Travel, by land or by air, can be hard on the body. Spending long hours in cramped seats can leave you sore and exhausted, not to mention exposing you to more serious health risks like blood clots. But in these settings, a little movement can go a long way toward helping you feel fresher when you reach your destination.
“The goal is not to get a workout in,” says Experience Life’s fitness editor Maggie Fazeli Fard, RKC. “It’s to keep your body fairly mobile so that when you arrive, you’re not so cramped you can’t enjoy yourself.”
The first priority is to keep your blood circulating, she says — especially in the lower body. On a plane, get out of your seat and walk a bit; take regular bathroom breaks (or fake bathroom breaks, in which you only go to wash your hands), and do some simple stretches. “If you’re able to stand on just one leg, shift your weight back and forth. Hip circles are really good.”
In your seat, Fazeli Fard suggests stretching your legs as far as you can — which, of course, may not be too far. “Something easier is twisting side to side, gently rotating your body, and stretching your arms overhead,” she offers. “You can use the overhead compartment to push against. If you bring your arms overhead and then walk them back, you can get a really nice shoulder stretch.”
These moves can be adapted for train or bus travel, she notes, “and in those modes, it’s a lot easier to get out into the aisle and move.” If you’re driving, stop often and “walk, swing your arms and legs, do some twists or, if there’s a railing you can hold on to, some lunges.”
Fazeli Fard carries a travel pack with a medium-weight resistance band; a lightweight jump rope; a lacrosse ball for massaging sore muscles; and a set of Valslides, the foot-and-hand devices designed for more challenging moves on a carpet.
“And if you’re driving,” she adds, “you can put a kettlebell or two in the car — secured with seat belts.”