As everyone knows, long air flights these days involve the risk of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary infections etc. And what are the airlines doing about it? Nothing, of course.
(Well, that's not quite true. The other day I was on a long-haul flight on which a woman had a mild heart attack, and before they took her off the plane they made her sign a form saying that British Airways were not in any way to blame for it. The interesting thing is that it wasn't even a British Airways flight! That shows you how just far British Airways' reign of terror reaches...)
But it is clearly up to ourselves to do something about surviving long-haul flights, so I have asked Professor Imre Lucasz, the world's leading authority on non-embarrassing exercises, to devise half a dozen in-flight exercises which you can do to feel well, and yet which do not look like exercises when you come to do them.
All yours, Professor.
1. Looking for your shoes under the seat in front.
Yes, this is a good exercise because it makes it look as if you are doing something sensible, whereas you are actually getting very good stretching to your upper back and forearms.
Method: Before take-off, kick off your shoes under the seat in front. They will immediately vanish. They always do. From time to time get right down and explore for them with your arms. Stretch as far as you can. When your arms are exercised, start trying to locate your shoes with your feet - stretch your legs as far as possible and wiggle those toes for circulation!
Warning: If you do find a pair of shoes under the seat in front, and they have a pair of feet in them already, they are not yours. Do NOT try to retrieve them.
2. Trying to touch the ceiling.
The arms are the only part of the body you can move around freely while sitting on a plane. Why not give them a good stretch?
Method: Stretch your arms upwards until someone behind you says: ‘Hey, buster! Some of us are trying to watch the movie! Cut it out unless you want a slap in the jaw!’
Warning: This is a good time to stop.
3. Rearranging your in-flight meal tray.
Method: After you have eaten your "meal", try to pack away the wreckage to occupy as small a space as it occupied when it arrived. Ideal for manual and intellectual dexterity.
Warning: Don't eat the "roll" to make more space. You will regret it.
4. Raising the seat in front.
It is always annoying when the passenger in front reclines his seat back towards you, shoving your food tray in your stomach. But here's how to utilise his selfishness - by using him as a weight in some weight lifting!
Method: Put your hands flat on the back of his seat and VERY slowly and imperceptibly push him back as far upright as you can. Very good exercise for the chest and stomach muscles. If you do it properly, he will be unable to work out what is happening!
Warning: If you don't do it properly, he will come round and punch you in the jaw.
5. Pushing the toilet door.
Method: Use toilet as normal, then unlock door from the inside, thus indicating that it is free, but place hands against door and stop next person trying to come in. Excellent exercise for all the body!
Warning: When you finally come out, say: ‘I think the door handle is malfunctioning...’ to stop any contact between fist and jaw.
6. Running up and down the aisle.
There is not a lot of opportunity for this on planes, because of steward activity. However, there will almost always come a moment when the captain makes an announcement: ‘If there is a doctor on board, could he make himself known to the cabin crew?’ usually because one passenger has just punched another one in the jaw.
Method: Get up and start running up and down the plane for as long as you can, crying: ‘Yes, I am a doctor!’.
Warning: If by any chance another doctor has not been found and they ask you to look at the patient, say: ‘Alas, I am a doctor of jurisprudence’. If they are so desperate that they ask you to have a look anyway, faint.
Send SAE and blank cheque for full list of Prof. Imre Lukasz's in-flight exercises, including "Taking Lost Children For Walk", "Using Three Pairs of Head Phones as Chest Expander", "Tearing 'High Life' in Half",etc, etc.
The Independent April 25 01