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Keeping Comfortable During Your Holiday Travels

We hear it every year around this time: “This holiday season will be the busiest travel season yet!” Sound familiar? We have to agree - the roads and airports do seem to get more and more crowded each year.

Unfortunately for many of us, hitting the road or the friendly skies is unavoidable if we want to spend time with family. And unless you’re a rock star with a sweet tricked-out RV or a high-powered CEO with a private jet at your beck and call, you’ll be crammed into a confined space for the better part of a day along with the rest of us. The good news is, there are a few tips and tricks to staying as comfortable and as safe as possible.

The same issues that drivers and car riders face affect plane passengers, too. It all comes down to sitting in a relatively small space for a prolonged period of time with limited opportunities to
get up and move around. There are several ergonomic factors at work:

  • Awkward positions
  • Prolonged immobility
  • Whole body vibration
  • Impinged movement
  • Poor posture


Whenever you stay in one position for a long time, there is potential for discomfort and injury.


When you are not moving, the blood supply to the muscles reduces and over time your muscles become tired. This makes it difficult to maintain correct posture (if the seat you’re in allows for
correct posture in the first place), and negatively affects your body’s ability to be “ready for action” when you’re ready to get moving again.


Get up and move around every couple of hours. If you’re on a plane, take a quick walk up and down the aisle. If you’re riding in a car, take a bathroom break or a short stop in a rest area. A
two-minute walk around the parking lot will do wonders for your physical and mental well- being. The important thing is to get moving – this doesn’t have to be a big chunk of time.

  • Stretch your legs
  • Stretch out your whole body – reach up to the sky, then relax and swing your arms back and forth across your body a few times
  • Gently stretch your neck – look up, center your head, look down, center your head again, look to the left, center, then to the right
  • Take some deep breaths


If you’re flying, you can take advantage of small movements and regular shifts in your seat in order to help maintain circulation.

  • Toe taps (heel, toe, heel, toe)
  • “March” in place just by lifting your feet and knees


Constant, whole-body vibration is another muscle fatigue factor. Once again, correct posture is the best way to combat this problem. Your spine is able to absorb shock better when it is in a "neutral" position, with the curve of the lumbar spine maintained, than in a slouched, flexed lumbar spine position.

If you have any special considerations due to an injury or a chronic condition, your Physical Therapist can develop a "stretch break" plan that is just right for you. Recovering from surgery or an injury, or don’t want a chronic condition to keep you from visiting family and friends?

Give us a call for your complimentary consultation. We’ll get you on your way to happy holiday travels! One last thought…holiday travel is always stressful, so let’s be kind out there.


The Miller PT Team

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