If you love your legs and don’t want them to swell up painfully during or after your trip, then be sure to walk the aisles regularly when you’re on a long-haul flight.
The longer the flight, the longer you sit, which heightens your risk of getting a blood clot in your leg—a.k.a., deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
When you’re walking around, your calf muscles are regularly contracting, which helps maintain blood circulation in your lower leg.
Yet, when your legs remain still for extended periods of time, your blood circulation slows and this can sometimes lead to DVT, which can prove fatal if one or more blood clots make their way to your lungs.
This is also why you should wear loose-fitting clothing (Step 1) and drink plenty of water (Step 3) during your flight.
My rule of thumb is, every time I visit the restroom, before returning to my seat, I’ll do a few laps up and down the aisles and I’ll hang out in the plane’s galley for a bit to do some stretching and to refill my water bottle (see Step 3).
In the galley, you may encounter another passenger and/or a flight attendant who’s up for a chat—I’ve gotten great trip itinerary recommendations this way!