Tis the season for travel, keep your body mobile with these exercises
The holidays have arrived and though visiting friends and family is part of the spirit of the season, that means added time in the car, plane or train! But wait, there’s more! Traveling is a killer on the spine. So on top of potential family drama, being seated longer means added strain on our bodies – cue that holiday neck and back pain.
If you find yourself with a break in the day, below are five mobility exercises to help improve your trip and avoid pain later:
Rule of thumb is if you’ll be seated for hours on end, try to get up every hour to shake out and reset. Even if just for a couple minutes.
- T-Spine CARs
Start by giving yourself a tight hug. Keep your core tight and round your upper back slightly. Moving slowly, rotate your chest and shoulders to the left while keeping your belly button facing front. Once you’re there, slowly bend to the side and slide back up to the beginning position. Repeat on the other side. Completing one full rotation on both sides is one rep. Repeat five times.
Gravity will do its work here! With both feet on the ground, slowly bend forward without reaching for your toes. Fold your arms in on each other (grab your elbows with the opposite hand) and just let your head and arms drop. The longer you hang, the more your body will cushion into falling further into the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Break. Repeat at least three times.
- Spinal Rotation
While seated, keep your core facing forward and lengthen your spine. Take your left hand to the outside of the right leg. Keeping your pelvis forward, start rotating to the right one vertebra at a time. Use your right hand to help rotate or support where you need. Take five breaths and return to center. Repeat on the other side.
- Good Mornings
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands laced behind your head. Bend your knees just a bit. Keep your core tight, back flat, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Bend forward as you hinge from your hips, moving until your chest is almost parallel with the floor. At this point, you should feel your hamstrings engage. Slowly thrust your hips forward, squeezing your glutes as you come back to standing position. Repeat 10-12 times.
- Seated Figure Four
Sit forward on the edge of your chair and make sure your back is neutral. Cross your right leg over your left knee. Try to keep your knee and leg as flat as possible. Press down gently on your right knee to help gain a deeper stretch. If you want to intensify the stretch in your glutes and outer thighs, you can do so by hinging your torso forward from the hips. Try to keep your back as neutral as possible. Hold for 10 breaths. Switch legs. Repeat five times.
Find more tips @peakmobility
Find this and more in the November/December issue of OC Mag