Delta and Equinox Created a Workout That Fights Jet Lag — Here Are the Moves (Video)
You can do these exercises right in your hotel room.
Sitting for extended periods on planes and shifting between time zones can take a toll on the body, but the right exercises might help you battle jet lag.
Delta teamed up with Equinox to develop Sweatlag, a do-anywhere workout routine inspired by the airline's A350 aircraft, which comes with jet-lag fighting features like LED lighting, wider panoramic windows, and improved cabin pressurization, to help reduce stiffness and kick your body back into gear once you land at your destination.
The workout focuses on mobility warm-up moves, three different bodyweight circuits, and six cool-down stretches. It's all equipment-free, so you can get it done right in your hotel room.
The rounds, which target upper body, lower body, and core, consist of three exercises that should be performed for one minute each three times through. You can either choose to complete one round or several depending on your fitness level. All three rounds should take about 30 minutes to complete.
The first round consists of hopscotch squats (squat with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart as you hop forward before tapping down to the ground), sprawls, and a combination of shuffle and reverse lunges.
The second round includes sets of hook- and drop-turn lunges (arm hooks combined with split lunges), figure 8s that dip into lateral lunges (trace your knees into a figure 8 shape and then lunging), and traveling planks and airplanes (start in a high plank position and lift one hand and one foot while lowering down to the ground).
The third round consists of triple skaters and touchdowns (do three skater jumps and land on one foot before touching down to the ground), kneeling lean backs, and straddle rundowns.
Each of the rounds are followed by six stretches that range from neck releases to chest and shoulder openers.
The workout is predominantly low impact, because higher intensity workouts can put you at greater risk for injury after a flight, according to Equinox group fitness manager Dana McCaw.
Besides reducing stiffness, the regimen also helps trigger neuromuscular adaption and wake up your senses with steps like walk around planks, which force you to focus on spacial awareness.
McCaw recommends travelers complete the routine in their hotel room between 12 and 24 hours after landing to get the full effect.
“It’s the crucial 24 hour point that if you can get a sweat on, you’re more likely to feel better to go back to your regular workout routine,” McCaw said. “This is when your body is most vulnerable and susceptible to time zone changes, so working out in this time can resync your circadian rhythm, lower your cortisol levels, and impact circulation and mobility; having joint pain and stiff backs will make it much more challenging to get back into the groove if you wait.”
When it comes to your time on-board the plane, McCaw recommends seat stretches like twists to keep your spine mobile, in addition to leg extensions and deep breathing.
“Deep breathing is one of the most crucial and simplest things you can do to keep your body and mind calm and instantly improve your mood,” McCaw said. She recommends diaphragmatic breathing, inhaling through the nose and taking a deep breath down to the pit of the lower belly, up to a count of eight, holding for a second, and then releasing your breath back out for a cycle of up to three minutes.