Home Healthy Living Guide In for the long haul? 6 Simple in flight neck exercises

In for the long haul? 6 Simple in flight neck exercises

You may be an eager traveler, but a long flight can take a toll on your body. Such a journey could lead to neck pain or back ache. Here are a few neck exercises that can be adopted during a long flight. This would ensure you are in good shape when you reach your destination. It is important to keep a few things in mind before you commence such exercises in-flight. Ensure that you inform the person seated next to you, as you might not want to spill their coffee inadvertently. Another very important thing is to consult your physical therapist, in case you have an existing neck condition such as a degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis. This would prevent any damage to the neck.

Neck movements

The neck roll is one of the easiest exercises that you could adopt while on a long haul flight. This exercise does not require that you get up from your seat nor does it cause any disturbance to the person seated next to you. The stretching of the neck is done to relieve stiffness or tension in your neck or shoulders. Begin this exercise by moving your head from the left to your right side, in a circular pattern. Then slowly bring your chin down towards your chest. Follow this theme with a slight stretch of the neck, without letting the shoulder meet the ear. You will soon see that any stiffness or tension that you felt in the neck has started dissipating.

Shoulder rolls and resistance exercises

The shoulder roll is a fairly simple exercise and less time-consuming. It requires very minimal space and hence is apt for being adopted while on flight. Also, it causes very little disturbance to co-passengers in the flight. This is how a shoulder roll should be done – Hunch your shoulders forwards, keep your neck and head still and then roll your head backwards. Repeat ten times in each direction. As you finish, place your hands on the forehead and apply some resistance trying to push your head towards your chest (downwards). Do not move your head while doing this exercise a injury as it could lead to an injury.

Chin tucks and shrugs

Flying often entails delay and confusion. This makes you shrug many a time. If you let out an exasperated shrug by squeezing your shoulders together and up, this could be a good in-flight exercise. This could be repeated several times inorder to reap the benefits of relaxing your neck muscles. Often, flexing your muscles this way, helps the neck muscles to relax and also gives a workout to your stressed shoulders. This also relieves tension in the neck region. Chin tucks are another such exercise that can be done in-flight. Chin tucks can be done in the same manner. These help to work the muscles that may not be tensed during a flight and thus helps you temporarily relax the muscles that are tight.Bring your head backwards, till you have a double chin and hold the posture for two seconds. Repeat by moving your head towards the left shoulder, followed by the right shoulder again.

Back twist

When you sit in one position for a very long time, it strains the muscles in your back and neck. You should remind yourself to relax and try to use different muscles in the body every half an hour. This change could avoid you from feeling stiff and fatigued by the time you have to alight from the flight. However, a back twist may not suit every individual. Several people derive great relief from the tension and strain they feel in their spinal column. This exercise should be discontinued if there is any sharp pain felt in the back, and a doctor should be consulted. Stand upright, and try to reach your right arm across your body, to hold the seat on your left. Turn the body as well as head towards your right, as if they were one. Hold for twenty seconds and then return to the center. Repeat this entire exercise twice. You can switch your arms and turn towards your left to stretch your spine in the opposite direction.

Back arch

It is vital that the back is exercised adequately so that it improves the blood flow to the neck region. Sitting for long hours during a flight journey can be stressful to the body. There are several ways to ensure the back is exercised during such times. You can stand and place your hands on your pelvis and slowly bend yourself backwards. Avoid any sudden or jerky movement as it could lead to a back injury. Gradually return to your standing position and repeat this exercise ten times.


Walking has always been a favorite with most exercise enthusiasts. This is because a walk exercises all the muscles in your body. Even in-flight, walking can benefit the neck, shoulders as well as back muscles as sitting long hours can lead to numbness in these parts. Moving out from your seat can prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clots). However, it is important to consult your physiotherapist if you suffer from back pain or neck pain.

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