Les Voyages: 5 Ways to Make Traveling Easier on Your Body

Katy Santiago Bowman by Katy Santiago Bowman | October 22nd, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness

KatyfeatureI’m back from my vacation, and what an adventure it was.

And in addition to being great, I found it completely amazing how physically exhausting a vacation can be (tour bus pick-up at 6:30 a.m., plane rides, bus rides, and scary car episodes with a French taxi driver who insisted on taking all the Corsican island curves — which, did I mention, are only one lane — at 100 kilometers an hour by looking BACK at me so that I could confirm that yes, the island was beautiful, and yes, I was completely relaxed … just not right at that moment).

So, I guess I’m back from my “vacation.”

My trip statistics

Countries visited: two (Italy, France)

Servings of gelato: 10 (pistachio, strawberry, nutella, lemon, hazelnut, pistachio, hazelnut, hazelnut, tiramisu, hazelnut)

Best, oh-so-Italian graffiti (written in English): “I like myself.” (I’m not kidding. That’s what it said, written on the cement tunnel wall, leaving the Rome airport train station.)

Times I’ve said, “You know in Rome, they (do it, think it, say it, drink it, etc.) like this …” in the last four days: 1,352

So we all know that vacation is great. But what keeps many folks from traveling often (besides the job, the family and the money) is how physically taxing the whole thing can be on your body!

I’ve put together a few tips to lighten the proverbial load of travel.

Save the neck and shoulders

If you tend to be stiff in the neck and shoulders, racing through the airport, carrying excessive weight and sleeping in an uncomfortable plane seat can make it worse — and who wants to start their time off on an anti-inflammatory?

  • Watch your hand placement on your roller bag. Many people pull their luggage with their shoulder joint internally rotated — not good for the rotator cuff or the trapezius muscles. How can you tell? Reach back to grab the handle keeping your thumb pointing away from you, as opposed to holding your roller with the thumb pointing toward the thigh (see pics below).

This is much better — your neck and shoulder muscles will thank you!

Holding your bag this way can damage your shoulder.

Holding your bag this way can damage your shoulder.

  • Non-symmetrical loading can tax your shoulder girdle. Even if you prefer a purse when you arrive at your destination, consider packing a backpack for the plane, and place a smaller, single-shoulder bag in your bigger luggage. Evenly distributing the weight can help you use your larger core muscles to carry the weight and prevent the smaller muscles on one side of the neck from tensing and pulling your neck vertebrae out of alignment.

On the cellular level

Flying is very dehydrating, and the constant vibration can tax the muscular and nervous system.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Skip the glass of wine and instead opt for herbal tea. I always pack my own peppermint tea bags, as all planes have hot water.
  • Did you know the temperature is VERY low at 30,000 feet! Help regulate your body temperature by packing warm wool socks. After I’m airborne, I like to kick off my shoes and slip on something a little more cozy. It also helps me sleep on those long hauls.
  • Moisturize well before departure — that means inside, too! Right before I fly, I super-dose my skin with a good moisturizer (I use sesame or coconut oil) all over. I also eat an oily breakfast as cellular hydration requires a healthy and solid lipid layer! Avoid dry pretzels and crackers and instead opt for healthy-oil rich nuts, avocado or a bag of olives.

Good luck on your next travel adventure.

You know, in Rome people take a minimum of four to six weeks of vacation per year. I’m just sayin’.

View original post at Katysays.com. This excerpt republished with permission. Check out Katy’s Restorative Exercise kits she created with Gaiam, including how-to DVDs with corrective, functional exercises to improve your spinal alignment.

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