Protect Your Health While Traveling

Our much-awaited summer season is here. As Oregonians we love to travel, camp, hike and spend as much time in the sun as we can. Traveling for business or pleasure is a normal part of life. Some of us do it more than others. Sitting for prolonged periods of time in a confined space compresses the discs between your vertebrae and can increase any underlying or pre-existing spinal pain. Whether it is a short trip or a long haul here are some tried and tested tips to protect your health while traveling.

1) Raise your hands over your head and press your palms together with light pressure for 5-seconds. You can do this movement standing or sitting. The reason this works? Whenever you put your hands over your head, it forces your spine into extension (backward bending). The abdominals function as anti-extension muscles. Your brain ‘fires’ the abdominal muscles to prevent too much extension.

2) Move your body to stimulate energy. Hop up and down for thirty seconds. You only need to come off the ground about a 1/2 inch. This action gets your blood flowing and increases your breathing rate delivering much-needed oxygen to your muscles.

3) Breathe. Belly breathing is a great way to relax your body. Put one hand on your chest and the other over your abdomen. Take a deep breath through your nose. Inflate your abdomen like a balloon. Make sure your bottom hand moves before your top hand. If your chest hand moves first, it means you are breathing too much with your chest. Do this for a couple of minutes.

Frequent movement is important. Keep these general guidelines in mind. Move often and move well. Try to get up and move every hour. When flying, take a walk up and down the aisle. This helps prevent aching and soreness.

Enjoy your summer vacation travels.