Are you planning a road trip this holiday season?
If you’re dreading nagging back, shoulder or neck pain on the trip
Or arriving seized up, barely able to straighten up out of the car
Or, even worse, drifting off at the wheel…
Perhaps you’re jumping on a plane?
Falling asleep might be your ideal way of avoiding your aching bones and boredom, but what about when you wake up with a crook neck?
Here’s some tips to help you keep your joints lubricated and your brain activated so you reach your destination in one piece and ready to enjoy your well-deserved break!
The first tip lets you in on the secret to switching on the right muscles to keep you alert and keep the aches and pains at bay.
The following 3 tips relate to how best to position yourself to take strain off your joints and ligaments when you’re sitting for hours on end.
It’s this sustained sitting that often means we arrive in far worse shape than when we set out on our trip…
I’ve seen so many people reach their holiday destination in such bad shape their first day is spent seeking professional help for a ‘blown disc’ or ‘crick neck’ they’ve ended up with from the trip.
Taking a few simple precautions along the way is a far better option!
When we’ve been sitting for an hour, hour metabolism goes to sleep.
That means, our body finds it very hard to concentrate or switch on muscles that support us properly.
If you’re driving, you’re likely to feel drowsy- not a good option!
And if you’re a passenger (or the driver), you’re likely to stiffen up and risk getting sore.
The best rule of thumb to avoid stiffness, soreness and drowsiness is to move every half hour!
Once you get stiff and sore, it’s hard to get rid of that feeling, so if you are more prone to those symptoms, you need to move even more frequently.
Doing pelvic tilting back and forth and side to side is a great way to loosen up you back and pelvis.
This is easy enough to do while you’re sitting, even while you’re driving.
Doing some deep breathing down into your lower ribs helps to wake you up and free up your upper back and shoulders.
Twisting your trunk and shoulders a little also works well to loosen up that area.
One of my favourite ways to get some relief from a sore neck and shoulders is to switch on your shoulder blade muscles. It’s easy to do either driving or as a passenger.
If you’re driving, keep your hands on the steering wheel and relax your head and neck back on the headrest.
If you’re a passenger, relax your hands on your thighs (Palms down).
- Very Gently open your chest, so you’re the balls of your shoulders move back a bit and your shoulder blades back and down slightly at the back.
- Hold that position while you press your palms into the steering wheel or into your thighs… don’t let your shoulders creep forwards at all!
- Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times
This might seem like a very gentle exercise, but done well and done every half hour or more, it can keep your neck and shoulder pain at bay!
Give all those exercises a try!
The combination of pelvic tilting, trunk twisting and shoulder setting (with palm pressing) can make such a difference to your trip
If you do a set of them every 20-30 minutes throughout your trip, you’re guaranteed to feel better when you get up and out of your seat!
2)Drivers, Bring your car seat forwards
Come close enough so your knee is still bent about 20degress when you’ve pushed the brake down hard and accelerator to the floor.
You might feel a little too close for comfort initially, but setting your seat closer to the peddles and steering wheel puts your body at a big advantage…
It takes the stretch and strain off your hamstring muscles and sciatic nerve to ease strain off your lower back.
PLUS it allows you to relax your arms and elbows without overstretching to the steering wheel, taking lots of tension off your neck and shoulders.
So, give it a try and reap the rewards!
3)Passengers and Drivers… Wiggle your butt right back in the seat!
When your ‘tail’ tucks under while you sit the hollow in your low back is lost and there’s a great deal of overload on your low back and hips.
IT also means your whole spine slumps into a poor position that makes it very difficult to avoid extra tension in your neck and shoulders.
Plus, your ‘good posture’ muscles can’t work very well.
Sitting like that for hours on end can have drastic results…
Strain, stiffness and soreness while you’re driving and even pain that can continue long after you reach your destination!
The best remedy is to keep wiggling your ‘butt bones’- the bony lumps we sit on- right back and wide so they’re wedged in the rear of the seat.
This positions your pelvis, hips and low back best for sitting.
4)Drivers and passengers, Rest back on your backrest and headrest
Holding ourselves bolt upright for long periods of time puts lots of compression on our spines, in particular our discs.
We also then, eventually, tend to slouch forwards.
Add the vibration of a car or plane and it’s a recipe for the increase in disc injuries we commonly see in people who’ve recently travelled.
Once you’ve positioned your hips and pelvis well, with your butt wiggled back in the seat,
Lean your trunk back on the backrest and try and relax your head on the headrest.
Reclining the backrest by about 20 degrees is best so you’re more likely to lean back into the seat- rather than holding yourself too upright or slouching forwards.
It may take some fiddling to get the headrest comfortable but resting the weight of your head back takes a great amount of strain off your neck and shoulders.
You can even use a neck pillow if you’re a passenger [Symbol]
If you’d like to see these tips in action via video you can check out my ‘boosting your health sitting in 2 minutes’ guide here bit.ly/2NRcgAZ
It’s super quick video that will walk you through the steps you need to take to feel fabulous while you sit! It talks about sitting at your desk, but it’s similar principles for when you travel… and it’s likely you sit at a desk a fair bit too!
So it’s win-win for you!
Check it out here bit.ly/2NRcgAZ