Long flights are often very uncomfortable. Unless you can afford a ride on a private jet or first class passage, you’re going to be stuck in coach with a lot of other people. This puts you in a tight space with very little leg room and not much ability to move about and get comfortable. Yes, you could recline your seat, but then you’re bugging the passenger behind you. And they might kick your seat in an act of passive aggressive vengeance. But did you know that there is an affordable and simple solution that helps you get more comfortable on planes? Yes. Tennis balls. Tennis balls can revolutionize the way you relax on your next long flight. Just pack a few in your carry on and try them out. Tips on how to use them at 30,000 feet below!
Let’s start with your ankles. Since your legs are pointing down the entire flight and probably don’t move much, blood might not flow as freely while in the air. So get to stretching your ankles. Remove your shoe and then place your foot on top of the tennis ball. Squeeze down on it and then roll it back and forth over the floor. Hold each position for a few moments before moving on to the next way. The goal is to rotate your ankle and get blood flowing. But you can also relieve plantar fasciitis tension if you press firmly down on the ball in the center of your foot bottom. If you’re not comfortable doing this shoeless, you can leave your shoe on and rotate your ankle.
A tennis ball also boosts circulation in your hands and arms. Grip the ball like you would a stress ball – hold for a few seconds, then slowly release. You should feel the muscles in your hands and up your forearms tensing up and then relaxing. It feels very good. You can also stretch out the complex muscle groupings around your wrist by holding onto the ball and then rotating your wrist back and forward.
After you’ve stretched your ankles and wrists, lets work on your thighs. You can use the tennis ball to massage the top of your thighs. This boosts circulation while you’re seated and can help prevent dangerous blood clots from forming. Roll the tennis ball from your knee up to the top of your thigh. Repeat this while applying gentle pressure until you’re finished. Make sure do give your other thigh the same loving.
Next it’s time to do some more rolls on your legs. This time target your lower legs and calves. Starting at the ankle, roll the tennis ball up toward your knee. Roll it along the sides of your legs and the backs to get to the calf. You can also roll it along your shin to loosen that muscle. Apply gentle pressure during all of these maneuvers and note where you feel tension or a knot in the muscle.
With your lower body now treated to an 30,000-foot self-massage with tennis balls, it’s time to work on your upper back and shoulders. EVERYONE can benefit from this move. Roll the ball across your shoulders, neck and back. Run it back and forth over knots of pain. If you can, wedge the ball between your back and the airplane seat. Then push back into it to give yourself a loving massage.
You don’t have to use these tips only on airplane rides. They are also applicable to long car or bus rides. You could also use them at the office if you’re stuck at a desk all day long.
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