For many of us, Christmas time will involve travel. Whether it be a long drive to see family or a plane trip for an overseas holiday, travel tends to impact our exercise routine and our overall health.
Firstly, for most of us, this travel involves sitting, which can have a negative impact on your health. Prolonged sitting results in a slower metabolism and reduces the body’s insulin sensitivity. This is not what we want when we are about to eat Christmas pudding! The good news is that when sitting was broken up with five minutes of walking every 30 minutes it resulted in meaningful improvements in metabolic markers.
Furthermore, prolonged sitting can also impact our hips and back. The posture we adopt when sitting for long periods in the car or on a plane place our hip flexors and hamstrings in a shortened position, resulting in tighter muscles, and we often round our spine placing extra pressure on our back. Regular breaks can help to alleviate pain and a few simple exercises can help to reduce the stiffness.
If you are lucky enough to be travelling across different time zones, unfortunately this can have a negative impact on our athletic performance. The reduced oxygen pressure in the cabin of an airplane places hypoxic stress on our body and the change of time zones disrupts our circadian rhythms (our body clock). As a result, our bodies are left feeling lethargic after travel, but some light exercise can help us to minimise loss of fitness from our holiday.
Here are a few tips for exercise and movement when travelling:
- Move every 30 minutes. This may mean you have to take a few extra stops when driving or setting an alarm on a plane, but if you can stand and move your legs on a regular basis, your body will thank you for it.
- Pack lightweight exercise equipment. A tennis ball or spiky ball is a useful travel tool to have available to release muscle tightness and a Theraband is a versatile piece of equipment for upper and lower body resistance work.
- Enjoy the outdoors at your destination and choose to take a walk, swim or game of outdoor cricket with your friends and family.
If you want further information about exercising when travelling, call Southside Physiotherapy to arrange an appointment on 9527 4099.