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7 Stretches to Make Traveling Less Painful

7 Stretches to Make Traveling Less Painful

We can all agree that we have had our fair share of aches and pains while traveling. With the holidays right around the corner, there is a good chance you will be traveling.

 

Here are 7 of my favorite roadside stretches that are easy to do and will keep you pain free!

1. Chest Stretch

  1. Place your forearm with your elbow bent on a surface such as a doorway or edge of a wall.  If you’re having trouble, be creative! I used an electric pole.
  2. Adjust your shoulder so it is at an angle ranging from 90 to 120 degrees. If you place your shoulder any higher or lower, you will not stretch the pectoralis major muscle.
  3. Stagger your legs into a lunge and rotate your body away from where your arm is placed. You will feel a pull in your chest.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch to your other arm.

 

Benefits: Improves the flexibility of your pectoralis major muscle and prevents you from having your shoulders round forward causing neck and back strain.

Photographer: JuliannCheryl (@JuliannCheryl)

2. Upper Trapezius Stretch

  1. To stretch your left upper trapezius muscle, side bend your head to the right. Place your left hand behind your back and your right hand over your head.
  2. Carefully and gently pull your neck to the right until you feel a stretch on your left upper trapezius. It should not be painful!
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and do the opposite to stretch your right upper trapezius muscle.

 

Benefits: Decreases muscle tension in your neck. Also reduces the chance of getting a tension headache.

3. Levator Scapula Stretch

  1. To stretch your left levator scapula muscle, side bend your head to the right. Then rotate your head to the right. You are basically looking at your right armpit.
  2. Place your left hand behind your back and your right hand over your head. Carefully and gently pull your neck to the right until you feel a stretch on your left levator scapula muscle.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. It should not be painful! Make sure to stretch your left levator scapula muscle by doing the opposite as described above.

 

Benefits: Decreases muscle tension in your neck. Also reduces the chance of getting a tension headache.

4. Modified Prayer Stretch

  1. Grab a surface which is the height of your hips.
  2. Lean back until you feel a stretch in your low back. The more you lean back the more you will feel the stretch.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds

 

Benefit: Decreases the muscle tension in your low back.

5. Hamstring Stretch

  1. While standing, bend down from your hips and reach towards your toes. Try to keep your legs straight, leaving a slight bend in your knees. You should feel stretch at the back of your thighs.
  2. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

 

Benefit: Improves the flexibility of your hamstrings and decreases low back muscle tension.

6. Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Step forward with one leg into a lunge position.
  2. Keep the front leg bent and the back leg straight. You should feel a stretch at the front of the hip of the leg that is back. You may also feel a stretch in your calf.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds

 

Benefit: To reduce the tightness at the front of your hips and in your low low back pain. When you sit for long periods of time, your hip flexor muscles get tight. The iliopsoas muscles attaches to the spine. When this muscle is tight, it will pull on your low back causing tension and pain.

7. Standing Mermaid Stretch

  1. Place one hand on your hip and the other arm over your head.
  2. With the arm over your head, reach towards the opposite side until you feel a stretch at your side.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with your other side.

 

Benefit: Improves the flexibility of your obliques, latissimus dorsi, quadratus lumborum. Overall, improving your spinal flexibility and decreasing back muscle tone.

Tip: Bring a tennis ball!

Bring along a tennis ball or lacrosse ball which you can use for soft tissue trigger point release. Just place the ball in-between where you have a muscle trigger point and a wall or flat surface and sustain pressure until you feel the trigger point release.

I guarantee if you do these 7 stretches every day while on the road, you will be traveling with less pain and aches. Happy Travels!

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Kimmi Dao, PT, DPT, CSCS

Kimmi Dao, PT, DPT, CSCS

Cindy loves to spend her time with her church family and doing church activities. She also loves to take time to help people, especially women, reach their fitness goals. In her spare time Cindy enjoys hiking, exploring new cities and places, trying new foods, creating new crafts, cuddling with her two dogs and spending time with friends and family.