No matter how you travel watch your posture.
It doesn’t matter how you travel train, plane or car remember to watch your posture. When we break our normal routine and venture on holiday, we can become injured causing ourselves unnecessary discomfort and distress in the form of back and muscle aches and pain. Here are just a few top holiday tips to help you avoid some of the pitfalls.
Preparation is key.
Suitcases – Buying the lightest case possible with wheels is a must.
Hard cases tend to weigh a lot before you start to fill them. If possible, take two light suitcases rather than one heavy one. This will allow you to distribute the weight more evenly. Also if you are travelling as a family mix your clothes amongst each other’s cases so if one case ends up on holiday elsewhere you are not left high and dry with no clean clothes.
Rest – Travelling when tired increases your chances of injury. Make sure you sleep well the night before your journey and avoid rushing around.
Adjust your seat – Many back problems are caused or aggravated by extended periods in poor driving postures. Ensure the seat position is slightly backwards so that it feels natural and that your elbows are at a comfortable and relaxed angle. Make sure you are sat level in the seat and central to the steering wheel.
Relax – Relaxing at the wheel reduces stress on the spine and allows your chair to take your weight. Less tension in your body will also prevent you from becoming tired quickly.
Watch the clock – Stop and stretch your legs (and arms!) at least every two hours. The guidelines are 20 minutes for every 2 hours travelling and this doesn’t mean swap your car seat for a café seat, get out and walk around, take some deep breathes and stretch out.
Clench! – Exercise in your seat. Buttock clenches are easy to do, one side then the other and then both together. Why not also try side bends and shoulder shrugs and circles when you are stuck in traffic.
However you travel – Keep it loose – Don’t wear tight clothing as they will restrict your movement.
Stay Hydrated – Avoid alcohol before and during the flight as this will cause you to dehydrate and, in turn, exaggerate muscle pain. Drink plenty of water instead before and during your flight to stay hydrated.
Move it – Exercise – Being restricted to your seat for most of the flight can lead to stiffness, avoid this by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles. Take opportunities as they arise to get up and stretch your legs whenever you can.
Avoid ‘travelators’ –
Get your joints moving quickly after a flight and walk to arrivals rather than taking the easy option of a moving walkway. If you are in a rush to catch a connection by all means use them but walk them don’t just stand.
Baggage collection – Ensure your bags are easily identifiable (e.g. knot a bright ribbon around the handle) to avoid lifting other people’s heavy cases in error. We have been doing this for many years and it works, especially if you have children who can then join in the game of spot the case.
Push me pull you! – Many wheeled cases encourage you to pull the case handle from behind, but this makes the upper body and back twist. If possible, push the case in front of you or use a trolley making sure you choose one from the stack which does not have ‘wonky wheels’, as keeping it on track will not do your back any good and may be the cause of problems!
At Your Destination.
Check out your bed – When you arrive at your destination, if your bed is too hard ask the hotel staff for a spare duvet or blanket to put between you and the mattress. Firm beds are
not always best. It is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder.
Lounging around – When heading to the sun loungers in search of the perfect tan,
try not to lie on your tummy arching your back and neck when reading your book or magazine. Place the reading matter on the floor and view it over the edge of the sun bed, this should allow you to keep your head and neck in a more neutral position.
Exercise in safety – If you intend to exercise on your holiday don’t go mad. Get hotel gym staff to give you an apparatus induction, don’t spend hours in the hot sun without a hat and plenty to drink. Remember you will sweat more anyway in the heat and exercise will just dehydrate you that much more quickly.
Remember to have a great time and come home in one piece.