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Updated May 5, 2006
Airhealth.org

Leg Flexing

Frequent leg flexing is the best preventive for ECS. The blood needs to be pushed through the one-way valve system in the veins by contractions of the large muscles. Do it five times or more, firmly and deliberately but not strenuously. If you are bothering your seat mates, you are doing it too vigorously.

How often? The UK Department of Health recommends 30 minute intervals, more frequently if you have risk factors such as athletic training or a history of DVT.

Exercises:

1.Extend your legs if possible and flex your ankles, pulling up and spreading your toes, then pushing down and curling the toes. If your shoes limit toe movement, just make the effort and don't worry, or remove the shoes. Alternative: rotate the ankles, making circles in the air with your toes.

2. If there isn't room to extend your legs, start with your feet flat on the floor and push down and curl your toes while lifting your heels from the floor. Then, with your heels back on the floor, lift and spread your toes. Repeat this heel - toe cycle five times or more.

3. Exercise your thigh muscles by sitting with your feet flat on the floor and slide your feet forward a few inches, then slide back and repeat. Or extend the legs (if you have enough room) and isometrically flex thigh muscles.

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