Travel whether for work or pleasure messes up our routines. For most of us, even if frequent travelers, we will experience tightness, soreness or stiffness at some point. Loading luggage into a car, driving to the airport, standing for check in, bag check or boarding, sitting in a fixed position for hours, and then the fun of getting where we’re going once we have our luggage on the other end is hell for our bodies. Regular car travel of more than 30’ isn’t much fun either. Fortunately, there are a few simple exercises and a couple of items you can use to feel fresh and pain free on the road.
The three exercises are t-spine opener, standing toe-touches, and prone hip presses. These exercises, when completed as directed, will allow your body to breathe easier, move easier, and your overall sense of feeling better will increase. Follow along with these three exercises, and if you have questions, then please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. All told, these three exercises will take less than 5’, but they will make the difference when you wake up feeling stiff to feeling ready to go. They’re also great for early mornings when you have to get up and get out the door.
For the T-Spine Opener, lay on your side in a hook lying position, with you hips, knees and ankles at 90 degrees. It’s similar to fetal position, but your back is straight, and ideally your head is on a towel or pillow. Place a towel or foam roller between your knees and ankles. Arms are extended as you lay on your side and lift your top arm to the ceiling as you breathe in, then slowly watch that arm as it falls behind you, palm up as you exhale. Inhale to raise the arm again, and exhale to close the arms down together. (Note – A link a video to show you each of these three exercises is below. Feel free to skip ahead and watch the video instead). Complete 10 cycles on each side.
The Toe-Touch Series can be as simple or complex as you’d like it. In the gym we have more toys, but in a hotel room a towel works great between our knees. Stand tall with a balled up towel between your knees, arms extended over head. Placing your chin gently on your chest, swan dive over while squeezing the towel between your knees. Reach for the floor, and when you are as close to touching your toes as possible, bend your knees, touch your toes, slowly inhale as you slide your hands up the front of your body and finally at the top slowly peel your chin off of your chest and return your arms to your sides. Complete 10 reps. Exhale when swan diving, inhaling rolling up, but feel free to take extra breaths at the bottom or the top, or wherever it feels best for you. (If you have more time and toys, here’s the gym version:
Hip Presses into the Floor, also known as Mini Back Extensions. Move very slowly and deliberately with this exercise, and if you have any history of back pain, consult with your medical professional before trying. Lay on your belly, hands either under your forehead or by your chest as if you were going to do a push up. Relax completely, take a few breaths, and feel your belly press into the floor as you breathe in and out. After three breaths, we’ll get started. Pressing the tops of your feet and your head gently into the floor (think 2/10 effort), go ahead and press your pubic bone and hip bone down towards the floor. Hold 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat for a total of 10 reps. Each time your press your hip bones and pubic bone down, notice how your glutes engage. Don’t try to actively engage them, simply feel how they engage as the pelvis moves position each time. After your final rep, think about pulling your naval to your spine as you come up to all fours and rock back. You can move into a yoga child’s pose, or into cats and cows if feeling like it. Slowly roll yourself all the way up to standing, take a few breaths, and notice how much better you feel? Amazing!
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