Tips For Traveling

Traveling can cause extraordinary amounts of stress and fatigue, both physically and mentally. Often we stack the deck against ourselves by beginning our trip with depleted reserves of sleep and mental or emotional energy. We may reach our destination feeling stiff, sluggish or just plain exhausted. Valuable vacation and family time is spent on initial “recovery” from so-called jet lag or travel fatigue. Plenty of factors come into play that significantly contribute to travel fatigue, most of these we can prevent or change.
Let’s start pre-travel. Reduce your stress, get enough sleep and make good nutrition a priority (that includes getting plenty of water!). Schedule and run errands, and pack well in advance. Be organized and minimize what you’re carrying-on.
During traveling you are less able to move around, which decreases metabolism. This can make you feel sluggish, stiff and tight. Additionally, the energy overload from high stress/excitement can translate into increased muscle tension. Generally, you eat differently when traveling than at home, including not having as much water to drink. Airline food (if they serve you any!) is of questionable nutrition, and the ups and downs of caffeine and sugar intake contribute to system imbalances. Add that to indigestion, irregularity and the discomfort that comes from eating foods that the system is unaccustomed to, plus recirculated air in flight and you may feel headachy and sleepy too. All these factors can contribute to a sense of illness, achiness, and fatigue.
But wait, all is not lost. There are ways to combat travel stress and fatigue!
• Carry a water bottle with you, and refill at every opportunity. Drink plenty to keep your system “flushed”
• Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, or sugar
• Bring nutritious snacks (such as apples, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, pretzels, bagels, sliced veggies)
• Eat small portions of healthy foods frequently, and avoid large or heavy meals
Movement is the most important weapon we have to combat travel fatigue, avoid digestive problems, and prevent muscle pain and joint stiffness. Movement will increase oxygen uptake and prevent system “sluggishness.” We recommend you perform discreet sitting and standing exercise every hour or two throughout your journey, and walk around every chance you get, either with brief walks in the airport, or at rest-stops during car travel. While standing, tighten abdominal muscles to facilitate neutral low back posture, shifting weight and posture often. While sitting, avoid poor reading posture, and use a lumbar roll to facilitate neutral postural support.
Here are some additional exercises you can perform:
Sitting exercises Standing exercises
• Fanny squeezes   • Toe raises (lift heels)
• Knee raises/ marching   • Gentle knee bends
• Toe tapping/toe raises   • Leg out to side or back
• Arms overhead   • Fanny squeezes
• Forward bend in sitting   • Gentle side to side trunk bend
• Shoulder rolls, gentle neck and head movement   • Gentle backward bend (Careful!)