Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the mechanics of travel can take a toll. Here are some ways to help you arrive in a happier state of being!
On the plane or train:
Check bags that are heavier than 10% of your body weight. And remember – even mules prefer a balanced load, so do your best to distribute the weight you carry evenly.
Keep your body in line with the task. Everyone wants to get right into their seat – but take a few moments to line yourself up in front of the overhead bin or rack. Often it’s easier to lift your bag in stages; if you can use the seat / armrest as a resting point halfway, do. Ask for help if you need it! PLEASE DON’T hoist your monster-heavy bag overhead, twist your torso and neck, lean forwards and push – all while you stand on your tippie-toes!
If you stow your bag below the seat in front of yours, please cut down on the number of times you have to bend down and get stuff out of it. There’s barely room for your feet (let alone your head!) so there’s really no good way to do it. So try to minimize the amount of twisting you do, and don’t force bulky objects in with your feet: it’s easy to strain your lower back and legs.
Move around as much as you can! Prolonged sitting can restrict blood flow and build up pressure in your circulatory system – especially in the lower part of the legs. Change your position: massage your arms and legs; move your knees up and down; prop your feet up on a book or bag; do some gentle head and neck stretches or range of motion exercises; sit up straight, arch your back, wiggle around – do something like this at least every 20 minutes. And you can always get up and walk down the aisle…
An inflatable neck pillow can make a big difference on a long flight; if you fall asleep, you won’t feel like Quasimodo when you wake up! Try to avoid drafts: point the air nozzle away from you to keep your muscles from tensing up. And – of course – drink lots of water!
In the car:
Check your position relative to the steering wheel. Are all your mirrors lined up so you can see? Are you in the center of your seat? Are your knees the same height or higher than your hips? If you’re poking your head forwards, move your seat up! Not only is this a better position for your body, it’ll help you relax the death grip on the steering wheel! If you use a back or seat support, make sure it’s centered – and that it fits you (ask your chiropractor to check your car seat)!
Exercise while you drive: wiggle your toes; squeeze your calf, thigh and butt muscles; do shoulder rolls; rock your sit bones back and forth; tap your fingers on the wheel; sing – whatever keeps you lively. Most importantly, take a break every hour. Get off the road, out of the car, and get some fresh air. Whew!
Have a wonderful trip!