Traveling for the Holidays? Read this.
An estimated 103 million Americans will be traveling during this holiday season.
Now traveling for the holidays puts your body in isolated positions for a long time.
Your body isn’t used to being still for so long.
You see your body likes movement.
Your body needs to have the right balance of movement too—not too little and not too much.
Rides in the car or on a plane both have one thing in common... You’re sitting.
And yes you’re already sitting when you’re at work, but at least you can get up whenever you want to. Car and planes rides have you much more limited.
Your close friends and family will be really happy to see you back home for the holidays, but your body won’t appreciate the journey.
Your body loves movement to keep your joints mobile, your muscles fresh, and your nervous system stimulated. This is why exercise works so well for our body.
So whether you’re driving for hours, watching your favorite movie on a flight, or riding passenger while someone else drives, here are some tips for keep your body fresh on your journey.
1. Get the aisle seat
If you can pick your seat, then definitely pick the aisle seat. You’ll get the freedom to get up anytime you want.
You’ll get out of the sitting position to stand, stretch out, and even walk some steps up and down the aisle.
If the airlines knew the sneaky hidden health value of the aisle seat, they would charge a premium for these seats! Grab the aisle seat now.
2. Pump those ankles
Okay, so you’re stuck sitting for hours.
One of the best things you can do is pump your ankles up and down throughout your trip.
Not only will you keep your ankle joints fresh, but you’ll increase blood flow through your legs. You’ll also get your sciatic nerve mobile through your leg and low back too. (The sciatic nerve is long and travels from your lumbar spine to the bottom of your foot!)
Pump your ankles throughout your trip.
3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together
I already recommend this tip to most of my clients who work at a desk all day.
This simple move can keep your upper back from slouching forward. This exercise will also keep your upper back muscles refreshed too.
At your seat, pinch your shoulder blades together as you sit up nice and tall.
4. Squeeze your butt together
So... I mean this in the most professional way possible.
I love butts. (edit from The Fit Atlanta: we do, too)
Being more technical, I love the gluteus maximus. It’s a huge muscle responsible for a lot of the active motions that we do with workouts.
Jumping, running, and cutting all need the gluteus maximus to perform.
Too bad our glutes have to sit for hours.
And too bad we can’t get some squats and lunges going on our journey.
(or could we? leg workout at gate 11, see you there!)
Our next best alternative?
Squeezing your butt together while you sit can keep the nervous system stimulated for glute activation. It can also increase blood flow to those muscles on your trip.
And yes, the exercise is as simple as it sounds. Squeeze your butt together and release.
5. Squeeze your fist
Squeezing your fist is the arm equivalent to ankle pumps.
Light squeezing of your fists gets the blood flow moving and muscles active through your arm. You are already using your hands to hold up your smartphone or tablet as you watch a movie, so why not give your hands a break?
Try these exercises to keep your muscles and joints fresh on your next holiday journey.
Your body needs to move, so get your body moving on your travels!
About the Author
Dr. Balmes is a sports physical therapist. He’s passionate to see all active individuals and athletes enjoy and play their sport.
Dr. Balmes launched ENDVR Health, a premium experience unmatched in the rehab industry today.
Like an elite athlete, Dr. Balmes has a competitor mindset, and so he aggressively worked to be the best in his field.
He completed an orthopaedic physical therapy residency and sports fellowship immediately after physical therapy school.
Dr. Balmes is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports and Orthopaedics Physical Therapy with the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities and Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.