Retirement gives you a chance to increase your travel time. Whether your travel takes you across the States to see family or on longer trips abroad, your health and wellness is important. Often, all that travel can leave us with neck pain, back pain, or even achy hips and knees. What can we do to combat the travel woes? Here are some easy tips to prevent aches and pains from long journeys:
Back and Neck Support is Helpful: You can buy lightweight portable lumbar and cervical spine supports that promote and maintain good posture. Falling asleep with your head crooked to the side can pinch a nerve or change the alignment of your spine resulting in aches and pains or even restless sleep. Back and neck pain can also flare up if you try to carry too much. You will enjoy your adventure or family visits even more if you check a bag versus carry on. The cost of your health and wellness should outweigh the cost of a checked bag when you realize you can move easier with less pain than trying to stuff a heavy carry on under your seat or worse yet—overhead!
Move Around More: Our bodies were designed for movement. When you are sitting in a plane seat and your knees or hips get achy—get up (if safe to do so) and walk to the back of the plane. I would recommend getting up to move and promote circulation every hour for about 3-5 minutes. If you are driving long distances, stop, get out, and walk around, break up long journeys with frequent stops. Movement uses our muscles to pump blood and nutrients threw the body, the achy feeling is often a signal from your body that it wants to move!
Comfy Shoes and Ankle Pumps: If you foresee a long day on your feet, whether it’s taking in the sights or just getting to and from your travel accommodations, you need to have supportive shoes that allow extra room for swelling in the feet or ankles. When you spend more time on your feet you have less time to put your legs up and you have probably noticed more swelling in your feet and ankles. A simple exercise I teach patients is called ‘ankle pumps’ picture your foot pushing down on the gas pedal, now let up and draw your toes up and away from the floor. Pump both feet up and down about 10 times every hour when you are upright and cannot elevate your feet (motion is only at the ankles).
If you have special needs be sure your accommodations are right for you, including the access and assistance you need. Call ahead or email a hotel/travel representative to confirm you have what you need. Enjoy your travel and don’t forget to take care of your body along that way.