By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
While traveling is something we all look forward to as a form of leisure and recreation, it also has its own set of built-in stress. Studies show that even a slight change in environment produces a change in hormone levels in the blood and other chemical signs of stress. We can relieve some of the physical stresses of sitting in the cramped space of a hotel room, by doing a few simple exercises as soon as you reach your destination.
• Sit down on a bed or in a chair…kick off your shoes and…stretch your toes up and apart and give your feet a breath of fresh air.
• Then extend your leg forward to stretch the calf muscle. If you pull the toes back toward you, you’ll really feel that stretch!
• Now circle the toes and loosen up the ankle joint.
• Let’s not forget the upper body! Circle the elbows like this…place hands on shoulders and make a circle with elbows (front – up – back – and down).
• Then squeeze the shoulder blades back.
• Circle the elbows forward … Place hands on shoulders and make circle with elbows (back – down – front – up).
• Then touch elbows in front (to your point of comfort)
• Now drop right ear to right shoulder – then lift head and lengthen neck and look right
Drop left ear to left shoulder – then lift head and lengthen neck and look left
• Press right arm back – look left (repeat in other direction)…Press right arm down – drop ear to left shoulder (repeat in other direction)
• Reach your arms around an imaginary beach ball (in front of chest) and feel your spine opening up and your back muscles stretching. While doing this, tuck your tailbone under and tighten your abdominal muscles.
• Then lift the ball to the ceiling.
• End with spine stretch – reaching with right arm up – and down with left arm.
Then reach up with left arm – and down with right arm.
This is the kind of workout that brings a day of travel to a perfect end!