A byproduct of being sedentary on long flights is “your hip flexors are tight all the time which puts your glutes to sleep,” Perrin said. That hip flexor tightness eventually causes lower back pain, so you want to avoid it by keeping your glutes moving.
Perrin’s subtle way of doing that on the chair is to bend one leg at a 90-degree angle and the other slightly bent with your heel bent. Drive weight into the slightly bent leg, which will squeeze the gluteal muscle and release the hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. “It wakes up the gluteal muscle and that will reduce the amount of restriction people feel from their hip flexor,” he said. For long flights, he does a round of these plus breast lifts every two to three hours.
Borden keeps her glutes activated by bringing a BackJoy Posture Plus Blue seat, which creates an active sitting position and corrects the position of the pelvis. Borden hooks it to her backpack for flights and “you can get up from a plane and have no back pain,” she said.