How to Prevent Blood Clots While Flying

If you’re a frequent flier and take flights of 4 hours or longer, you can reduce your risk of developing blood clots.


Up next in Flying Tips (28 videos)

Make air travel easier, cheaper, and more comfortable with the flying tips in these Howcast videos. You'll learn how to get a cabin upgrade; which days are the cheapest to fly; tricks to sleeping on a plane; how to overcome a fear of flying; how to avoid jet lag; how to prevent blood clots; what to bring on a long plane ride; how to avoid airline baggage fees; how to fly with a pet; and much more. We'll even share some full-proof tricks on getting your chatty seat mate to shut up.

You Will Need

  • Room to walk
  • Ankle exercises
  • Leg exercises
  • Knee exercises
  • Water
  • Empty seats (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Move around as much as possible

    Stand up and move around as much as possible -- walk the aisle or find an out-of-the-way spot to stand.

  2. Stand in the galley at the back of the plane or next to empty seats.

  3. Step 2

    Wiggle your toes

    Take your shoes off and wiggle your toes and flex your ankles once every hour or so.

  4. Step 3

    Twist ankles clockwise and counterclockwise

    Lift your feet off the floor and twist your feet clockwise for 15 seconds while seated. Then switch to counterclockwise for another 15 seconds. Do three sets of these ankle twists every 2 hours.

  5. Step 4

    Alternate lifting your heels and toes off the floor

    Put your heels on the floor and lift your toes as high as you can. Then put both feet on the floor and lift your heels up as high as you can. Hold each lift for 30 seconds. Do three sets every 2 hours.

  6. Step 5

    Perform knee lifts

    Bend one knee and lift your leg off the floor, squeezing your thigh muscles as you lift. Then switch legs. Do 20 to 30 lifts on each leg every 2 hours.

  7. Don’t do any exercise that is painful or difficult for you to do.

  8. Step 6

    Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol

    Drink plenty of water during the flight and avoid alcohol. Don't sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time so you can get your exercise in.

  9. Deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, is also known as "economy-class syndrome."