When traveling, most people spend a lot of their time sitting down. Doing so can be rough on your body, which has evolved over millions of years to primarily specialize in walking and standing. Muscles from your hips to your chest can tighten, and you may become intimately acquainted with some form of back pain. Thus, it’s usually worth taking the time to do some stretching on a long travel day. Try the following exercises to stay limber and feel good, even on long trips.
– A pectoral stretch. The pectoral muscles, which are located in your chest, can tighten up during travel and force you into a slumped position. In order to stretch your muscles, place your arm in an L shape on some kind of support, then turn your head away and lean your shoulder down until you feel the stretch across your chest. Repeat this on each side of your body.
– A hip-and-quadriceps lunge stretch. When you sit for a long period of time, the muscles in your hips become flexed and compressed. Stretch them by getting down on one knee, keeping your front leg at a 90-degree angle and your front heel on the ground. In order to intensify the stretch, raise your arm on the side of the hip being stretched.
– A mid-spine stretch. The middle of your spine, which is called the thoracic spine, should have a lot of mobility. However, when you sit for a long time, it begins to lose its flexibility. You can stretch the thoracic spine by sitting down and squeezing something like a pillow between your legs. Put your hands on your head, then rotate to one side and bend toward your hip on that side three times. Repeat this three times on both sides.
Finding time to do these stretches on a long trip can require some planning. When traveling by car, try to stretch every time you stop. When traveling by plane, use your layovers to do stretches that take a lot of space. You can also try to stretch in your seat or in an aisle while you’re in the air.