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After a long flight, Anna Marincovich likes to stretch out by lying on the floor and swinging her legs up against a wall, in what is known in her yoga world as Viparita Karani. Or legs-up-the-wall pose.

"The way we travel today there is not only a lot of sitting but a lot of standing," Marincovich said. "Checking in, then standing in line for security, then waiting for others to do something with their bags. Sometimes you can feel your legs and feet start to swell and you need to alleviate the pressure and reverse the blood flow."

Of course, unless you have your own private jet, taking up space for a yoga pose or a push-up needs to wait until you get home or to your hotel.

But even during a flight or a long car trip, there are ways to exercise a body stuck too long in a seat, said the Parkpoint Santa Rosa yoga instructor and massage therapist.

She starts out with the simple act of sitting still and upright.

"Get into your seat. Plant both feet on the floor even thought it's so natural for us to cross our legs. Get grounded. Get rooted. And then check with your breathing," said Marincovich, who admits she's not a big fan of flying.

"When I travel I sometimes feel overwhelmed, so I find if I come back to being aware, taking full breaths, making sure my shoulders aren't tight, I can relax," she said. "The thing about travel is you can't change turbulence or flight delays or whether they'll lose your bags, but you can change how you react, how you hold your body."

She also recommends being conscious of how you are sitting.

"Make sure your sacrum (lower back) is flush at the back of the seat and you're sitting completely upright. Bring the shoulders back, open the front of your body, make sure you're not hunched over."

Also, drink water and wear comfortable clothes that make it easy to stretch, she adds.

Many airlines show an in-flight exercise video encouraging passengers to stretch and move. Studies show that prolonged sitting in a plane or vehicle can cause blood clots to form in the legs and add to the general stress of flying.

"I think everyone recognizes that you need to get up and move around," said Marincovich. "Plus a fresh, oxygenated brain is very soothing to the body."

San Francisco International Airport has a new yoga studio in Terminal 2 that offers a quiet oasis for harried passengers to take off their shoes, mute their cell phones and sit or stretch. Other airports have put in walking paths that invite waiting passengers to do laps before boarding.

Nasrina Evenstar, fitness coach and personal trainer at the Santa Rosa YMCA, travels with her 3-year-old son and tries to keep him and herself in motion "up until the last second.

"We try to do laps around the airport right up until boarding time instead of adding to the sit time by waiting at the gate," she said.

Evenstar said the back suffers the most when sitting in a plane or riding in a car, but the discomfort resonates through the body.

"A lot of that low back pain is actually caused by the tightness that forms in the hips and legs. The shoulders tend to get bound up as well, but that too will be experienced as pain in the back or sometimes the neck."

Try to change positions as much as possible while seated, she said, noting it's handier to exercise your legs if you're in an aisle seat and can put one leg out in the aisle at a time.

On a car trip, she said, "Take the time to walk. If you only stop for food and gas and you sit while you're eating then all that sitting time adds up. Walk around and eat your sandwich."

The agile body naturally travels better, she said. "The more flexible, strong and in shape you are, the less a long car or plane ride is going to impact your body."

You can always find a way to at least stretch, she said. "You just have to be inventive."

Even at a roadside rest stop, she said, "You might not want to get down on the ground but you can stretch your arms while standing, do some lunges for your hips and some standing forward folds."

Fitness director Dawn Carter at the Santa Rosa Y takes a lot of road trips with her Army National Guard unit and has figured out a way to keep her body exercised going long miles in a military humvee.

"I sit up tall and lift my heels one at a time, I bend my right leg and cross my ankle or foot over my left thigh and then lean forward slightly for a hip stretch," she said. To stretch out her hamstring, she extends her legs out straight, pushes through her heel and leans forward.

"I also write the alphabet with my feet while holding my foot off the car floor if possible. I stretch my chest by lifting my elbows up to the side and then pulling my elbows back."

Finally, she focuses on breathing. "I pull in my stomach and hold, breathe in very deeply and slowly. Then I exhale and tense my abdominals to use them to push the air out of my lungs slowly," she said. "Honestly, the breathing really relaxes me and makes the trip more bearable."

Massage therapist Mary Potje in Sebastopol relies on a small round pillow to save her back while driving, arranging it between her lower back and the seat. In a plane, she tries to find a way to bring her knees to her chest to stretch her back. That's fine as long as you don't jostle the person or his drink in the next seat, said Marincovich. Or do so much heavy breathing that your seatmate panics and calls the flight attendant.

Susan Swartz is a freelance writer and author based in Sonoma County. Contact her at susan@juicytomatoes.com.