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How To Stay Healthy While Traveling

Posted on: February 22, 2016

Believe it or not, spring is only four weeks away, and that means that travel season is right around the corner.

I often work with patients who have neglected a plan to maintain their health while traveling. I encourage you to take positive steps to stay healthy while you’re traveling for business or pleasure. The ideas below are simple yet very effective for staying healthy on the road.

Westlake Village Chiropractor health tips

The idea is to reduce the physical, chemical and energetic stress of traveling so that you stay healthy. Best of all, the plans work whether you fly or drive to your destination.

Food And Nutrition

Bring simple healthful food with you for the airport wait and the flight. This can also be a big help with a long drive. You may want to do this even if you are flying business or first class. The food on planes today, if any, can be very poor quality. It is usually processed, preserved, and often delivered in a small paper bag. The same goes for food that is available out on the road.

Bring your own favorite quality sandwiches and snacks. This way you reduce the stress of eating poor quality food while you are changing time zones, thereby avoiding the unnecessary body stress that can set you up for getting sick. Your body will adapt quicker if you can avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Also important, bring your nutritional supplements with you. If you don’t know what to bring, schedule a consultation with me before the trip so I can help you make a custom support plan that works for you.

Luggage

Take time to plan the luggage so there are fewer surprises. This reduces stress and hassles, keeps blood pressure lower, and makes the whole trip less tiring. If driving, you may be getting your own luggage into and out of the trunk of the car. If you’re flying, today’s airport security regulations may force you to carry your bags when you least expect it. Either way, your bags should be as light as possible. You may be asked to lift bags onto security tables yourself — even the bags you’re planning to check. The carry-on bags may have to be lifted into the overhead compartment. Be prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Of course the bags are likely to be opened in a public place by security personnel, so plan ahead there too, so you aren’t stressed by that. And make sure you wear some “easy-on-and-off” shoes, because removing shoes for security is the norm in U.S. airports now.

Energy

Take this one seriously, because it can make or break a difficult trip. Set your schedule so that you are ready to leave for the trip at least a whole day early so that you depart rested. This increases the chance that you’ll arrive feeling good and make the most of the start of your trip. It also protects your immune system from working on limited reserve energy as it adapts to new environments. If you are changing time zones, set your watch to the new time zone before you leave and start living on the new schedule as soon as you can.

Exercise

Being seated in one position for hours is never comfortable. Unfortunately, this is how most of us begin our various trips and vacations, seated in a car or on a plane for a long period of time. The human body is designed for mobility, and works best when regularly moved and stretched. So remaining immobile for any length of time can cause aches, pains, fatigue and other issues. The reasons for this are two-fold. When immobile, muscles are not being used, so the energy in the body is stagnating. Second, blood is not being moved as efficiently throughout the body, and therefore is not delivering fresh oxygen to your cells.

Getting up and walking around is a great fix for these problems, but is not always practical on a plane and impossible in the car. So, here are some exercises that will help support your body while traveling. They’re all designed to be done while seated, and you don’t need much extra room to complete them. They will all assist with easing muscle tension and moving the blood and energy.

  • Foot Rocking
    Place both feet on the floor, and press weight first into the toes, then the balls of the feet, and then the heels. Rock back and forth between toes and heels, pausing and pushing for a few seconds in each position. Doing this rocking-pausing motion several times will exercise the calf muscles as well as the muscles in the feet, and will get the blood in the lower legs circulating.
  • Arm Raise
    With one arm, reach up and try to touch the ceiling. With your arm raised, open and close your hand several times. Drop your arm, and repeat this exercise with the other arm. Then do this exercise again with both arms if possible. This tenses and releases the muscles in both the lower and upper arm, as well as the shoulders and hands, which allows blood to move and re-oxygenation to occur in your upper extremities.
  • Calf Massage
    This one is simple, but should only be done if the position is comfortable for you. Bend down and rub one of your calves with both hands, then the other calf. Try to work deeply into the muscle tissue of the whole calf. Massaging a muscle provides a “wake up call” to the body, telling it to push out the stagnated energy and blood.
  • Isometric Exercises
    By definition, isometric exercises are ones that do not require movement. But oddly enough, these exercises can be some of the most beneficial for individual muscle groups, and can be done anywhere.
  1. Legs: Tighten each individual muscle group of one leg (calf, thigh, glutes). Hold the tension for five seconds, then release. Repeat this with the other leg. Then do both legs together. Tightening each muscle group separately can be tricky, but stick with it as it can do a lot to improve muscle control.
  2. Arm Push: Place your palms together in front of your chest. Press your palms together for five seconds, then relax. Repeat this several times. This exercise works the muscles of the arms and upper chest.
  3. Arm Pull: Hook your fingers together in front of your chest. Try to pull your arms apart, but keep your fingers interlocked.  Pull for five seconds, then relax. Repeat this several times. This exercise gets the energy and blood in the arms and chest moving in a different direction.

The tensing/relaxing motions of the above exercises refresh the blood flow, and can reduce the risk of blood clotting. Freshly oxygenated blood also optimizes your immune system. Muscles love movement, and happy healthy muscles can better support a healthy skeletal system. And movement in the body, no matter how small, helps to balance your energy; this can prevent cramping and stiffness, and will ease tension.   

Chiropractic Care

Feel your best before you leave on your trip. Get preventive chiropractic care before and after travel. Schedule your treatments in advance so that you can receive treatment without adding extra stress to your trip schedule. Consultation appointments are also available to assist you with your own special requirements. In addition, consultations with me by phone while you are traveling are available as well.

 

At Westlake Village Chiropractic Arts, we are committed to supporting you in your journey of greater health & well-being. Contact us for your next visit.

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Disclaimer: Dr. Chopyak is a chiropractor and does not offer medical or chiropractic advice from this website. This information is offered for educational purposes only. Do not act or rely upon our information without seeking an independent health care professional's advice. The information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Chopyak. As with any medical procedure, results will vary among individuals, and there could be risk involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, condition or issue, promptly contact your health care provider. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The photos used may be models and not patients.