Caring for Your Joints and Muscles While Traveling
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are around the corner, which means many will be traveling to visit loved ones. While you focus on making your travel plans, packing your bags, and shopping for gifts, don’t forget to take care of your joints and muscles, too.
Traveling – whether on a plane, bus or in a car – can wreak havoc on your musculoskeletal system. The good news is that you have the power to prevent it by following these tips.
Plan a Pre-Trip Chiropractic Visit
It’s never a good idea to begin a trip with problems, as the travel can just compound them. Visit your chiropractor as soon as possible before leaving to ensure your joints and muscles are aligned and in good shape.
Warm Up Before You Go
Travel might not be considered an official sport or workout, but it can help to look at it in such a way. No matter how you travel, take some time to stretch and warm up your muscles beforehand.
Tight clothing can be uncomfortable when traveling. Even worse, it can restrict movement and even put unnecessary pressure on your joints.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
It can be challenging to eat healthy while traveling, especially when your options are airplane snacks and fast food. However, you can ensure that you fill your body with nutrients in the days leading up to your trip. If you’re driving or riding in a vehicle, pack some healthy snacks.
Additionally, it’s critical to stay hydrated for the health of discs, joints, and muscles. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
Heavy luggage can put intense strain on the joints and muscles. Pack as lightly as possible. Consider changing your luggage to one that easily rolls and perhaps doesn’t provide as much space to cram items.
You should also consider packing a few supplies to help support your musculoskeletal health. Neck pillows can be beneficial, as can lumbar support cushions and ice packs for pain.
Posture Is Key
How you sit – no matter where you’re doing the sitting – can either help or hurt your body. Practicing proper posture is critical. If you need to nap or relax, adjust your seat – not your body.
Keep your feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs or curling up in your seat can lead to neck and back pain, as well as impede blood flow to muscles and joints.
If you’re in the driver’s seat, take the time to adjust the seat so that you can comfortably and easily reach the pedals as well as see over the steering wheel. Adjust your mirrors so that you don’t have to strain to see surrounding traffic and the steering wheel so that you don’t need to lean or hold your shoulders up. Lastly, use cruise control when possible to keep strain off your legs.
Keep It Moving
Sitting for too long can do a number on your spine, muscles, joints, neck, and every other musculoskeletal component. It’s important that you move as much as possible.
If you’re traveling on the road, stop about every ninety minutes to walk around, stretch, and get your blood pumping. If you’re flying or riding a train or bus, still try to get out of your seat every ninety minutes even if you can’t do a full stretch.
Schedule a Post-Trip Visit
While these tips can go a long way in caring for your joints and muscles, you might face some additional issues. For example, hotel and guest beds aren’t always the most supportive. Picking up grandchildren or nieces and nephews as well as playing backyard football can lead to strains and injuries. A chiropractic visit at the end of your trip can help undo any damage you were unable to prevent.