The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be a mess. Despite the holiday spirit, stores are crowded, the freeway is congested, and if you are traveling, it easily becomes the most stressful time of the year instead. Sitting for prolonged periods can place a great deal of stress and strain along your spine and various pressure points. We know pain can follow you for the duration of your trip even long after you’ve arrived. If you are already tense before you go on holiday, your travels can become particularly brutal as traveling with pain will only set a sour mood to your vacation. To help with your next vacation, follow these healthy tips to make sure your trip is pain-free.
You may think warming up is just for working out, but it can do your body wonders before a lengthy trip.
Prepare for your trip by stretching or taking a brisk walk before boarding. Do simple exercises to stretch your legs and arms as well as your back and neck. Side bends, trunk rotations, knee to chest pulls, and light yoga moves can help keep your body loose and limber.
We know you may feel a little odd to do so in a crowded place, but we can assure you a stretch before your trip will greatly reduce the discomfort that you may feel while traveling.
Begin your trip right by dressing comfortably. Loose clothing permits you to move at ease which will help you stretch and relieve tension while traveling. We know you may want to look your best at your destination, so consider packing your nicer clothes in an easy to access bag or carry on and change before you land or stop at a rest stop before your last exit.
When traveling, adjust your seat so that your back remains straight. This will reduce pressure on your spine and help keep you properly aligned. Adding lower back support such as a pillow, rolled blanket, or sweater can help prevent lower back strain which is a common side effect of sitting for a long time.
If possible, placing another small pillow or support safely between your neck the headrest will help keep you from straining your neck and shoulders.
Tips for traveling by plane
Always check heavy bags and bags that weigh more than 10% of your body weight. While it can save you some money to bring a heavier carry-on, lifting heavy bags over your head can easily cause you pain during your travels. Carry-on bags should be light and compact to avoid neck, back, and shoulder strain while placing them into overhead bins.
We know those airplane seats are not designed for comfort, so during your flight be sure to get up and walk around to stretch your legs and back. Roll your shoulders and neck or even try giving your limbs a mini massage throughout the flight to keep your muscles loose. Vary your position occasionally while seated on the plane. Try to prop your legs on a bag under the seat in front of you and frequently scrunch your toes and release them so your legs don’t tense and become stiff during the flight.
Tips for traveling by automobile
Whether you are traveling near or far, the traffic and crowds can easily get the best of you once you are on the road. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before your travels.
Make sure your seat is adjusted to the point that it allows you to sit comfortably and firmly against the seat without having to lean forward or stretch.
If you are driving, minimize arm and hand tension by periodically switching your hand positions on the wheel. Do not grip the steering wheel, instead tighten and loosen throughout the drive to improve hand circulation and reduce muscle fatigue.
Take breaks and be sure to vary focus while keeping your eyes on the road to reduce the risk of eye fatigue. If you feel tired during your journey don’t hesitate to stop, refresh, and stretch before continuing your travel. Consider calling it a night if it is just too long of a drive for you.
Traveling can be tough on your body and mind during the holidays. To make things less stressful, prepare your body as best as you can. Stop in to First Chiropractic before you leave for your trip to get aligned properly by one of our chiropractors so you can start on the right foot for your travels. Once you return from holiday, be sure to visit us so we can get you back on track for the rest of the year. Whether you are dealing with airport stress, crowded trains, or never-ending traffic, be sure to stay safe this holiday season while you travel.