Whether you are headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house or across the country for a long-overdue visit with the in-laws, review these five simple ideas to ensure you arrive with minimal wear-and-tear on your spine:
1. Pack light
Instead of lugging an oversized 50-pound suitcase through the airport or grimacing as you put it into your car, take a load off. That means packing light. And when you do, make sure your suitcase is on an elevated surface so you don’t have to bend down.
2. Check your posture
Proper posture can do wonders for your back. That holds especially true when you’re sitting for long periods of time. To alleviate pressure on your back, make sure you sit upright, with your knees bent at no more than at a 90-degree angle. Make your journey more enjoyable by using a lumbar support pillow. If you don’t have one, a rolled-up jacket or sweater will also do the trick.
3. Stop and stretch
Long trips can often lead to stiff muscles and sore joints from sitting. One of the best ways to prevent stiffness is to stand up every few hours and stretch. If you’re driving, map out some scheduled stops to walk around and stretch your legs. If flying, stand at your seat or walk up and down the cabin a few times.
4. Dress for comfort
While you may want to look fashionable while traveling, you don’t want to compromise your comfort in the process. The solution? Find loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely and invest in a comfy pair of shoes that will make walking a breeze.
5. Take a rest
Life is fast enough, so why not stop, take a few deep breaths and enjoy the ride? Traveling offers the perfect opportunity to do just that, so we can catch up on some much-needed rest without feeling guilty. If you have room in your car or the overhead compartment of your flight, bring along a pillow. Your neck and back will thank you.
— Dr. Waldron
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