Last week we flew from Portland, Oregon to Venice, Italy. We left Portland at 5:00am Pacific Time and landed in Venice the next morning at 9:00am local time. Let that sink in for a minute... This was a ridiculously long time spent in a seat.
My eyes, of course, were drawn to the “exercise while traveling” tips in the airline magazine. I rarely read anything mainstream about exercise (not that this was really mainstream, but it was in a magazine) because typically the tips are mediocre, one-dimensional, and not at all what I would ever recommend to my clients.
These traveling tips were exactly what I expected.
"Exercises for Travelers"...The advice consisted of a short routine that can be performed during a long layover or in your hotel room. While this is a fantastic concept, the suggested exercises were horrible. You were to perform a series of three different sit-up or crunch variations, and repeat the series three times.
I had to read it twice through to make sure I saw it right.
Let me explain why this is horrible for any traveler, whether you’re sitting on a plane or in a car. Picture the body position you are in for hours on end when flying (or road-tripping). You sit with your hips bent up, your back rounded under and your shoulders hunched forward.
Now, take this exact same position, turn it on its backside, and now you’re in a crunch, V-up or sit-up position. It’s identical. The hip flexors are shortened, the spine is flexed, the glutes are lengthened and deactivated, and the shoulders are rounded forward. Any discomfort while traveling will be severely exacerbated by this simple “core routine”…which sounds so harmless, doesn’t it?
We can do better. Here is a series of exercises that will undo all the effects of traveling, making your body feel so much better after that long trip. It will stretch the frontside, strengthen the backside, and put you all back together. And yes, this too can be done at the airport or in a hotel room!
Do this routine 2-3 times through:
Just keep moving, but do it right. While traveling can be the most uncomfortable thing for your body to endure, you can alleviate a lot of discomfort by moving well. Stand up, stretch your legs, stretch your shoulders and neck, and walk around every 30-60 minutes. And please ignore the advice in the magazines. Do the routine above, and your shoulders, back, hips and legs will thank you for it.
Stay tuned! My next post will be explaining why I chose NOT to workout while traveling. This surprised even myself...