Going on a long flight? Bus ride? Car ride? You may have experienced the unpleasant experience of being crammed in a seat for hours. You get agitated, your muscles begin to ache, and there’s nowhere to hide from the pain.
We came up with these tips to reduce the physical stress on your body that comes with travel. This applies to all situations where you find yourself stuck sitting in one place for hours.
- Pump your ankles.
- Sitting for long periods means that the muscles that are used to pump blood and fluid up your legs aren’t active. This leads to swelling and blood pooling over time. While the swelling isn’t dangerous, blood clots can form a deep vein thrombosis, which can be a dangerous and life threatening condition. So be sure to keep your ankles moving!
- Fully extend your legs out in front of you (if you have the leg room, if not, extend out as much as you can) and move your ankles side to side as well as up and down. This can help with ankle stiffness, swelling and pain.
- Keep hydrated.
- Especially if you’re in an airplane, the cabins have very low humidity and can lead to accelerated dehydration.
- Drink plenty of water the day before your flight as well as during your flight.
- Avoid drinks that tend to dehydrate, such as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, before and during your flight.
- Move as much as you can!
- It’s a bad idea to be sitting for long periods of time in any context. On top of that, you’ll end up in uncomfortable sleeping positions if you decide to doze off.
- This can lead to pain and dysfunction in your hips, back, shoulder and neck, so it’s a good idea to address this by getting up and walking around every 30 minutes if you can.
- Stuck sitting? Try some Pandiculation.
- Pandiculation is basically stationary stretching. You’ve already done it naturally upon waking up when yawning and stretching your body.
- It can be done to every part of your body.
- Reach your hands upward to the sky.
- Extend and stretch your legs.
- Move your neck in every motion. Look side to side, up and down. Bring your ears towards your shoulders side to side.
- Expand your chest while bringing your shoulders back.
- Move your body in all directions where you feel restrictions.
- Do these movements slowly and feel where your tension lies and focus on stretching out those areas. Just be careful not to bump your neighbour.
Movement is medicine, so just remember to do what you can with what you’re given. Happy and healthy travels!
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