Why do some people keep walking on long distance flights?

If you are a frequent traveler on flights that fly for long hours you might have noted that some people keep waking at frequent intervals inside the flight while the flight is in the sky.

Well we are not talking about passengers going to toilet or just walking because they got an uncomfortable feeling due to sitting for long hours. Here we are discussing about those people who purposefully walk inside the flight during the long duration flights. They do so probably because they have learnt that it is good for their health.

Yes it’s a good practice actually. But have you ever wondered why is it good?

Generally when someone stays in sitting position, immobile, for long duration, the blood pools towards the legs and becomes stagnant. After long hours of pooling of blood at the legs, there are chances of this pooled blood to form a blood clot. This can cause severe leg pain due to a clot or thrombus formation medically referred as deep vein thrombosis or DVT in short.

Furthermore if such a clot gets dislodged from its site of origin, and start flowing along the blood stream. Consequences can be fatal depending upon where the clot finally lands up. A common life threatening consequence is known as pulmonary embolism when the clot occludes the pulmonary artery or its branch (pulmonary artery is the artery which plays role in carrying blood from right side of heart to the lungs).

Pulmonary embolism might present with severe breathing problem, chest pain, fast breathing, fast beating of the heart etc. In such scenarios, immediate help from a medical team is important to save life.

This fatal situation can be avoided to certain extent by regular walking after certain intervals during long flights. During walking our veins pump blood against gravity and the blood can’t settle down and the clot formation process can’t take its course.