This Plane Exercise Improves Mobility & Can Be Done In Your Seat 

Written by Jenn Pilotti

Image by Tommaso Tuzj / Stocksy

The last time you were on a plane, did you find yourself in a small seat, feeling squished, wishing you could figure out a way to move, even if it was just a little bit, to get some life back in your body?

Plane seats aren't exactly roomy, and it can be difficult to find ways to move on long flights. There is usually someone next to you (often on either side), and if you are in economy, you can't exactly stretch out.

The exercise sequence below will create movement in your spine in a discreet way. It doesn't require you to take over your neighbor's space, or even come into contact with the seat in front of you. And the best part? Your spine will feel so much better once you are done.

In fact, this exercise can be done any time you are seated for a long period of time to improve mobility and flexibility through the spinal column, so you can practice it right now, from the comfort of your seat.

Spine exercise

Come into a seated position, with your feet flat on the floor. Feel the weight of your feet against the floor underneath you and see if you can feel the weight balanced in your feet.

Let your hands rest gently on your knees. Rock back and forth in your pelvis a little bit until you find your weight even on your two sitting bones, the bones on the bottom of the pelvis that make contact with the surface you are on.

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Sitting bones

Roll behind your sitting bones and in front of your sitting bones. Go back and forth between these two positions four times, resting on your sitting bones after your last one.

Belly

Move your belly back, toward the seat behind you, and then forward, toward the seat in front of you. Go back and forth between those two positions four times, resting in center after the last one.

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Ribs

Move your ribs back, toward the seat behind you and then forward, toward the seat in front of you. Go back and forth between these two positions four times, resting in center after the last one.

Breastbone

Move the top part of your breastbone back, toward the seat behind you and forward, toward the seat in front of you. Go back and forth between these two positions four times, resting in center on the last one.

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Throat

Move your throat back, toward the seat behind you and forward, toward the seat in front of you. Go back and forth between these two positions four times, resting in center after the last one.

Cat position

Finally, let your entire spine round, becoming small as you roll behind your sitting bones, and then let your spine expand forward, rolling in front of your sitting bones. Go back and forth between these two movements four times.

You can play with other directions, moving different parts of your spine or pelvis side to side or in a circular pattern. You will discover different parts of your spine move more easily than others. When you find an area that is harder to isolate, go slowly, ask yourself where you are stuck, and maybe move on to a different area, returning to the "stuck" area later. With practice, patience, and focused attention, you will regain the ability to move different aspects of your spine in isolation. Not only are you working on mobility and flexibility, you are working on creating a connection between your mind and your body, all while sitting in an airplane seat. Happy travels!

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