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Feeling Stiff After a Long Trip? Try This Post-Flight Workout

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

Spending a long flight on an airplane might mean you’re on the way to having the time of your life on vacation—but all those hours sitting down in cramped quarters can be hell for your body once you’re up and out of that tiny seat. Those first few steps off the ramp can be painful, so you want to get active to get the blood flowing again.

Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. shakes out that long trip stiffness with a set of airport-friendly bodyweight exercises that can double as a quick do-everything full-body workout. “Flying is very taxing on the body,” she says. “From the stuffy cabin, the recycled oxygen, and the altitude you should stay away from an intense workout directly following a flight, but something as easy as this will help in getting you back to equilibrium.”

Atkins says the routine will help to “re-mobilize the body from sitting so long, fire up the core, pump up the blood flow, and could just give you that second wind you need when traveling.”

If you’re bold enough to get active in the terminal after you touch down, just drop your bags and make sure you have some room to move around.

Perform the exercises below as a circuit. Do 12 reps of each move with little to no rest, until you finish 3 rounds total.

Squat + Oblique Crunch

Perform a bodyweight squat, keeping your hands to your head. As you rise up, lift one leg and crunch down to touch the same side elbow to your knee. Repeat on the opposite side.

Squat + Crossbody Crunch

Perform a bodyweight squat, keeping your hands to your head. As you rise up, lift one leg and turn your torso toward that knee. Repeat on the opposite side.


Mountain Climber

Get in a pushup position, holding a plank with your weight on your hands and toes. Keeping your spine straight, drive one knee up toward your chest, then back. Repeat with the other leg.

Standing Ab Crunch

Reach your arms overhead. Kick up one leg, keeping it totally straight, as you crunch down to touch your toe with both hands. Repeat on the other side.

While you’ll definitely want to use this circuit in the airport, it can also serve as a quick workout whenever you want to get the blood moving with minimal equipment or effort. Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.

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