We hope all of you are having an amazing summer so far! If you're like us and so many of our patients, you may not have been able to take your vacations as planned last year and are greatly looking forward to spending time away with friends and family. Whether you are taking a road trip to the beach or flying for a once in a lifetime trip to the Bahamas, you will want to enjoy every second of it free from aches and pains.
Usually around this time of year, I spend a lot of time helping my patients prepare for their vacations and want to share my best tips with you too!
1. Take frequent rest breaks. Whether you are taking a road trip or flying across the country, we tend to spend a lot of the trip sitting. This can cause havoc on our backs and legs, resulting in aches and pains before you even make it to your destination. If you are driving, be sure to stop and stretch your legs every 1-2 hours. This will help give your back a break as well as to improve circulation in your legs. If you are flying, get out of your seat every hour, stand up and walk the aisle a bit.
2. Make adjustments to your seat. This is one of my favorite tips and is helpful for both road trips and flying. Car seats are the worst for back pain (especially if you have any disc problems). Make sure your chair is upright and has good lumbar support. If your car seat doesn’t allow for the lumbar support to be adjusted, pack a small towel or pillow to place behind your back. Airplane seats aren’t much better. My favorite hack is to pack a sweatshirt in my carry on. I will typically wear it when I’m cold during my layover and then fold it and place it behind my back for lumbar support during the flight.
3. Pack light. I can’t tell you how many times I have patients come back from vacation and tell me they re-injured themselves carrying their luggage. Even if you are checking your bags, someone is still going to have to lift that bag in and out of the car. Be sure to not overload it and ask for help if needed.
4. Be mindful of how active you are going to be on your trip. Vacations are wonderful but they are often a far cry from your typical routine. Some vacations can be much more active - such as a family trip to Disney World. Some are less active - like lounging on the beach. Either way, take your current activity level into consideration. If you are more active while on vacation, make sure to pace yourself and take more rest breaks throughout the day. If you are finding yourself sitting more, make time to take a walk and enjoy the new scenery.
5. Prepare your body ahead of time. This is especially true for more active vacations such as skiing or ones that will require a lot of walking. You wouldn’t show up to a 10K without training for it so why would you expect your body to feel great after 10 miles of sightseeing when you usually only walk 1 mile a few times per week. If you are planning a vacation this fall or winter, surprise your family with your stamina and start training now. We can certainly help you create a personalized training program to help make your trip a success!
Hope everyone has a great time on their vacations! We can’t wait to hear about your adventures!