Traveling is fun, but it can also be very taxing. Hours spent sitting in a plane, bus, or car can cause a lot of strain on your muscles, especially your back, neck, shoulders, and even the legs.
Most of the time, travelers also cannot control the conditions in which they travel. Extended waiting hours, standing in line, heavy bags, and odd angles—a lot of things can result in sore muscles even before your vacation can get started.
There are several types of pain that you’ll encounter on a trip, including cramps, knots, and spasms. These are pretty common and can never be completely avoided. It’s also not advisable to take pain relievers just to get rid of these aches, unless there’s a real medical need for pain medication.
Luckily, there are several ways to relax your muscles wherever you go. Not only are they simple to do, but they’ll make all the difference in how your travel experience can go:
1. Prepare Your Body
Before any trip, it’s not just your luggage that you need to get ready. The APPS Chiropractic and Wellness Center shares tips on what you can do to help your body be at its best condition. Make sure you get enough rest to help you stay alert without drinking too much caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, which will cause your body to expel urine.
This means your body tends to be dehydrating without you even noticing it. In the same manner, make sure you get enough water to keep you hydrated. While other beverages may temporarily quench a thirst, increased sugar also tends to eat up unnecessary energy. Proper nutrition is also important to help your body cope with the rigorous travel a lot better.
2. Move as Much as You Can
Traveling on long-haul flights or overnight bus trips can severely limit your movement. While you won’t get any push-ups in, you can do stretching exercises in your seat. You will also feel a lot of stress from sitting too long, especially if you’ve been hunched in your seat trying to get some sleep.
There are several stretches to relieve neck and back strain that will be easy to do even in cramped spaces. As a bonus, these can also be done to give your muscles a break after long hours of work in front of the computer.
3. Bring a Handy Massage Gun
Massage guns have gained popularity in the last few years as a way to relieve aching muscles without having to go to a spa or therapist. With the invention of battery-powered massage guns, they can now be travel-friendly solutions to aching muscles on a plane or train.
The Hypervolt or Theragun are two of the most popular massage guns in the market right now. Both are powered by rechargeable batteries and come with different attachments to address different types of pains in any part of your body.
4. Get the Load Off Your Back
The less you bring, the less strain you’ll put on your back. For budget travelers, this might be a challenge as you’ll try to pack as much as you can in a carry-on backpack.
If you cannot check-in your luggage or you can’t avoid packing heavier items, opt for wheeled luggage. They may not be as stowable as backpacks, but your body will thank you after years of not having to carry all the weight on your shoulders.
5. Get Comfortable and in the Right Position
Much of the body’s aches and pains come from the wrong position or posture. When traveling, try to get as much space as you can by stowing your luggage on the overhead bin or in luggage racks. When sitting, the most natural position for many travelers is to cross their legs, but this doesn’t do the body any good. It twists the spine, cuts blood flow to the legs, and creates muscle imbalance.
Tucking your legs under you also shortens the muscles in the hip area and makes you very stiff when you unfold. As much as possible, sit up straight, shoulders back, legs down and relaxed, and move around every hour to get your blood flowing.