7 PT-Approved Travel Tips

by Maeve Talbot, PT, DPT, BFA2 Comments

When gearing up for traveling – either by plane or car – it’s important that your journey doesn’t wipe you out before your rest and relaxation begins. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when traveling that can help you keep your joints and muscles happy:

1. Get up and move around!

Depending on your means of travel, you might be limited in your ability to get up and move around, which is the number one suggestion to keep from feeling too cramped or stiff. If you’re able to, get up and go for a short walk every hour or so. This will help with circulation.

2. Keep your blood moving.

If you’re not able to stand up, raise your heels up (on the balls of your feet) to help with circulation for your lower legs. Activating the calf muscles can help pump blood and fluids toward your heart to help prevent ankle swelling.

3. Stay well hydrated.

This will help your muscles from cramping. Use your bathroom breaks as a time to stretch your legs a bit!

4. Try the shoulder blade squeeze.

When traveling, whether by trains, planes, or automobiles, our posture tends to round forward. This can put unnecessary strain on our necks, shoulders, and can contribute to headaches. Intermittently squeezing your shoulder blades back and down can help correct this posture and act as a small chest stretch.

5. Maintain neutral neck alignment.

If riding as a passenger, neck pillows are a good option to help maintain neutral neck alignment. Performing neck stretches can also help for those longer trips. By gently dropping your ear toward your shoulder, you can feel a gentle stretch along the opposite side. Hold this stretch for 3-4 deep breaths and perform on the other side. Repeat 2-3 times each side to help release the tension from those often tight muscles.

6. Stretch your hamstrings.

When traveling our hips and hamstrings tend to get tight from being in the same position for prolonged times. While sitting, scoot to the edge of your seat. Extend one leg straight so your heel is on the ground and your toes are pointing to the ceiling. You should feel a gentle stretch along the back of your legs, if not, gently lean your chest forward. Take 3-4 deep breaths in this stretch and perform 2-3 repetitions on each side.

7. Stretch your calves and hips.

Once you’re able to get up, small standing lunges can be used to stretch the calves and front of your hips. Make sure your back foot is pointing forward and that heel is deeply rooted on the floor to feel a good stretch in your calf. These can be performed in a static manner as the other stretches suggested, or in a slow walking manner.

By incorporating these tips into your travel plans you should be able to enjoy the journey as much as the destination! Should unusual pain or discomfort occur during or after your travels, make sure to schedule a free assessment to be seen by our experts at one of our clinics or virtually through a secure online video chat.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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