Travel Tips from a Physio

Published: 17 Nov 2017

Travel Tips from a Physio

Summer is fast approaching and if you are like me, you are contemplating the end of the year and feeling very much like it is time for a holiday.  Then (like me) you remember, as much fun as travelling is, the actual transportation part can be pretty hard to bear. So, how would a physio do it?  We asked Lara Samuelsson, who recently returned from a very extended trip what she does to stay comfy and healthy while travelling.

Tips for Travelling on a Plane/Bus/Car:

1. Have a small back pack as your hand luggage:

Heavy bags, especially handbags, put a lot of strain through your neck and can cause neck pain and stiffness. Minimise what you carry around. Tighten the straps of the backpack so it sits firmly against your back and is not hanging low.

2. Use the provided pillow for low back support (and bring a neck support pillow)

If sitting in a slumped position for a long time (such as on a long flight, bus trip or car trip), you can get sore. Sitting with the lower back supported so there is a small arch in the lower back ensures the load is even through the spine and the muscles are in a neutral position.

3. Get up, walk and stretch

Prolonged sitting is not good for anyone! Try to get up every 30 minutes to walk around and do some stretches. If you do not have any injuries limiting you, hamstring stretches, back bends, hip flexor stretches are all great to break up the trip and keeps the body moving.

4. Move your body

In your seat do some range of motion exercises such as:

  • Pointing and flexing your ankles
  • Keeping your nose pointed forwards, take your head straight backwards (chin tucks)
  • Hands on your shoulders and circle your elbows
  • Hands across your chest and rotate through your spine

Tips for exploring

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Condition your body for the demands of your holiday:  if you plan on doing a lot of hiking or walking around, make sure that you prepare appropriately and do “training” in the lead up – all too often we see people come into  the clinic after doing too much too soon that they have not prepared for.

2.  Wear appropriate shoes

While it sounds so simple, nothing ruins a holiday like sore feet and blisters. Wearing shoes with adequate arch support will make your day much more comfortable. Shoes such as unstructured runner, thongs or ballet flats do not offer the support your foot requires for long periods on your feet. Finding shoes such as ASICS joggers that provide arch support, prevent excessive pronation and put your ankle into a straight alignment, which is important.  Need some pointers – get in touch 🙂

And walking is wonderful exercise – so don’t let your feet slow you down.

2. Correct lifting of suitcases

Ideally, you would pack lightly, however this is not always possible. It is important to lift your bag off the carousel etc with good technique and care. Stand square on to the suitcase and do not twist from the spine, but turn your body to turn around. Bend from your knees and hips when lifting.

If you have any travel tips that have helped you manage your injury when travelling, feel free to comment below and let us know. Happy travelling!