It is almost summer and after a couple years of limited travel, it’s time to hit the road again to see friends, family, or a destination spot to relax and rejuvenate! We look forward to the enjoyment that our destination brings, but not the long drive or plane ride that can leave you stressed, tired, hangry, stiff, and sore just as the vacation is getting started or when heading home. Making sure you take care of yourself along the way is important so you can enjoy your vacation and make it home rested and relaxed.
Planning ahead to include a few activities and stops along the way can make a world of difference in how your body handles the travel and how you enjoy your vacation. Your body was made to move and not be stagnant for long periods of time. Sitting in one position for long periods of time can reduce the blood flow to your body and reduce the removal of toxins from your body. The combination results in inflammation in the joints and muscles that ache.
Before You Head Out
Take time to prepare your body for travel. How can you do that? Easy, move, and stretch. Take a walk or light jog and do some stretching exercises to activate your muscles and get oxygen throughout your body. Anything that puts focuses on the circulation of blood flow to each and every part of your body will help get you off to a good start.
When traveling it is important to drink plenty of water, especially when flying. The pressurized airplane has a low humidity level and we can easily become dehydrated. When we are driving, we often drink caffeinated drinks to help us stay awake, but those act as diuretics, which will cause us to be dehydrated. Either way, we need to drink plenty of water!
An increased amount of water and other fluids may increase our need to make restroom breaks along the way. Whether driving or flying, these breaks are good for us to get up and move. Blood flow increases and the contraction and relaxation of our muscles help the process of moving toxins and waste out of our body.
Heavy backpacks and luggage can wreak havoc on our bodies. It is a plus that bags often come with casters to allow us to roll them on hard surfaces through airports and to and from the car, but we are still faced with lifting these bags in and out of the car, up and downstairs, and into overhead bins. Make sure the weight of your baggage is comfortable for you to lift when needed. Be careful to keep a neutral spine when lifting, using your legs to do the heavy lifting.
When you need to rotate with a bag, move your feet with your body. Twists and turns while lifting and moving baggage can cause muscle strain and leave your back sore and in pain if not handled properly. Even stowing your luggage under the seats on an airplane can leave you in an awkward position and cause unwanted muscle strain.
Seat And Bed Comfort
No matter how you are traveling good posture along with neck and back support is important. Your head and shoulders rolled forward while sleeping, reading a book, or spending time on your phone/computer, or your body leaning off to one side can lead to a number of ailments, including muscle spasms, back discomfort, and the dreaded “crick” in your neck. Strategically placed pillows and a neck ring can be helpful to provide good support for your body.
Sleeping in a bed that is different than what your body is used too often leads to less than restful sleep. Taking time to get some physical exercise in an hour or so before you head to bed, doing what you can to sleep with a neutral spine, taking your favorite pillow with you, and starting your day with 10 to 15 minutes of stretching can help keep away the aches and pains.
No matter how you are traveling, take time to get up and move around. If by car, taking breaks to get gas, food, and use the restroom are great times to take walks, do some jumping jacks and stretch. If by plane, train, or bus, get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so and stretch. Anything you can do to get your blood circulating and your muscles activated will help reduce the aches and pains of traveling.
These are simple steps on how you can travel comfortably. Before and after every trip whether you are experiencing aches and pains or not, it is a good idea for you and your family to visit your chiropractor for a checkup. Make an appointment with Hunt Spinal Care today. Travel safe!