Summer Time – Air Traveling Tips.

Written by Dr. Marcus Wong

As the summer is officially here, and school is almost done for the year.  Many families and people are planning their long awaited trips around the world.  This usually means numerous hours stuck and cramped into the airplane for many hours.




Comfort is not usually the first word that comes to mind when someone mentions flying.  Sitting cramped in a small space for a long plane ride could lead to neck and low back pain, swollen ankles/feet, leg cramps or in some rare, but more severe cases blood clots or thrombosis.

When preparing for your flight here are some tips to follow:

  • When booking your flight try to reserve a spot on the aisle or the window seat, as these seats provide more leg room than the center seat.
  • Avoid excessively heavy luggage.  If you need to use heavy luggage get assistance or use the airport trolleys.  Remember proper lifting techniques at all times.
  • Keep your hand carry light and comfortable.  Avoid single strap bags, and use a back pack instead to distribute the weight to both shoulders

While on the air plane here are some tips to follow:

  • Keep the space under the seat in front of you empty for more leg room and comfort.
  • If you are prone to cramping or have predisposing thrombosis condition wear special leggings or stockings, which are made for promoting blood circulation.  These leggings/stockings can be easily purchase from many local pharmacies.
  • Moving around is good for your circulation and helps to prevent swollen feet and ankles.  Wear loose clothing and walk about the cabin periodically every 60 to 90 minutes.  Wear shoes you can slip off easily.  Every so often, draw circles with your toes and contract your calves to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs. Tapping your feet can also help increase circulation and reduce the chance of muscle cramping.   Frequently perform seated leg stretches to promote muscle and blood movement in the body.  This will decrease chance of cramps and blood clots.
  • For a quick and easy stretch, stand up and raise your arms above your head.  If your neck muscles get sore from sitting, rotate your shoulders back and forth, bend your neck by bringing your ear to your shoulder and by bringing your chin to your chest.
  • When sitting for a prolonged period of time, position your lower back against the back of the chair to obtain the greatest amount of support for your spine.  A rolled sweater can also be used for added support. Use the footrests on your seat.  Most importantly, try not to stay in one position for a long period of time. Accept whatever pillows and blankets are available and use them to change the pressure distribution of your body weight on the seat when sitting for a prolonged time.
  • Keep hydrated as the humidity in the plane can be below 20%.  When your body is dehydrated this can lead to problems such as muscle soreness or cramping.  Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks as these will dehydrate your body faster.  Drink lots of fluids such as water and juices.


Plan ahead, educate yourself and your family about proper airplane tips and safety, and have a wonderful summer holidays !!!

If you have any more questions about traveling exercises and safety email Dr. Marcus Wong at

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