Coaching Association of Canada

7 Exercises to Stay Loose While Traveling

Do you have a long drive or flight ahead of your next game or competition? These exercises are designed to provide a safe way for your athletes to stretch and enjoy movement in certain muscle groups that can become stiff as a result of long periods of sitting. They may be effective at increasing the body’s blood circulation and massaging the muscles.

It is recommended that athletes do these exercises for around three or four minutes every hour. If possible, you should also occasionally stop to let them walk around (or walk down the aisle in-flight). 

  • 1. Ankle Circles

    Lift feet off the ground or alternating crossing your legs. Draw a circle with the toes, simultaneously moving one foot clockwise and the other foot counter clockwise. Reverse circles. Rotate in each direction for 15 seconds. Repeat if desired. 

  • 2. Foot Pumps

    Foot motion is in three stages. 1. Start with both heels on the ground and point feet upward as high as you can. 2. Put both feet on a flat surface. 3. Lift heels high, keeping balls of feet on the flat surface. Repeat these three stages in a continuous motion and in 30-second intervals. If this seems too easy or you don’t feel the stretch, add weight by putting your bag on your knees.

  • 3. Knee Lifts

    Lift leg with knee bent while contracting your thigh muscle. Alternate legs. Repeat 20 to 30 times for each leg.

  • 4. Neck Roll

    With shoulders relaxed, drop ear to shoulder and gently roll neck from shoulder to shoulder, but avoid rotating it backward, holding each position about five seconds. Repeat five times.

  • 5. Knee to Chest

    Bend forward slightly. Clasp hands around the left knee and hug it to your chest. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Keeping hands around the knee, slowly let it down. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times.

  • 6. Forward Flex

    With both feet on the ground and stomach held in, slowly bend forward and walk your hands down the front of your legs toward your ankles. Hold stretch for 15 seconds and slowly sit back up.

  • 7. Shoulder Roll

    Hunch shoulders forward, then upward, then backward, and downward, using a gentle circular motion. Flex your trapezius muscles by doing shoulder hunches. Lower your shoulders, and then roll them forward up toward your ears into a shrug. Hold for five seconds and roll down backwards. Continue until tired.

For more information on travel management, consider the “Manage a Sport Program” module, part of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) multi-sport modules series available through your Provincial or Territorial Coaching Representative.