By Diane Gold
Are you flying over the holidays?
Did you know that you could get blood clots from flying - and they are often invisible and come without warning?
As a matter of fact, according to the World Health Organization's Research 1 in 6,000 healthy travelers will have a life threatening blood clot on a flight over 4 hours long as clotting enzymes increase. Frequent travelers are at much greater risk.
There are 815 million U.S. travelers per year (rita.dot.gov), meaning 135,000 are subject to clotting in flight . According to hopkinsmedicine.org, 3% end up with a pulmonary embolism that ends up in death. That's 4,000 people per year in the U.S. alone who could die from a clot that originated on an airplane.
With similar statistics worldwide, this number would triple to about 12,000 people a year!
Furthermore, hopkinsmedicine.org says that people who suffer from obesity, use contraceptives, are extreme in height and have thrombotic blood (which points to those with clotting problems to begin with) multiply the calculation of risk. These added risks have been repeatedly corroborated in other research.
Your Easy and Fun Lifesaving Workout
But here's the good news . . .
You can prevent this silent and deadly killer in its tracks just by doing certain exercise activities on the plane. You can significantly reduce chances a blood clot might happen to you.
Would deterring a possible life-threatening embolism be a good reason to do a workout when you fly?
Now if you're thinking - I can just get up and walk to the back of the plane. Well the truth is, sometimes you can't with the food and drink service and other times turbulence may have taken over and the pilot specifically asks you to remain seated.
That's why today, I want to share a fun and easy exercise you can start doing immediately. You will see that it moves a large portion of your body while you are seated.
Sit with your back straight and shoulders forward of the hips with space between the chair back and where you place your personal seat. Place relaxed elbows against rib cage with palms on the thighs. Place feet flat on ground, shoulder width apart. Relax the shoulders and lower the chin. Simultaneously, place left and right feet together, lift the toes. Then come through the flat foot and lift the heels. Then come through the flat foot, and repeat the sequence 29 times, ending with the feet flat. Keep the shoulders forward of the hips with elbows on the rib cage. Relax. This exercise will get you started, whether at home or in-flight.
This is just one of the simple exercises you can do on a plane. As a matter of fact I created an entire "workout" plan.
The other amazingly valid reason to do a workout on an airplane is to give you the energy and creativity you need to rock any business presentation, social event, family adventure at your destination.
Let's talk about how we perceive the flight itself. Most of us figure we can get some rest, listen to music, engage in friendly talk with our neighbor, or do some business with no interruption. We could also dedicate our time to eating genetically modified peanuts, full of the worst kind of salt, as we progress along on our journey.
We don't give much time to the idea that we, an integrated set of body/mind systems, have the ability to become more relaxed, more productive, more creative, more energetic, and more spiritually stable if we took the time to cultivate ourselves. And movement is the healthiest method to get us there.
Why the Airplane Workout Is Perfect
When we think about it, airplane time is the perfect arena for tuning up on fitness. There isn't the distraction of other gym goers with whom to compare or socially pursue. There isn't a lot of space to divert our attention. We can't leave. And we don't need any equipment.
I use The Airplane Workout for inflight work. I know I need a set of exercises using multiple body parts and body alignment that will cater to an airplane. I want to be able to feel the body working from the very first exercise so that I know I'm making an effort to keep the blood coursing through my veins as best I can.
My workout offers a simple, concise, organized and fun way for us to systematically reduce the chances of our being victims of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Now that you know why it's important to move, move, move inflight, all you have to do is do it.
Not only will you feel great from moving, but doing it with proper body alignment, you will reinforce this correct posturing for every other gym or fitness exercise you ever do. And being in a very small location, the airplane seat, gives you the advantage of concentrating on this alignment. It will save your back from much of the pain you hear about from workout accidents. It will maximize any exercise you do in all your other workouts and sports activities as well as when standing, walking and sitting.
The inflight airplane workout idea offers a safe way to secure health and vibrant energy. The airplane is a natural place to work out to avoid those killer clots.
It also maximizes our time to the fullest and helps our creativity flow!
So have fun with the idea and use it to your advantage!
About the Author
Diane Gold is the proud founder of Warriors of Weight, offering consulting and action tools for habit change. She has been mentoring in kung fu, tai chi, music and dance for personal improvement, believing that we can get to the peace tipping point by doing some peacemaking action daily in our own lives. Diane, CEO of The Kung Fu Conservatory since 1996, has 25 years in martial arts overlapping 25 years in music and music therapy (MA, NYU), created Corporate Tai Chi, leads World Tai Chi Day locally and has an internet radio show called At Peace With Diane Gold focusing on health and peacemaking. Diane is a grateful mother of two and looks forward to her next step as the only step.