Easy ways to stay limber in planes, trains and automobiles.
Sitting for long periods in planes or cars can result in muscle soreness that puts a serious cramp in your trip. But according to Stephanie Jeffrey, executive director of the Manitoba Fitness Council, a few simple exercises can get your blood pumping and prevent stiffness. When she travels, these six tips help her stay limber on long-haul trips.
On planes and in trains, try to get up from your seat every hour or so. Find a corner and be that weirdo who conducts their own little workout, particularly by doing high knee lifts. And stay hydrated. This will help your body, while encouraging you to rise for a walk down the aisle—to the restroom.
Take a stand.
Don't sit for too long before you get on the plane either. In airports, many people walk to their gate, sit down—potentially for hours—then sit some more once on the plane. Prior to boarding, aid your circulation and keep muscles loose by standing beside your luggage or going for a stroll through the airport.
Stretch your glutes.
The muscles in your butt can cause a lot of discomfort as they tighten during a long sitting session. When you can, cross one leg over the other and twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your top leg. Hold for at least 10 seconds, then switch legs (and directions). Do this stretch often.
Tone your floor.
Practice your kegels—those pelvic floor exercises that everyone needs to work on. Imagine you're stopping the flow of urine by pulling your pelvic muscles up and in. If you're unpracticed at this exercise, start with five repetitions, though avoid if you think you may actually have to visit the restroom.
Roll with it.
When we sit for long periods, we tend to hunch forward, which causes chest muscles to tighten. Shoulder rolls can alleviate some discomfort. Straighten your back, then lift your shoulders and roll them in an exaggerated fashion. Do this six to eight times per hour, both forwards and backwards.
Move your feet.
While rotating at the ankle, trace circles with your toes in one direction then the other. Then engage your calves and Achilles tendons with foot pumps: Lift your heels while keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Hold, then reverse by planting your heels and lifting your toes. Repeat each exercise a few times.