By Liz Reid – Core Factor Pilates
Whether you are throwing a street party, going to an event or just watching history unfold, the Jubilee celebrations are in full swing and the party mood is with us! The long Jubilee weekend with a bonus Bank Holiday (thank you!) gives a perfect opportunity to also go on holiday and if you’re jetting off across the skies, air travel can take its toll on the back.
So, try these simple stretches, which should help to ease backache and stretch out aching, tired muscles when onboard a flight.
Posture Correction with Shoulder & Upper Back Stretch
Sit up tall away from the back of your seat. Really try to lengthen your spine, right from the base of your back, all the way up to your neck, whilst keeping your head upright. Try to balance your head directly on your spinal column by not jutting your chin forwards (so avoid leaning in) nor pulling your head too far back, causing double chins! Slowly stretch both arms up above your head, then bend one arm and hold onto the elbow with the other hand. Gently extend your bent arm over and hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds in order to release tension in the shoulders and upper back. Repeat on the other arm.
Walk it out. Get up out of your seat and walk up and down the aisle. Try to do this once an hour, if possible for a few minutes.
Unfasten your seatbelt if the sign is off and stretch your legs by practising a modified ‘The Leg Pull’. Place your hands on the seat, either side of your thighs with your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Push into both hands and lift your rear up off the seat, straightening your legs and stretching your back. Hold and breathe in slowly and then exhale, squeezing your lower stomach muscles in by pulling your navel towards your spine. Repeat 3-6 times. If you have painful wrists, form fists with your hands instead to take the loading pressure away from the wrists.
Deep Back & Hamstring Stretch
Standing away from the main aisle, stand with your feet hip-width apart, preferably without shoes on. Stand tall with your shoulders rolled back and down. Breathe in deeply and then exhale, slowly rolling yourself down towards the floor, relaxing the arms and then when you’re as low as you can comfortably go, just hang there for 3 seconds, keeping your neck relaxed. Then inhale deeply and very slowly, start to uncurl your spine, from the base and imagine unrolling each Vertebrae all the way up, through to your neck and then take a big breath in as you slowly bring the head up. Repeat 3 times.
Seated Back Stretch
When sitting in your seat with the seat belt sign and your shoes off, bring each leg up to your chest, resting the heels on the seat and give yourself a tight hug. Relax the neck and stomach. This will tilt your pelvis towards you and stretch out your back deeply, relieving any Lumbar aches.
Achilles & Calves
Free your feet from shoes. Slowly point your toes and hold for 2 seconds and then flex your foot gently by pointing your toes towards your shins and hold for 3-5 seconds to stretch out your Achilles Tendons and your calf muscles, which can get quite tight from being seated a lot. Repeat 5 times.
With no shoes on, move your feet and toes often to improve circulation. Grab the carpet with your toes repeatedly, when seated to help ease aching feet.
Although air travel is restricting, it’s important to keep moving as much as you can and by practising just these few small exercises so that on arrival to your destination, you’ll feel so refreshed, you’ll want to dance jubilantly off the plane!