Surviving summer travels and chiropractic tips. Ah, summer. It’s the time of the year we all look forward to. For many of us, summer is the time for family reunions, vacations, and other adventures. We spend hours in cars, planes, trains, and even boats. And while we are so excited to arrive at our destination, we are often in pain for the first few days of the trip. Sitting for extended periods of time results in tension building up in your muscles. This can cause feelings of discomfort and even pain. However, there are some things that can be done to reduce these feelings of discomfort, while increasing blood flow and your ability to enjoy your vacation.
Surviving Summer Travels: Plane
Maintain Good Posture
Airports can be the worst. They are often stressful and cramped. And while many modern airports are adding amenities like yoga rooms to their facilities, how many of us are actually using them? Not many. When traveling by plane, an important thing to remember is to maintain good posture while sitting or standing. This means standing or sitting tall, allowing the natural “S-curve in your spine to form. When sitting, it may be helpful to used pillows or rolled-up blankets as additional support to keep this curve. There are several pillow options available for just this purpose. Maintaining this posture will help provide extra support to your spine, making extended periods of sitting more manageable.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Depending on the length or destination of your trip, your suitcase may easily weigh over 50 pounds! Instead of traveling with large, single strap duffel bags, try investing in a wheeling suitcase. And trade in those purses and messenger bags for backpacks. These simple swaps can help minimize the amount of stress on your back before you even take off. If you’re able to, check all baggage that is heavier than 5-10% of your body weight. Even if you carry bags on board, ask for assistance when it comes to placing them in the overhead bins.
Give Yourself Room
Planes feel smaller and smaller these days. Newer planes have even less legroom than older models. And forget about that “reclining” feature, unless one inch is your definition of reclined. When storing bags under the seat in front of you, make sure that this does not impede your ability to sit comfortably. You will also want to take care when bending to place these items. You may need to consider asking for assistance.
Get Up and Walk
How often do your limbs fall asleep when sitting in one position for too long? For any trip over 3 hours, it’s a good idea to get up and walk. This will relieve some of the stress on your back. But it will also get your blood circulating fully again. Not to mention get rid of that pins and needles feeling!
Surviving Summer Travels: Car
Let’s be real, most of us try to crank out as much driving as we can without taking a break. But please make sure you stop every now at then to get out of the car and walk around. These don’t need to be long breaks, just short breaks that allow you to change position. Go to the bathroom. Eat a healthy snack. This helps alleviate some of the strain on your spine and will increase blood flow.
Use the above-mentioned break time to stretch. Do simple stretches that can help increase blood flow and prevent extra pressure from building up in your blood vessels. Do some side reaches. Touch your toes. Do some spinal twists. And if you’re a passenger, you can even stretch in the car. Try things like stretching your toes apart, tensing and relaxing your calves, and rolling your shoulders. Check out this blog post to learn more ways you can stretch in a small space.
Avoid Junk Food
I know, who doesn’t love good, road trip junk food? Many of us find snacking the best part of being on the road. But junk food has no dietary value. And will make you feel fatigued and sluggish. Furthermore, most junk food contains sugars, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine. These are all foods that have been shown to increase inflammation within the body. Instead, opt for healthier options that will make you feel better. Bring fresh or dried fruit. Create your own trail mix with dark chocolate. Trade regular potato chips for the dried veggie variety. You can even make a big, nutrient-dense smoothie to satisfy you on the first leg of the trip!
Pack a Cooler and an Ice Pack
If you have space in your car, pack a cooler. You’re going to want to have plenty of water. Also, pack some ice packs in that cooler. Ice packs help to reduce inflammation and provide instant relief to sore muscles. If you anticipate experiencing pain or discomfort from sitting too long, use them as necessary to relieve symptoms.
If These Tips Aren’t Enough
These tips will help, but they will not be the cure to your pain and discomfort woes. Proper postural alignment takes time and practice. For further consultation and an adjustment, contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your upcoming travel and alignment needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.