When we are on holiday and out of our usual routines, we can cause ourselves unnecessary discomfort and stress by injuring ourselves. A good start to your holiday preparations is to take note of these top tips for an injury free holiday.
- Choose wisely - Buy the lightest case possible that has wheels; hard cases tend to weigh quite a lot before you even start to fill them.
- Two cases are better than one – if possible, take two lighter suitcases rather than one heavy one, so you can distribute the weight more evenly.
- Get a good night’s sleep – besides making your trip more comfortable, travelling when tired may increase your chances of injury, so make sure you sleep well the night before a long journey and avoid rushing around.
- Make adjustments – Many back problems are caused or aggravated by poor driving posture. If you are driving to your holiday destination, ensure that the seat position is slightly backward so that it feels natural and that your elbows are at a comfortable and relaxed angle.
- Relaxing – Relax at the wheel, this reduces stress on the spine and allows your seat to take and distribute your weight more appropriately.
- Keep an eye on the clock – Stop and stretch your legs (and arms) at least every two hours. Not only is it healthier for your spine, but it is safer for other road users.
- Clench! – If you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches, side bends, back twists, and shoulder shrugs and circles.
- Keep it loose – Don’t wear tight clothing as they will restrict your movement and reduce comfort.
- Flying high – Avoid alcohol before and during the flight as this will cause you to dehydrate which, in turn, can aggravate muscle aches and pains. Drink plenty of water instead.
- Air Exercise – You will be restricted to your seat for most of the flight, avoid stiffness, by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles, most airlines have an in-flight entertainment channel with exercise instructions if you need it. Take the opportunity to get up and stretch your legs whenever you can.
- Avoid “travellators” – Get your joints moving quickly after a flight and walk to arrivals rather than taking the easy option of a moving walkway.
- Round and round – Ensure your bags are easily identifiable (e.g. knot a ribbon around the handle) to avoid lifting other people’s heavy cases in error.
- Push, don’t pull – Many wheeled cases encourage you to pull the case handle from behind, but this makes the body/back twist. If possible, push the case in front of you or use a trolley, making sure you choose one from the stack that does not have “wonky wheels”, as keeping it on track will not do your back any good.
At your Destination:
- Bed down – when you get to your hotel, if your bed is too hard, ask the hotel staff for a spare duvet or blanket to put between you and the mattress. Firm beds are not always best, but it is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder.
- Lounging around – If you are heading to the sun beds in search of the perfect tan, try not to lie on your tummy with your back and neck arched while reading a book or magazine. Put the reading matter on the floor and look down over the edge of the sun bed, keeping your back and neck in a more neutral position.
- Exercise in safety – If keeping in shape is on your holiday agenda, ensure you have a full induction to the hotel gym equipment.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe holiday that is memorable for all the right reasons.