It’s the holiday season. Yes, it’s January, but plenty of people are still on vacation, currently making me jealous. However, with vacation, comes travel (usually). You gotta get from A to B to enjoy family or fun locations. That typically includes flying (as the most common), car, train, and/or bus. And usually, these take between 2-6 hours (domestically). Could even be more if you’re going out of country. That is a lot of sitting, laying, being crunched up in a seat that’s too small for you. I want to offer a few tricks to stay loose during travel, so you don’t exit the airplane or car swearing with uneven legs. So try these tips next time you fly, drive, or commit yourself to some type of travel:
1. Drink water. Now I’m guilty about this one. Usually, I take a window seat on the air plane–half for viewing pleasure, half for sleeping pleasure–and I try to avoid drinking water so I don’t have to ask everyone next to me to get up so I can go pee. Don’t follow my example. Get a cup of water (not Coke, not Vodka) every time the steward(ess) offers and even haggle them for more. This is going to keep your body flowing and running, rather than get cramped up and dry as would be normal in an airplane seat.
3. While you’re up… You got up. Congrats! Now once you’ve taken that lap or two down the very narrow aisle, stay up. Find a place where you won’t be bowled over–say, pretend you’re waiting for the bathroom. Now take a big stretch up, reach your arms high, and then swoop down to stretch to touch your toes–a hamstring stretch. Really reach down and enjoy this stretch. If you can, spread your legs out a little bit and reach to each side. This is really going to engage a large part of your legs, making you feel more refreshed and vitalized. Go ahead and throw a quadriceps stretch in there, and pull your ankle back to your hamstring.
4. Don’t forget your arms! Since you’re up and you stretched out your legs, you might as well give your arms some love too. This is all to wake up the blood flow and keep your body from stiffening up too much. Grab your elbow and pull it across your body, giving the shoulders and arm a good stretch. Don’t forget the other side. Now pull your elbow up and back, focusing primarily on the triceps, but will get your shoulders too.
5. Stretches while seated. So you stood up and got some good stretches in, or maybe you didn’t have the chance at all (because you’re in a car)–here’s where seated loosening comes in. Sit up straight and place your hand on the side of the head and pull it gently towards the shoulder, giving your neck a beautiful stretch. Go the other way. Now bow your head, then rotate it back and look at the top of the plane. Do this several times. Now, without bothering your seat buddies, roll the shoulders back and forward–do this for at least 20 seconds.
6. Keep your shoes off! You may feel embarrassed about this, but a great way to stay loose and comfortable is to take those pesky shoes off. It will allow your feet to breathe and be flexible. It will also allow you to do foot exercises: (1) scrunch your toes up as if you are picking up marbles and (2) bend your foot left and right.
Those are just a few tips and tricks to save you during travel times. I would say do this set of stretches and instructions once every three hours in order to preserve freshness! Happy travelling!