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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.


  • 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.
  • TIP: Stand in the galley at the back of the plane or next to empty seats.
  • Step 2: Wiggle your toes Take your shoes off and wiggle your toes and flex your ankles once every hour or so.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Don’t do any exercise that is painful or difficult for you to do.
  • 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.
  • FACT: Deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, is also known as "economy-class syndrome."

You Will Need

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

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