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Travel Can Be a Pain!

Travel Can Be a Pain!

by | Jun 1, 2021 | new blog | 0 comments

With summer around the corner and things starting to seem a bit more back to normal; your team at West Chiropractic and Wellness thought it would be a good time to talk about some healthy travel tips. Travel can be mentally exhausting and physically stressful by whatever means the travel is accomplished. Be that in a car, plane, or perhaps even a train. Stress can be induced from the seat we are in, the situation we are in, and what we are putting into our bodies during those moments.

Whether it’s an uncomfortable airplane seat or a rigid car seat, sitting for 3-4 hours straight it not usually the best option for our bodies. Prolonged sitting can shorten our long hip flexor muscles along the front portion of the hips; which can decrease motion in our low backs to give a “locked up” feeling. Also, the neck and upper back can have increased tension from us leaning forward a bit too far from the headrest. It is important to take a few standing breaks if possible, but If not possible, below are a few stretches and movements that can be performed in a seated position and help ease some tension. Try for a suggested 5-10 reps each side with a 2-3 sec hold.  

Seated Figure 4 Stretch

In a sitting posture cross one leg over and lean forward with a tall chest until a stretch is felt in the bent leg and slightly in the low back.

Head to Toe Raises

This is a great one to increase blood flow on a plane. Go back and forth between lifting the heels off the floor and contracting the calf muscles and then bring toes upward to contract the front leg muscles.

Upper Trap Stretch

To stretch the upper back and base of neck area start by pulling the head to the opposite side armpit (be careful) to feel increased stretch in the upper back.

Ex. if stretching the right side look down and then to the L side.

Seated Rotation

To stretch the mid back use an arm rest to assist a pulling sensation through while sitting tall and not rolling forward. You can perform half reps on this move.

Stress Reduction

There is nothing like running through the airport with a broken wheel on a carry on or getting lost with no service on an outdoor road trip. All these situations can be stressful and if that stress stays with you it can potentially increase pain and tension in already sore areas, essentially bring more negative attention to the area. The mental component of stress can induce physical stress. Giving yourself a mindfulness minute can help ease this cascade of stress before it fully takes over. 

If at the airport try taking a break to yourself to work on breathing exercises that involve slowing down the heart rate to reduce overall stress. Try breathing inward through the nose for 1-3 seconds and then exhale from the mouth for 1-3 seconds, repeat 10 times.

If in the car it is harder to get a second of you time. You can attempt a group breathing exercise to calm everyone down which can involve music or a guided breathing moment via an app like Calm or Headspace. If with young children, you can turn this into a game of sorts to see who can calm their breathing down the most etc.

Overall, even if there are some hiccups on the way to a destination it is more about being at the final destination with friends or family and enjoying the time you have there. Even if the stress is immense it will be hard to remember the specifics soon after arrival. Trips are there to help us reduce stress and decompress so no need to hold on to it and have it effect our trip. The stress can pick back up when we miss our flight on the way home, just kidding. Everyone have a great summer!

Resources

http://files.webexercises.com/Healthy_Travel_Flight_Handout_07.12.18.pdf

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