In late October, I got to go to Germany and London with Scott to celebrate his 40th birthday and it was amazing. As were were traveling by plane, train, bike and on foot, I kept thinking about all of you and how I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned that can help keep your body happy while away from home. Since Christmas is next week and many of you will be traveling, I hope these tips help. And even if you’re not traveling, bookmark this post for future getaways! 🙂
- Stand (or Wall Sit) When You Can: Just because there are chairs in an airport, doesn’t mean you must sit in them. An airplane means you’ll be sitting, often for multiple hours and with very little leg room, so take a moment to stand, stretch, or do wall sits while waiting for your flight. This will help keep your body loose and increase blood flow. If you’re traveling with a kiddo, they can join you in wall sits or encourage them to hop in place or balance on one foot. These movements will entertain them and help expend some energy before the seatbelt sign is illuminated.
- Wear a mini-backpack. If you plan to carry a purse while traveling and exploring, wear a mini-backpack or cross-body purse. They will spread the weight more evenly on your shoulders, which not only helps with posture but reduces the chance of knots in your shoulders. If you must carry a purse (or holiday shopping bags), start by carrying it on your NON-dominant side. We tend to always sling our purses on one side of our body. If you keep doing that, you won’t have to travel to Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Don’t Waist a Waiting Opportunity: Waiting for a drink at the bar, an uber, subway or in line at a museum is the perfect time for shoulder rolls, neck stretches or other little movements that will release tension and help improve posture.
- Explore on Foot or Bike: I would much rather use my time on vacation exploring than hitting the hotel gym. So, I try to get in some workouts via walking and biking. In Berlin, we took a Fat Bike Tour through the city and loved everything — our guide, the ride, the history! The rest of the trip, we walked as much as possible, usually 5 – 10 miles a day. It was so nice to have exercise be infused in my day and a means of transportation instead of exercise being a completely separate part of my day confined to a one-hour slot at the gym. It was a good reminder that physical activity doesn’t have to be a Soul Cycle class to “count.” As Michelle Obama says, “Let’s move.”
- Hit the Floor: Feel free to hit the dance floor, but I’m talking about your hotel floor. The posture above (and below) will help your body relax and recover from the travel grind – whether that’s being squished in a plane or pounding the pavement exploring a new town. My back and legs were so tight from all of the walking, so every night I would try to do “static back” and after lying in this position for 5 – 7 minutes, I’d feel a lot better. Scott even does it too sometimes. I promise, it is AHHH-mazing. (See tips below on getting into the position).
Static back (image via: Sonima.com). I usually place my legs on a chair or storage ottoman. The most important thing is your legs are at a 90-degree angle and your butt is touching the chair/ottoman, etc., if possible. This video explains how to get into the correct position, while this article explains the benefits of static back. Summary: this position puts your body in correct alignment and uses gravity to balance your body. In the class I teach, we begin the class in static back for 7-10 minutes.
I hope these tips make your travel and vacations even more enjoyable. If you have other tips on how you keep your body happy while traveling, please comment below.