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Top Ten In-flight Exercises to Reduce Jet Lag

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Whether business or travel, we often find ourselves traveling across time zones and having to deal with the effects of jet lag. While you or your clients differ in the degree of jet lag suffered, simple adjustments to diet and activity can reduce these adverse effects.

What is jet lag? It is a phenomenon that is often explained by the interruption of one’s circadian rhythms, the body’s physiological sleep-waking patterns that are regulated by light, food and activity and are unique for every individual. Typically, when you cross two or more time zones rapidly, you will be subjected to jet lag.

Symptoms of jet lag include, but are not limited to:

  • - Fatigue
  • - Weakness
  • - Irritability
  • - Lack of concentration
  • - Decreases mental and physical performance
  • - Headache
  • - Impaired night or peripheral vision

What can you recommend to your clients to reduce jet lag? One way is to suggest they include travel fitness into their in-flight routine to significantly reduce the adverse effects of traveling. Here are the top ten stretches to perform on board an airplane that can significantly reduce jet lag.


A Simple In-flight Travel Stretching Program

  1. Bent Knee Raises – Raise bent knee the to hip height, hold for 2 seconds, lower while extending knee and repeat. (10 repetitions per leg)

  2. Quadriceps Stretch – While supporting yourself, bend knee, grab your ankle behind you. Rotate ankle while holding position. (15 seconds per leg)

  3. Shoulder Shrugs – With arms at side, roll shoulders in a wide circular movement, both forward and backwards. (10 repetitions each way)

  4. Single Arm Rotations – Rotate your extended arm at the shoulder in a full circular pattern. (10 repetitions per arm)

  5. Shoulder Stretch – Extend your arm across your chest, pulling it towards your chest with the opposite arm. Hold. (15 seconds per arm)

  6. Trunk Extensions – Standing with palms on low back, tuck chin and slowly arch back while exhaling. Hold, relax and repeat. (5 repetitions)

  7. Neck Flexion and Extension – With palms on forehead, flex neck forward against resistance. Repeat with hands behind head. (15 seconds each movement)

  8. Side Bends – Feet set apart, legs straight, one hand overhead with other at side. Bend to side while reaching overhead. (10 repetitions per side)

  9. Upper Back Stretch – Interlock your finger, extend your arms out in front, bowing your back with palms facing inwards. (2x15 seconds)

  10. Hamstring – Extend leg out in front with heel on ground, bend opposite leg at knee, reach forward, grasping ankle of extended knee, maintain leg extension and stretch lower back by pulling towards ankle. (30 seconds per leg)