After writing about managing neck and upper back pain while on an airplane, I decided to write about an unpleasant experience I had while on a long flight to prevent you from having the same experience! A couple years ago, I flew to Japan which was a 13 hour flight. I decided that I would sleep as much as I could to compensate for the time difference. When I wasn’t sleeping, I watched a movie on my personal entertainment center. I don’t think I even stood up to go to the restroom! When I finally landed and started walking, I noticed that my ankles felt really heavy. I rolled my pants up and noticed swelling in both of my ankles! Since that episode, I have made sure to get up and move around the plane. I even perform simple lunges and stretches in the aisles. Sure, I get some weird looks but it’s better than swollen ankles.
According to Dr. James Levine, co-director or the Mayo Clinic who has investigated health effects of sitting, sitting for long periods of time can cause many negative effects such as organ damage, slower digestion, slower brain function, increased muscle tightness, and poor circulation. Getting up and moving around is important. Within 90 seconds of standing up, cellular and muscular systems that process blood sugar, fat molecules, and cholesterol are activated. All by just carrying your own bodyweight.
We are meant to move as human beings, so set an example for other airline passengers and get moving!