If you travel a lot by plane, you know the dangers of sitting in one place for long periods of time. As experienced pilot Dan Calugar points out, this can lead to blood clots and other potentially serious health concerns.
There are ways that you can help prevent blood clots when you're about to take a long flight, though. Here are three pre-flight exercises that are proven to decrease your chances of suffering a blood clot.
One of the best ways to prevent blood clots is to walk around before you board your flight. You can do this in the days leading up to the flight and also in the airport terminal.
You don't need to be a speed walker or walk at a pace that will get you sweating. Instead, make sure to increase how much you walk in the days leading up to your flight.
Then, when you arrive at the airport, opt to take a light stroll rather than just sitting at a restaurant or the gate waiting for your flight to board. The extra movement will help prevent blood clots as you're about to sit for an extended period of time.
2. Stretch Your Feet
When you decide to sit down for a bit, stretch your feet to help prevent blood clots.
First, from a seated position, raise one of your legs and then create a circle with your foot from the ankle. Do this clockwise first, and then do it counterclockwise. You should do this for ten rotations on each of your feet.
You can do another foot exercise called the foot pump that will accomplish the same thing.
Start by putting your heels firmly on the ground. Then, raise up your toes as high as you can. Next, put both of your feet on the ground again, lifting your heels up as high as possible. Make sure to keep the balls of the feet on the ground while you do this.
If you're doing the exercise correctly, you will feel a stretch in your lower legs and feet. Do this exercise 10 times for each foot.
3. Upper Body Rolls
To prevent blood clots on long flights, Dan Calugar recommends not forgetting about your upper body. An excellent exercise to help you stay loose is an upper-body roll.
First, start with your neck. Next, relax both of your shoulders, then drop your ear down toward one of your shoulders. Next, roll your head from one side to the next gently. Do this at least ten times to each side.
Similarly, you can stretch out your shoulders with a roll exercise. Again, you’ll create a circular movement with your shoulders gently to stretch them out.
Start by hunching your shoulders forward. Then, move the in an upward, downward, and backward direction, so you're creating a similar rolling movement to what you did with your neck. Then, again, repeat this exercise 10 times