Up, up and away

Tips and stretched for traveling – be prepared for your next holiday or work trip.

I love to travel and up, up and away here I go again with new places, new people and so many amazing adventures to experience. I have been very fortunate with some of the amazing places I have travelled to and believe me the list of where to go next is even longer!

As I prepare for my forthcoming adventure to New Zealand and Fiji, it got me thinking about all the little things I do before and during my travel to help my body survive. So, I thought I would share some of my insights.

You have all seen the reminders to move your ankles up and down when sitting on an aeroplane and you may be wondering what this little ankle movement is actually doing?

The first thing you need to understand is that, thanks to gravity, when we sit or stand, blood will pool in our feet and ankles. It is the job of your veins to help return this blood from our feet to our heart to be recirculated.

Unfortunately, our veins are not very good at this and need some help from the surrounding muscles.  By moving your ankle up and down, you are stimulating what is known as the muscle pump. The muscles within your calf and shin are contracting and relaxing over the top of the veins pumping the blood back towards your heart. When we are sitting still this can’t happen and the blood then pools in our ankles and feet, causing them to swell and potentially allowing clots to form.

When flying for more than a couple of hours, you are bound to find me walking around the cabin, doing laps of the aisles and stretching regularly wherever I can find some space –  usually towards the back of the plane.

Below are some of my favourite stretches to be used on a plane, and all are able to be completed standing with minimal space.

Plane suitable stretches

They are great to use for the rest of the trip too, keeping you feeling supple despite all the sitting you are bound to do, in cars, airports, planes, restaurants, etc.

We really do sit a lot when traveling!

Back on land, I like to use my wonderfully versatile spikey balls on my back, glutes and feet in the hotel room.

Great for rolling your feet, to release your plants fascia especially after a long day sight seeing.
Rolling your knee side to side once you've found a good knot is a great way to release the tension from a day on your feet.
If you need a little more pressure try sitting on the ball and moving yourself around until you find a good spot. Then relax and lower your weight on to the ball.
Alternatively use the ball on the wall. Lean your body weight on the ball and move your arm to massage over the top of the ball.

Want to know more about physically preparing yourself for your next holiday?

Then have a listen to this podcast, I recorded for Luxury Travel with Allen Suss of Travel Managers.

You can also get in touch with us at Simply Stronger. We can give you tips and exercises that will help you prepare to survive that next long-haul flight.

Sitting – is it really that bad?

We all do it … some for eight hours a day at work and then get into the car or on public transport to continue the trend for the commute back home.

So, what is it about this practice that is so problematic?

Despite the trend towards remaining stationary, we are actually built to move maybe not continuously but certainly regularly throughout the day. When we sit, we stay there for extended periods of time, generally looking at the same thing for most of that time. Whether this is working at a desk, driving (or another form of commuting), reading, watching TV, going to the cinema, the theatre or even watching sport – we sit still.

Our bodies are built to move, they want to move, and we train them to become good at remaining stationary.

I like to use the analogy of water 💧 .

 Picture a body of water, big or small – it doesn’t matter. The beautiful natural images that come to mind are those that flow and move constantly, rivers, oceans and lakes. However, when you picture puddles and still bodies of water – they are stagnant and unhealthy places where mosquitoes come to breed. Nearly 60% of our body is made up of water which presumably wants to move given that this is its natural state. Continuing with the analogy, by remaining still, the water in our bodies is stagnating. Obviously, this isonly an analogy with no basis in fact, but it does conjure up a strong image, don’t you think?

 

What can we do to improve our situation? No one is asking you to change jobs, move closer to your workplace and walk or ride a bike.

These are often very impractical solutions but there are ways of getting more movement into your day. Let us start by thinking about some of the ways in which we have developed technology to increase productivity and let’s be honest here – increases in productivity have been great advancements, yes, but they have also led to a much more sedentary lifestyle.

 

From construction equipment to computers, from sewing machines to (my personal pet peeve) leaf blowers, they have all made our lives much easier and have allowed us to advance in often incredible ways, yet they now also allow us to move so much less.

Now I’m not saying we need to build our homes by hand or sew our own clothes instead of shopping for them but what I am saying is look at the technological advancements in your life and see if you can take a step back.

Here are some simple ways to move a little more:

  • Walk and have a conversation instead of always calling or sending an email.
  • Take the stairs, not the lift.
  • Walk up the escalator rather than standing still, waiting to be carried.
  • If you must drive to work or the train station, try to park 500m away or more to ensure you do a little extra walking at the start and end of your day.
  • Sweep the floor, rather than always reaching for the vacuum.
  • Rake your leaves rather than blowing them into the street. Seriously I hate this invention but if you must use one then blow them into a pile and pick them up.

There are so many ways in which we can add a little bit more activity into our day!

We just need to stop and think a little.

Let us know some of your ideas in the comments below and help others to move their bodies a little more often.

To find out more about a personalised plan to increase your daily exercise contact Simply Stronger.

 

Coming soon….

In part two of Sitting – is it really that bad?,  we will look at the changes to our musculature due to this posture and the impact that can have on your body.