Rate Us!

Prevent Travel Aches & Pains: Stay Healthy on Your Next Vacation

Table of Contents

Tips for Staying Healthy on Your Next Vacation

You have been planning your summer vacation or holiday getaway for months. Most likely, you are looking forward to many things during your time away, especially relaxation. Relaxing is good for you, promoting a healthier heart, lowering your blood pressure, boosting your immune system, and improving your mental health. However, we also know that traveling can be counterproductive to relaxation.

While some aspects of travel stress, like flight delays and traffic jams, are outside your control, there are actions you can take before, during, and after your vacation to minimize potential pain and other travel-related discomfort.

july 2024 7

Travel Healthy Tips for Your Vacation

Spending hours in a car, plane, train or bus can cause your muscles and joints to become stiff and sore. Prolonged sitting, heavy luggage, standing in lines, uncomfortable and unfamiliar beds, new environments, and more can increase your mental and physical distress. However, with some planning and proactive steps, you can hopefully avoid pain during and after your vacation.

Plan Your Flights Ahead of Time

This does not just mean booking your flights but thinking about your needs and how your body feels after long flights. Do you often experience back pain after a flight? Consider avoiding that non-stop flight and opting for one or two layovers. Yes, it could take longer to reach your destination, but layovers are an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs by walking around the airport. If you cannot book multiple flights, you may want to reserve an aisle or an emergency exit seat. These seats often give you extra room to stand and stretch throughout your flight.

Plan to Share the Driving

If you are traveling by car with other drivers, plan on rotating who drives. This will give each driver time to rest and recover so everyone can arrive ready for a fun vacation.

Breaks are Your Friend

No matter the vehicle or how long you travel, your body is not designed to spend hours in one position, including sitting. Staying in one position for too long puts stress on your joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, which can lead to pain the first few days of your getaway or result in major issues after you return home. It’s generally recommended that you take breaks every two hours. In a car, this means stopping and getting out for stretch breaks. For all other modes of transportation, utilize the aisles to keep your body limber by walking up and down while remaining courteous of other passengers.

Stretch Before, During & After

Stretching throughout your trip helps your body stay loose and limber, relax your muscles, work out any kinks, and promote good blood flow. Focus on your known problem areas when stretching, like your back, neck, and/or legs. If you are unable to stand up and stretch, there are a few seated stretches you can do every couple of hours if you have the space:

  • Roll shoulders back and forth
  • Move your neck from side to side
  • Lift your legs while flexing and pointing your toes
  • Rotate your ankles in small circles
  • Raise your arms above your head and vertically punch the air

Yes, Good Posture Really Matters

If you do not have good posture while traveling, you will almost certainly have some form of back or neck pain once you reach your destination. While seated, do your best to sit up straight with both feet firmly on the floor. Before sitting down, empty your back pockets to lessen the impact on your hips and spine. If you are driving, GEICO has some helpful tips on healthy posture, from adjusting your seat to your position at the steering wheel.

Be Smart with Heavy Luggage

It’s easy to overpack, and it can definitely help manage your concerns about forgetting something. But if your luggage is too heavy, it can also strain your back. After you pack your suitcase, be sure to test the weight, and if you are struggling to lift it, you may want to reevaluate what you are bringing. Before your trip, consider investing in a mobile suitcase with wheels to help you with the load. When you go to lift your luggage, remember to bend your knees and use your legs to push up, not your back. If you are putting your carry-on into an overhead bin, place it on the seat first and then lift it instead of making one continuous movement from the ground to over your head. You can also ask the flight attendant for assistance.

Use the Amenities!

If your destination includes a pool and jacuzzi area, fitness center, or spa, use them! A massage and other spa amenities can help you relax, including tense muscles after travel. While a break from the gym may sound ideal, working out is also a great way to get your blood pumping while reducing stress. Taking advantage of the pool or hot tub can help ease body pain with the buoyancy of the water, which lessens the pressure on your joints.

Stay Hydrated

Speaking of water, every member of your traveling party should keep a reusable water bottle handy and refill it whenever possible. No matter where you are traveling, drinking water can help prevent muscle spasms, stiffness, and other body aches while helping with digestion and maintaining healthy oxygen levels. Also, avoid drinking juices, soft drinks, and alcohol while traveling.

july 2024 6

Family Integrative Medicine Can Help You Get Ready for Vacation

If you have a history of experiencing back, neck, or other body pain during or after traveling, visiting a licensed chiropractor or massage therapist could help you prevent aches and issues that can disrupt a fun getaway, especially if you have a chronic condition.

The medical professionals at Family Integrative Medicine can help you prepare for a long trip with a customized pre-travel plan before you leave and a post-travel plan when you return, with strategies for maintaining your well-being throughout your journey. Our expert advice may include tailored stretching routines, techniques to correct and maintain good posture, and personalized wellness plans to address your specific needs. By addressing potential pain points and recommendations for travel support, you can have the tools and knowledge to fully enjoy your vacation, making your next trip a healthy one!

More Posts

Table of Contents