Holiday travel can
be tough on your body. Whether
driving a few hours to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner, or flying
cross-country for a week-long holiday excursion, you can hardly make the most of
your time if the trip leaves you tired, stressed, stiff and sore.
“Long periods of sitting can take a toll on
your body,” says Dr. Scott Donkin, a chiropractor, ergonomics expert and
author of the book, Sitting on the Job.
“Research shows that sitting in place for prolonged periods of time can
decrease blood circulation, stiffen muscles, induce fatigue and, in rare cases,
cause blood clots that can lead to life-threatening conditions, like deep vein
The American Chiropractic Association
recommends the following in-flight exercises to help travelers avoid muscle
tension and stiffness:
Start with both heels on the floor and point
your feet upward as high as you can. Return
both feet flat on the floor. Then, lift your heels high, keeping balls of feet
on the floor. Repeat the three
stages in a continuous motion and in 30-second intervals.
Lift one foot off the floor. Draw a circle with
your toes 10 times in a clockwise rotation, then 10 times counter-clockwise.
Relax. Repeat with the other foot.
While in a seated position –with your back
straight and feet flat on the floor –lift the right foot a few inches off the
floor while keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees. Alternate legs. Repeat
20 to 30 times for each leg.
Gently roll your shoulders forward, up, back
and down. Repeat in the reverse direction. Repeat several times.
With your shoulders relaxed, drop one ear to
your shoulder and gently roll your neck forward and back, holding each position
about five seconds. Repeat five
In addition, keep your blood flowing by walking
up and down the aisle periodically, when permitted by aircraft personnel; keep
your legs uncrossed; wear comfortable clothing; and drink plenty of water.
“Because travel can completely change your
regular routine, it can be very tough on your body and stressful, too.
See your chiropractor to help assure healthy travel,” says Dr. Donkin.
“He or she is trained to diagnose and relieve problems of the spine and