When you take a long trip, you want to get up and stretch your legs, right? Besides keeping you from feeling stiff and sore, this simple act can also lower your risk of having a blood clot, a potentially dangerous health problem.\nBlood clots and travel can be linked, especially if you have certain risk factors. By learning some basic facts and tips, you can make sure you stay healthy and keep your risk of blood clots low.\nWhat Is a Blood Clot?\nBlood clots form normally when you injure a blood vessel, like from a cut or bruise. To keep you from losing too much blood, small pieces of cells, called platelets, stick together to form a clot. Once you have healed, your blood clot usually dissolves on its own.\nClotting helps your body heal itself, but some medical conditions, behaviors, and situations can cause dangerous blood clots to form. This can be life-threatening if a clot moves and blocks blood flow to your brain, heart, or lungs.\nTravel and Blood Clot Risks\nTrips of four hours or more \u2014 whether they’re by plane, boat, train, bus, or car \u2014 can raise your risk of having a blood clot. While you sit, the blood flow in your legs slows down, making it more likely to form a blood clot.\nWhether you’re flying halfway around the world or driving across the state, it’s a good idea to get up and move around during your trip. Overall, most people have a low risk of forming a blood clot from travel, but some factors can raise your risk. These include:\n\nAge of 65 or older\nObesity\nRecent surgery or injury\nUsing birth control pills or estrogens\nPregnancy\nA personal or family history of blood clots\nCancer or cancer treatment\n\nStaying Healthy\nYou can do simple things to keep your blood flowing and your risks low. On your next trip:\n\nGet up and move around at least every two hours or so; if you’re driving, stop for a few minutes, get out of the car, and walk around\nStay hydrated the day before your travel and during the trip\nDrink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol and caffeine\nWear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes\nAvoid crossing your legs\n\nExercises to Keep Your Blood Flowing\n\nToe raise: keep your heels on the floor and raise your toes up off the floor\nHeel raise: keep your toes on the floor and raise your heels up off the floor\nAnkle flex: move your legs straight out in front of you, flex your ankles, pointing your toes toward you\nKnee to chest: bring your knee up to your chest and hold it there for 15 seconds then repeat with your other knee\n\nIt’s important to manage your health and minimize your risk of blood clots. Doing so can help you to avoid many health problems down the line.\nHave you had your blood and cholesterol levels checked recently? Schedule an appointment with the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute to get screened today.