5 In-flight Exercises For Your Back and Neck From Pilates Expert Zeina Kabbara


Who doesn’t love flying? Especially when it takes us to beautiful adventures or to visit loved ones? We are so eager to book our tickets and often forget the stiffness and tension our bodies may endure on a long-haul flight.

Because sitting is a passive activity, you’d think muscles would relax as they seem to be doing so little. But this not the case. Prolonged non-mobility leads to muscle stiffening.

During my recent flight to Georgia, I began doing some stretches and exercises that I could do in a relatively confined space, and I thought why not share this simple routine.

So I filmed this short video about in-flight exercises I usually do when I am traveling by airplane. These simple exercise tips can even be done while working at your desk.

You can try this simple routine without worrying if anyone will look at you as if you’re a weirdo! If the person next to you is asleep, even better. Or why not move to an emptier row so you can enjoy more space?

5 easy in-flight pilates exercises for back, shoulders, and neck

1. Imprint and release

Just rock your pelvis forward and backward while focusing on your core. This is an excellent massage for your lower back.

2. Shoulder blades activation

Keep a neutral spine, your core active, slide your forearms backward, expanding your chest and bring your shoulder blades closer to each other. Then release back to your starting position.

3. Neck mobilization

This will help improve how far you can move your head and neck without stiffness. Turn your head as far to the left, then the right, then up and down, as possible. Tilt your head each way to bring your ear towards your shoulder.

4. Neck stretches

Keep your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight. Tilt your head to bring your right ear towards your right shoulder and use your right arm to pull your head down, deepening the stretch in your neck and shoulder.

Then repeat on the other side. Clasp your hands behind your head and pull your head down towards your chest, stretching the back of your neck.

5. Side bend, neutral spine + active core

Keep your hands clasped behind your head and your elbows wide, back straight. Inhale to bend to the side, exhale to return. Use your oblique muscles to come back to the center.

You can do ten reps of each exercise and repeat the entire sequence every hour or between movies.

More travel wellness tips:

What to Eat on an Airplane, and What to Avoid

10 Useful Tips for How to Nap Effectively While Traveling

Perth Airport Has a New Research-Based Wellness-Focused Qantas Lounge


Zeina Kabbara

Zeina Kabbara is a STOTT Pilates certified instructor. She teaches Pilates mat, Reformer, Barre and Belly Dance Fitness in Dubai, UAE. She is also a dancer with the Sima Dance Company, and you can say I am addicted to movement.

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