soda or wine, we know how it is ?). You should make sure you always have a bottle with you and fill it up right before boarding, after you pass the security check. Keep it close to you on the flight, for example in the net in front of you and sip from it often. It is okay if staying hydrated makes you go to the bathroom a bit more often than usual; this will give you a nice break from seating and you can even take the time to do a few stretches while you wait for the plane restrooms to be vacated. Here are some of our favorite stretches to do on the plane and how to perform them: 

  • Quadriceps stretch: Standing up, grab on the wall for stability with one hand and grab your ankle with the other. Bring your foot to your butt cheek and stop when you feel a slight stretch. While breathing, try to go a little bit further and further with each breath. 
  • Back stretch: Standing up, slowly let your head and your arms hang forward and reach for the floor. Try to go as low as you can until you feel a stretch in your back and/or your hamstrings. 
  • Calf stretches: In a lunge position, extend your back leg while keeping your back heel on the floor. Stand tall and push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your back calf. Go a bit further with each breath.
  • Neck stretch: You can do this one standing or seated. Place your hands on the back of your head and let your elbows hang forward. Do not push on your head. Instead, let the weight of your arms take your head forward and feel a stretch in the back of your neck. 

You are now ready to enjoy your flight next time you travel!