Stretches and Exercises while Traveling

Here at VSWI we're all excited for the imminent turkey, pumpkin pies, and time with family and friends. With it, however, we generally find ourselves dealing with long travel days -- either involving being cooped up in a car or stuck on an airplane for hours at a time. Before the feast begins you may find yourself tired, sore, tight and in dire need of some bodywork. This year, we urge you to be proactive, so we've put together a few tips we think will help you arrive to the table poised and ready to indulge... 

Before you begin your drive, bring your seat close to the steering wheel in order to minimize how far you have to reach for it. If you are traveling for long periods of time, make sure you make slight, but frequent adjustments in your seat’s position and your body's posture. If you keep your spine in one position for a long period of time, it can cause pain.

Blood Circulation Exercises:

1. Contract your abs by pulling the belly button towards the spine without holding your breath. Hold for two seconds, release and repeat 10 times.

2. Place a pillow or towel between the knees and squeeze. Hold for two seconds, then release slightly. Repeat 15 times.

3. Hold a pillow between hands at chest level (or just press palms together) and squeeze for two seconds, release and repeat 15 reps.

4. Place palms on the ceiling of the car or airplane, shoulder-width apart. Press into the roof for two seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times.

En-route Stretches

(While car is moving or when the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is lit)

1. Neck Rolls
Sit up tall and place your hands on your knees. Nod your chin down, then roll your head to the right, then back and to the left until you’ve completed a full circle. Do 8 to 10 neck rolls in each direction.

2. Upper Trap Stretch
In your seat, place the back of your right hand on the small of your back. Then, turn your head to the left, and look down.  You will feel a deep stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do up to three to five reps on each side.

3. Seated Cat-Cow
Begin in a tall seated position with your hands on your knees. Bring your upper body towards your lap, rounding your back, shoulders, and neck and hold for one to three seconds. Then lift your chest and your neck, arch your back and hold.  Repeat this 8 to 10 times.

4. Quad Pulses
In your seat, hold your mid-thigh so that your thumbs are against your inner leg. Squeeze your legs so that you can feel them press against your hands, hold for three to five seconds and then release. Repeat this 8 to 10 times.

Intermittent Exercises

(Stopped for lunch or fuel or during a layover)

1. Reach your arms above your head toward the sky without lifting your heels. Hold for 20 seconds and release. Repeat as necessary.

2. Take a five minute walk around the area to stretch out the leg muscles and get your blood circulating throughout your body.

3. To stretch your neck, gently bend your head backward so that your eyes are looking upward. Stop when you feel the stretch and hold for 20 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat five times

4. To relieve and stretch out the shoulders, clasp your hands behind your lower back, keeping an upright posture. Lift your clasped hands out and away from the body and stop when you start to feel a little discomfort. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and then release.

5. Stand up and slowly lift your heels off the floor for a three count, and then slowly lower them back down. Repeat this 10 times.

6. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Press your hips forward, to the right, then back, and complete a circle. Do 8 to 10 circles in each direction. If there isn’t enough space to do this at your seat, try in when waiting in the bathroom line.

Once you arrive, it’s a good idea to do some light stretches for the hips and the back.

We hope these stretches and exercises help ease your travels and allow you to enjoy your special day in comfort. As always, we'd love to see you once you return.

May you enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving. We're grateful for you.

Yours in health,
The Team at VSWI