Cronulla clinic: (02) 9527 4099

Aircraft and Anti-DVT Exercises

Recently, while on a long-haul flight over the Pacific I could not help but marvel at many passenger’s ability to remain inert, dozing in their chairs for long periods of time.

In some ways I was a little envious because while being able to sleep on the proverbial barbed wire fence at home, I find it impossible to sleep for any more than ten minutes on an aeroplane.

But as far as health is concerned I was thankful.

Because I was awake I was able to maximise the ability to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVTs). In other words, on a regular basis I was able to undertake specific exerecises that can help minimise the development of DVTs.

What is a DVT?

DVT is a blood clot occurring most frequently in the large veins of the calves. This is a problem in itself but sometimes complications occur when these clots break free and travel up the veins through the heart to lodge in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or even the brain causing a stroke. A DVT is a serious condition and can be fatal.

How do they occur?

Blood flows more slowly, and collects in the legs when they are hanging down and remaining still. The “pumping” action of contracting and relaxing muscles while walking, which encourages blood flow, is not occurring. Research studies suggest that there is about one DVT for every 4,656 flights that last for four hours or more.

Which are the best exercises?

There are two classifications of exercises: Necessary leg exercises for minimising DVA

  • Weightbearing
  • Calf stretches
  • Hamstring/gluteals
  • Quadriceps
  • Seated foot pumping

Trunk and shoulder exercises for minimising general stiffness

  • Neck range of movement
  • Shoulder range of movement
  • Trunk range of movement: rotation and side flexion

Elastic Compression Stockings

There is some evidence suggesting compression stockings can help to prevent travel-related DVT in people who have a high to moderate risk and those over 50 years of age. Ask your Pharmacist for advice about the correct type and they only need to come up to your knees. The slight pressure from the stocking helps to prevent blood “pooling” in the calf.

Stockings do not replace the need for regular exercise. They are in addition to exercises.

Get free health news

Want to receive free, expert health tips and genuine offers from us in your inbox?

Unsubscribe any time;
No spam.

Ask us a question
Search our website