Quick & Easy Travel Stretches for an Awesome Vacation

Toothpaste? Check. Cell phone charger? Check. Travel docs? Check. Self care? Um…

Traveling can be a huge pain in the neck – and the back, legs, and, well, you know.

And the soreness from sitting? It’s a lovely reminder you’ve done absolutely nothing for the last few hours. Sigh.

Why You Get So Crazy Sore

When you’re parked in a seat (plane, train, automobile), your hip flexors and hamstrings are shortened. Along with all those muscles in your low back, hips, quads and glutes.

And when your muscles are shortened for a long time, they feel tight when you stand up again.

Plus, without good blood circulation, your muscles just might cry out in pain.

If you’re at home, a trained massage therapist can bring you relief in a jiffy.

But what do you do when you’re on the go?

Keep Your Bod From Hating You Later

There was a point in my life when the pain from hours of sitting would ruin my vacation, says Maryann Berry, strength and conditioning/mobility & recovery coach.

“I have since learned to take a proactive approach,” she adds.

Here are a few exercises Maryann recommends.

And don’t worry. They require little or no equipment or space. And they take only a few minutes. (Even one minute is better than none.)

You can do these in the airport before you board the plane. Or before you sit in the car.

(But if you forget and you’re stuck in a seat with sore muscles, you still might have space to do a couple of these moves.)

Sitting Scapular Retractions

Aim for 30 reps.

This move combats slouching by activating and strengthening shoulder and upper back muscles.

Sit in the middle of a chair (move your behind away from the back of the chair), with your feet pointed straight ahead, a few inches apart.

Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back. Hold this throughout the exercise.

Squeeze and release your shoulder blades together. Squeeze back and down, (NOT up and down as a shrug).

Note: I tried this the other day and the muscles in my shoulders and upper back felt absolutely great afterward!

Breathing With Hands Behind Head

Do this for 10 deep breaths.

This opens up the thoracic spine (upper back) and gets more oxygen into your body.

Sit in the middle of a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead, a few inches apart.

Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back.

Interlock your fingers behind your head, pull your elbows back and your shoulder blades together.

Keep your chin up and relax your belly.

Keep this posture for the duration of the exercise.

Breathe intentionally into your ribs so that your ribs expand outward with each inhalation.

Sitting Leg Crossover Stretch

Try to hold the following pose for 1 minute per leg.

This stretches and activates your hips.

Sit in the middle of a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead, a few inches apart.

Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back. Keep this arch in your back for the entire exercise.

Cross your right leg over your left so that your anklebone is just above your knee.

Using only the strength of your hip (not your hands) press the knee of the crossed leg down towards the floor.

Breathe and hold this for 1 minute.

Switch sides and repeat.

More Stretches?

Here’s a great stretch for your quads (front leg muscles).

Stand up. If you need, hold onto something for balance, while you bring the heel of one foot up to touch your behind.

Hold for 20-30 seconds on each leg.

For your back (and the back of your legs) try this:

Stand against a wall, bend over and touch the floor with your hands.

Hold this for a few seconds and feel the gentle stretch.

What Other Travel Secrets Keep You Feeling Great?

Glad you asked. That’s the focus of the next article. Stay tuned.

Life takes it out of you. I’d love to help you put it back in.

How can I help you personally?

Call me at 303-920-2350 with any questions, concerns or to find out how massage and essential oils can make life better for you.


by Sarah Shropshire
LMT, Essential Oil and Business Consultant