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Stretches on a Plane (or just about anywhere you’re stuck in a seat!)
Posted by : dana tags : Pilates, pilates classes, denver, capitol hill, colorado

As I sit on a 4-hour flight, I’m reminded how sore I get when my body doesn’t move. My quads are killing me, my low back is aching, and my shoulders are hunched up to my ears. As much as I’d like to roll out a exercise mat and do some quick yoga, Pilates, or barre moves in the aisle, I’ve learned how to subtly stretch without annoying my seatmates. Here, five quick tips on how to get moving when you’re supposed to be sitting still.

Shoulder Rolls

As you inhale, slowly roll your shoulders forward, around, and down. Repeat 3 to 5 times. See if you can relax any tension in the upper shoulder area. Allow the shoulders to settle down your back a bit, and then circle them in reverse. Afterwards, take a few more deep breaths to allow as much upper trap relaxation as possible.

Change How You Sit

Throughout the flight (or day) keep switching positions. If you sit more toward the back of the pelvis (in an anterior pelvic tilt: this is how I sit in a lazy way!) then shift the weight more on to the sitz bones (in a neutral pelvis) and get tall through your spine. Keep length through your head and engage your core. After you get tired of that, shift your weight to the front of your pelvis, (in a posterior pelvis tilt) leaning forward. Keep shifting and moving back and forth throughout the flight or your workday.


Notice your weight on your pelvis. Now, see if you can shift most of the weight to the right, and then the left. Allow your trunk to side bend from left to right. This side bending (lateral flexion) can help move your spine, ribcage, and neck.


Imagine your navel wants to look out the window. Let it lead, and then follow your spine up to your neck, looking all the way over your shoulder. Allow your shoulders to be carried along by the movement. Then, twist from your navel to the aisle.

Stand Up!

Take a moment to stand and stretch! Go to the back of the plane and do a standing lunge, letting the leg behind you get a stretch in the quad (near the top of the hip). Shake it out and take a few breaths. Take a moment to notice if anything feels extra tight and try to let it relax!