5 Simple Pre-Flight Stretches To Keep Your Body Ache Free

Thomas Heath is a New York-based certified personal trainer, performance enhancement specialist and coach. He’s an instructor at New York fitness clubs Equinox and Kollectiv, teaching boxing, recovery, and nutrition.

According to Harvard Medical School: “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way.”

Sydney Airport stretch studio
Sydney Airport Stretch Studio PHOTO: Sydney Airport

Earlier this year, Sydney Airport opened it’s very own assisted stretching studio that’s right in line with this healthy ethos.

It’s the only airport stretching studio we’ve heard of, and it’s a great way to get some highly targeted wellness on the fly. The studio is designed to enhance mobility and wellbeing through assisted stretching, which is a form of manual manipulation of your muscles by a trained expert. You can personalize your sessions with a flexologist before boarding.

Flexologists employ a range of techniques to prevent stiffness and soreness from extended flight times. Making use of gentle pressure on limbs and holding stretches, flexologists work to lengthen muscle fibres, increasing blood circulation, decreasing the risk of cramps and deep vein thrombosis, and aiding pre-flight anxiety by releasing endorphins into the body.

Since not all airports have this service and stretching is key to keeping your body ache free and healthy, here are some of my favorite pre-flight stretches that you can do on your own.

5 simple pre-flight stretches you can do anywhere

1. Cat-Cow

A very simple and very effective stretch that flows between two movements with the focus being the release of tension and tightness in your neck, back, chest, core, and hips.

2. Crab Reach

Stretches all of the muscles along the front of your body while flexing the hamstrings, gluteus, back extensors and arms.

3. Downward Dog

A great way to release tension from your spine. It also opens the hips and shoulders, stretches the hamstrings, calves and the arches of your feet.

4. Kneeling Quad Stretch

This version of the quad stretch provides a deep stretch of the quads and hip flexors.

5. The World’s Greatest Stretch

It did not get the name by accident. This stretch targets every major muscle in the body especially the ones we tend to overuse when sitting down for prolonged periods of time.

The bottom line is this flexibility is an important part of everyday existence whether you are an elite athlete or a senior citizen anyone can reap the benefits of doing something a few minutes a day that will help with injury prevention, back pain, and balance issues.

A well-stretched muscle can more easily achieve its full range of motion. This gets blood and oxygen flowing to your muscles supplying nutrients and creating energy.


Thomas Heath is New York-based Personal Trainer/Coach NASM - CPT, NASM - PES, Equinox - Tier 3+ Personal Trainer - Group Fitness (Studio Boxing) Instructor, Kollectiv - Recovery Specialist and Precision Nutrition 1.

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