Traveling

Traveling by car:

*  Make sure your car seat is adjusted to the point that it allows you to sit comfortably and firmly against the seat back without having to lean forward or stretch.  Engage your seat and shoulder belts and ensure that your headrest supports the center of the back of the head.

*  If you are the driver, adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible.  Make sure that your knees are slightly bent and that they are also higher than your hips.  Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh (close to your knee) - if you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need to readjust your seat.

*  Foam back supports or pillows designed especially for driving can help minimize fatigue and strain on your low back.  Make sure that the widest part of the support is between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.

*  Exercise your legs while driving by opening your toes as wide as you can and counting to ten.  Half way through this count you can tighten your calf, thigh and gluteal muscles (in that order) and then relax.  Also, take time periodically to roll your shoulders forward and back.  Make  sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road at all times.

*  Take frequent breaks on long trips.  When you stop for gas, a restroom break or for food, get out of your car and walk around to give your body a much needed break.

 

Travelling by plane/air:

*  Before embarking on your trip, try to do a quick warm up by taking a brisk walk or doing some simple stretching exercises in the airport.  Rotate your torso, roll your shoulders back and forth, stretch your arms way up high and then out to your sides, and even lay on  your back on the floor and do some knee-to-chest stretches.

*  As a rule, make sure you check all bags/luggage that are too heavy or awkward for you to handle carrying on the plane and stowing into the overhead bin.

*  Do not overload your carry-on baggage as you do not want to strain your muscles while trying to manuever it.  Ask for assistance if you need it.

*  Use suitcases with wheels and sturdy handles. Carrying heavy items is a surefire way to strain your muscles.

*  Vary your position occassionally while seated on the plane.  This helps to improve your circulation and to avoid leg cramps.  Occassionally exercise your legs and hips by moving your legs up toward your body and then lowering them to the floor.  Also, try propping your legs up on a thick book or on a small bag on the floor - this will allow your legs to rest while being raised up slightly off the seat.

*  Avoid sitting direcly under the air vents (reposition the air flow if possible).  The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.

*  When stowing something under the seat in front of you, use your feet to gently guide the object.  Avoid bending over or crouching.

*  When you are seated, use supports such as a rolled up pillow, blanket or sweatshirt in order to maintain the natural curve in your low back.  Do this by tucking the rolled up item behind your back, just above your beltline.  Also, try to lay another pillow or rolled up blanket behind the curve in your neck in order to fill in the gap between your neck/shoulders and the headrest of the seat.