By Jennifer Stagg
The last thing passengers normally think of while being crammed in between two strangers in economy class during a red-eye flight is exercise.
Although fitness may not be on their minds, Song Airlines has a new idea to transform the minimal legroom seat in to a traveling personal trainer.
Delta Airlines, the parent corporation to Song Airlines, hired fitness guru David Barton to develop the In-Flight Fitness program to help frequent flyers stay fit while soaring over cities.
“This program works muscles throughout the entire body, including legs, back, chest and shoulders,” Barton said. “It”s an ideal travel workout because it”s suited for those with limited time and access to a gym.”
For an additional $8 fee, passengers can burn to the beat of airplane tunes while using a resistance band and a ball to complete the airline”s tension-relieving workout.
Song is not the only airline providing customers with an alternative to sleeping uncomfortably or tuning into the in-flight flick. JetBlue teamed with Crunch Fitness International to provide passengers with a “Flying Pilates” card with instructions for four Pilates exercises.
“The “Single Leg Stretch” is my personal favorite,” said Amy Curtis-McIntyre, vice-president of sales and marketing for JetBlue.
The American Physical Therapy Association Web site states some health risks are related to sitting for long periods of time on an airplane. The most serious risk is the development of deep-vein thrombosis, sometimes called “coach class syndrome,” which results in blood clots that form in the legs after four or more hours of confinement in a cramped seat.
The site suggests that passengers not stay seated for the duration of the flight and that they walk up and down the aisles of the plane every hour.
Healthy eating is also a concern for passengers.
Dr. Kathy Wise, a nutritionist, gave some tips on the Firstpath.com Web site for eating healthy in the air. She said to drink plenty of water, limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol consumed, and pack some snacks in case the flight does not offer a meal or is delayed.
Brian Porter, a former BYU student now at USC, flew on JetBlue last Friday and tried the “Flying Pilates” card. He said he was the only passenger on the plane doing the exercises, and they were embarrassing to perform, so he waited until everyone around him was asleep.
“It was really pretty embarrassing,” Porter said. “They”ve got a picture of a girl doing a swimming motion to demonstrate one of the moves.”
Porter said he was more refreshed when he got up for a bathroom break than he had been when he practiced any of the Pilate”s exercises.
“I probably won”t ever do them again,” Porter said.