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Twenty-fifth Hour at 33,000 Feet

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“I spend my life in airports and on planes. How can I stay in shape?” Travelling often? Flying in and out? You’re lucky! This is great for your body and here’s why: free time!


25th Hour Tip #1: The airport is your racetrack … If you arrive at least 90 minutes before departure, you will be less stressed-out about missing your flight AND you will have plenty of time to walk while waiting to board the plane. Make sure you carry only a light bag or two small carry-ons of identical weight with you, so that you don’t strain your shoulders and/or your back. Resist the temptation to sit at a café and gulp down a 400-calorie latte! Instead: walk, walk, walk!


25th Hour Tip #2: Don’t you love waiting in line?! When you wait in line to board, squeeze your glutes. Nobody will notice! With the typical wait at the door, you can get up to 300 squeezes before boarding. If you want to keep your squeezes discrete, simply balance your body weight from one leg to the other. While you do so, squeeze one cheek and then the other. If you remain seated, you can still do the same exercise. Again, nobody will notice!


25th Hour Tip #3, 4, 5, 6, 7: Turn the plane into your private gym! Avoid wearing anything too tight around your waist (it is common to get bloated because of the pressure on the plane).


Every hour or so, do a series of 25 slow glute squeezes. Finish each series with a stronger squeeze. Hold it for five seconds. Go for the burn! Follow this by a series of 10 lower abdominal contractions. Finish with a long squeeze of at least 20 seconds. Repeat the same exercise with your upper abs.


Strengthen your thighs while seated. Raise your knees up, keeping a 90-degree angle between your thighs and your calves. Lower your knees. Repeat 100 times slowly to maintain control of the move at all times. As an extra bonus, keep your abs tight during this exercise.


Get strong arms: using your armrest, lift yourself up using only the strength of your arms. Hold yourself up for a count of five. Repeat four times in a row.


Stretching is important too. Stretch your legs as straight and as high as you can. Feel the stretch. Hold the position for five seconds. Keeping your legs lifted, lean forward, keeping your back straight (this will stretch the back of your thighs and your lower back). From the normal seated position, stretch your arms above your head. Hold the right arm above your head with your left arm, and vice versa. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds. Aim at an hourly stretching routine.



25th Hour Tip #8:
If you wear a pedometer in the airport, you will be surprised at how much you can walk! Make sure you are wearing one. Aim for 5,000 steps. You can do it! Don’t sit until you have reached your goal! If you have a child, push the stroller; this adds strength and definition to your arms!



25th Hour Tip #9:
To learn how to differentiate your lower, middle and upper abs, look at yourself in a mirror with your abs uncovered. Contract your lower abs; look in the mirror as you move up to your middle abs and up to your upper abs. Once you have isolated each muscle group, working on lower/upper abs is a breeze.


By Valérie Orsoni


Related Story: What Is Qigong?

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