I’ve actually always had a fear of travelling. It’s not quite a phobia, but it did prevent me from voluntarily getting on a plane and flying somewhere unknown (to me). But certain turns and twists in my life has forced me to get on a plane at least 8 times a year (oh God!). Sometimes, sitting in the airport, waiting to board, I just *NEED* to stretch or move a bit. During those long 6+ flights, these can be a real lifesaver during your bathroom break. Forget complicated yoga postures, keep it simple, get ‘er done!
Strange looks? Maybe but I’m willing to bet more people are wishing that they stretched more consistently, or had the time to, or knew how to or…Actually, when I was on the flight to Europe, there was always someone, stretching something, and where the bathrooms were, I would find a couple people stretching or doing squats to wake their legs up. It was GREAT! So don’t be shy, maybe you’ll help inspire someone else to join you!
Whether you’re sitting at your desk at work or sitting on a long plane ride, consider getting up every 30-45 minutes for a short stretch, and move around to bring circulation to your limbs. Our bodies are very efficient – blood shunting occurs when the brain realizes that you currently don’t need as much blood to areas not in use. This causes that sluggish feeling in the mid-afternoon and can actually be detrimental to your extremities.
Stretching not only helps with blood circulation, but it also increases flexibility, relaxes tense muscles, increases balance and coordination and can even alleviate lower back pain. Each stretch doesn’t take very long, and since a work day or a travel day usually involves an hour or more, you are able to spread the stretches into several intervals. This way, you don’t leave your seat for more than 10 minutes at a time and you’ll feel more energized and alert throughout your day.
Each stretch doesn’t need to be held for a very long time. Do each stretch 2-3 times and hold it for 25-30 seconds and you’ll be able to feel the benefits of stretching in no time. Sometimes counting your breaths (five to six) can be an easier way to “count time.”
Here are some simple stretches you can do at your office, a plane (maybe while waiting to use the bathroom) or even in line at the bank.
Download these Travel stretches in this handy dandy chart!
- Start with your head in a comfortable aligned position. Slowly tilt the head to the left to stretch the muscles on the side.
- Gently hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.
- Repeat opposite side.
- Perform stretches 2-3 times each side.
- Stand with your arm propped up against a wall, elbow slightly lower than your shoulders.
- Step forward to stretch your chest 30 – 40 seconds.
- Switch arms and repeat a few times a day
- Stand close to something solid to hold on to for balance.
- Bend your left knee and bring your left heel towards your glutes.
- Gently squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward.
- Hold for 30 – 45 seconds.
- Perform stretches 1-2 times each side.