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Live better this summer!

In the summer, most of us embark on some form of travel, whether by plane, car, train or coach. This can put your body under stress due to being fixed in one position for prolonged periods and the need to transport luggage on various modes of transport. So this article is aimed at how you may avoid some of these issues in the holiday season.

Keep active

It can be difficult to be active just the right amount, but an activity level out of the ordinary for you can be a problem. As an Osteopath, I have treated many patients who are either normally sedentary at work and overdo sport on holiday or are manual workers who decide to spend a fortnight lying on a sunbed! The former often end up straining their back and the latter seize up. So just be sensible and ensure your activity level is appropriate to your situation.

Care whilst travelling:

  • Seating is often not ideal but if possible, try to recline by 20 degrees and ensure that your lumbar spine is supported.
  • If you are not driving, you could use a neck pillow or rolled up towel to support your neck.
  • Make a point of taking regular breaks to walk around, whether in the aisle on a plane or pulling over in the car.
  • When packing, try to pack a couple of smaller bags rather than one large heavy suitcase.
  • Bags on wheels are preferable and a rucksack is better than using a shoulder bag.
  • When loading luggage into the boot of your car or overhead lockers in a plane, stand straight on with your knees bent and tighten your abdominal muscles to protect your low back.
  • Lifting luggage from an airport carousel can be a problem especially if you are stiff after a long flight. Stand close to the carousel, bend your knees and lift up. If you reach and lift you are likely to put your low back under more strain.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

You may have heard of the possible link of DVT to flying. DVT is when a clot forms, most commonly in the legs. This condition is not just related to flying – it is associated to prolonged periods of sitting, whether whilst travelling or in the office. While you’re sitting, try some simple exercises such as clenching and relaxing your buttocks, bending and straightening your knees, pointing your toes like a ballerina and then pulling your toes towards you to stretch your calves.

Finally, remember to listen to your body and if you do feel a twinge, our team of Osteopaths would be pleased to help you.