If you’re planning prolonged inactivity, such as a long car ride or a long plane ride, it is very important to find ways to keep moving and keep your blood flowing as normally as possible. Going long periods of time without moving around can be dangerous, as it can allow blood to pool within the veins of your legs. Pooled or very slow moving blood can cause blood clots, which is potentially a very dangerous condition.
To encourage regular blood flow, it is recommended that you wear travel socks or buy compression stockings for your long trips. A compression stocking can be especially helpful for your circulation if you are not able to get up and walk around frequently or at least every two hours. Drinking lots of fluids, especially water, is recommended as well.
Another tactic is to do a few seated leg exercises. You may feel like you have no room to move, but you’d be surprised. Even small, repeated movements are beneficial.
1) Thigh Press
Place your right hand on your right thigh. Slightly lift your leg but push against your leg with your hand, gently, to provide resistance. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 8-10 times, and then repeat on your left side.
2) Pointed Toes
With your abs pulled in tight and sitting tall, lift one foot off the floor several inches. Moving your leg as little as possible, alternate between pointing your toes and flexing your toes (pulling your toes up). Complete 20 reps and repeat with the other leg.
3) Foot Circles
As a variation on the pointed toes exercise, draw a box with your toes. Start with your toes flexed, then move your foot (at the ankle) to the right (remember to try not moving your leg). Next, point your toes downward, then move your foot to the left, and finally bring your toes up to your starting position. Repeat four times clockwise, then four times counter-clockwise.
4) Thigh Vice
From a seated position, lift one leg up slightly, bend at the knee, and use your abdominals to draw your heel back towards your seat. Pull your leg back like you want to squeeze your seat between your thigh and your calf, only until you feel a good stretch in your hamstring. Hold for a few seconds and release. Do ten reps and repeat on the other side.
Doing these simple exercises can help prevent blood clots, and encourage healthy blood circulation.