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How to Beat Discomfort During Long Distance Travel

Have you ever woken up from a car ride with a terrible kink in your neck? Or has your foot fallen asleep in a plane after sitting for a few hours? If you answered no to this question, you are extremely fortunate. The rest of us have not been so lucky! Personally, after sitting for a few hours in a cold plane, I start to get restless and uncomfortable. My feet and legs start to fall asleep. No amount of fuzzy neck pillows and eye masks can save me from discomfort.  However, I have been able to establish a routine for long car and plane rides that have helped my body feel significantly better during and post travel. I will share these stretches below.

Semicircular Neck Rolls

Begin in a neutral position with your gaze fixed in front of you. Begin to roll your head towards your left shoulder. Stop rolling once you reach your left shoulder. You should not feel any pain with this movement. Move your head towards your right shoulder. Repeat the movement as necessary. Avoid rolling your head all the way back as it can put unnecessary strain on your neck. If you feel like you could use an extra stretch, guide your head with your hand and pull your head slightly towards your shoulders. Again, there should never be any pain with these movements.

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Ankle Stretches

Place your hands at the front of your seat for support. Slowly lift one calf. Alternate between pointing your toes upwards and downwards. Begin to roll your foot in the air, rotating slowly. Change directions. Place your foot on the ground and switch sides.

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Leg Extensions

Slowly lift one foot up, extending at the knee. Repeat as necessary. The objective of this exercise is to increase blood circulation in your legs.

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Seated Twists

Slowly Twist your torso from one side to the other. Use your armrests to help you as you twist. Hold the twist at each side for at least 5 seconds.

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Knee-to-Chest Stretches

This is another movement which can help increase blood flow in your legs. Move forward slightly in your seat. Begin to raise one knee towards your chest. Pull your knee into your chest as far as it will go comfortably. Hold your knee into your chest for at least 5-10 seconds. Alternate sides and repeat several times.

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Happy Travels!! 🙂


Author: Claire Ford, BA (Hons)

Clinical Receptionist | Social Media Rep | Toronto Health & Fitness Advocate

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