Long flights: Staying healthy, getting comfortable and keeping your back in tact.
I just returned to Australia from Hawaii on a 10 1/2 hour flight. I was fortunate to have secured an isle seat. This works well as it allows me to get up easily to stretch and move around often without disturbing the people sitting next to me. In case you haven’t heard, movement on airplanes is recommended to prevent blood clots in the legs known as Deep Vein Thrombosis. “Motion is Lotion.” Sitting for long stretches on a plane or anywhere can reek havoc. Some statics on the subject of sitting for long stretches of time: As soon as you sit down electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off; Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute; Enzymes that break down fat drop 90% and after 2 hours Good cholesterol drops by 20%. So the message here is MOVE and stay healthy whether on a plane, at a desk or watching TV. Stand up as often as every 20 minutes to keep things circulating. Increased circulation increases your bodies healing power.
The next thing I concern myself with on any flight is getting comfortable without doing my back in. I had just finished an intensive training on Posture with Esther Gokhale, the author of “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.” So I had my “Stretchsit” cushion placed on the back of my seat about mid back to support my posture and give my back a nice stretch for the long hall. This is a little miracle device that allows you to stick yourself to the seat back and put yourself into a gentle form of traction. You can also use a blanket or a jacket behind your mid back for the same effect. Unlike a lumbar support cushion, this method elongates rather than compresses your low back, giving you the natural, healthy spinal shape shared by children, athletes and people in traditional societies the world over. No more compression, no more pain. You can sit your way to a pain-free back!
On this particular flight, I was sitting in the middle section of a full flight. There were two young girls sitting next to me and a young couple in front of me. They were all wiggling about during the flight trying to find a way to get some rest and feel comfortable. They would go from slumping to contorting their bodies sideways, pulling their legs up and sort of getting into a fetal position. I was happy to sit up-right and relaxed for most of the trip as the cushion made it comfortable. Although when I did want to rest, I put the tray table down, hinged forward from my hips, placed my elbows on the tray with my hands on either side of my head allowing my chin to rest in my palms. I then rested my head against the seat in front of me using my jumper against the seat to add a bit more comfort. I was relaxed and very much at ease… However, the girl in front of me kept moving and jiggling the seat that I was leaning on. She was so desperate to get comfortable, she couldn’t sit still. I was relaxed enough to go with this movement. But I felt bad for her. I dozed off and upon waking from my little rest noticed her partner was mimicking me using his neck pillow against the seat in front of him. He looked very comfortable. I was happy to be able to influence at least one person. I wanted to get up and share this information with everyone on the plane! Maybe next time. I felt great after the flight no stiffness or pain… I hope this helps you on your next long trip!
Contributed By: Michelle “Mickie” Ball 0428223271 – Aloha Dreaming Massage & Gokhale Method Teacher in Training (www.gokhalemethod.com)