However, by incorporating simple leg exercises into your in-flight routine, you can improve your circulation and minimize discomfort. In this article, we will discuss some valuable tips and exercises to keep your blood flowing during long flights.

Understanding the Importance of Good Circulation

Before diving into the exercises, it’s crucial to understand why maintaining good circulation while flying is important. Sitting for extended periods without proper movement can result in blood pooling in your legs due to the effect of gravity. This stagnant blood flow can lead to leg swelling, discomfort, and even serious complications like DVT. Improving circulation helps prevent these issues and keeps you feeling refreshed during your flight.

Key Takeaways:

  • Poor circulation during flights can lead to discomfort and increased risk of DVT.
  • Maintaining good circulation is essential to prevent leg swelling and other complications.

Effective In-Flight Leg Exercises

Now that you understand the importance of good circulation, let’s explore some leg exercises you can perform during your flight.

1. Ankle Rotations:

Ankle rotations are a simple exercise that can be done discreetly during your flight. Follow these steps:

  1. Extend your legs in front of you and lift one foot off the ground.
  2. Rotate your ankle clockwise for 10 seconds.
  3. Switch direction and rotate your ankle counterclockwise for another 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat this exercise with the other foot.

This exercise helps improve blood flow in your feet and lower legs. Performing ankle rotations periodically throughout the flight can prevent your feet from feeling numb or swollen.

2. Heel and Toe Raises:

Heel and toe raises are another excellent exercise that can be done while seated. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise your heels as high as possible while keeping your toes on the ground. Hold for a few seconds.
  3. Lower your heels back down.
  4. Raise your toes while keeping your heels on the ground. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Repeat these movements for a few minutes during your flight.

This exercise engages the calf muscles and promotes blood circulation in your lower legs. Heel and toe raises are effective in reducing leg discomfort and preventing swelling.

3. Leg Extensions:

Leg extensions are slightly more involved but equally beneficial. Follow these steps:

  1. Sit upright and extend one leg straight in front of you.
  2. Flex your foot, pointing your toes towards your body.
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds, feeling a stretch in your calf muscle.
  4. Slowly lower your leg back down.
  5. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Leg extensions help improve blood circulation in your thighs and lower legs. It also promotes flexibility and reduces the risk of stiffness after a long flight.

Advantages of In-Flight Leg Exercises:

  • Improves blood circulation and prevents discomfort.
  • Reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Prevents leg swelling and numbness during the flight.
  • Promotes flexibility and reduces stiffness.


Don’t let long flights compromise your circulation and comfort. Incorporating simple leg exercises into your in-flight routine can make a significant difference. Remember to perform ankle rotations, heel and toe raises, and leg extensions throughout the flight. These exercises will not only improve your circulation but also prevent discomfort and reduce the risk of DVT. Take care of your legs during your travels, and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.