EXERCISES FOR LONG TRIPS
Many of my coaching clients spend lots of time travelling for work or play. They often report that on long trips they get stiff and sore. So, on my last cross country jaunt I experimented with movements that I could do somewhat discreetly while I kept my seat belt on and my "seat in the upright position"> Perhaps you'll share my experience--that they can make a long airline flight more comfortable by stimulating circulation and relaxing muscles.
As you do each exercise, remember to sit up straight and breathe evenly and deeply.
1. Lean head forward as far as possible. Feel a stretch down the back of your neck. Lean head to the side (keep face front) and feel the stretch down the side of the neck. Lean to other side.
2. Let head drop back (jaw relaxed), and look up at the overhead compartment of the row behind yours. Arch back as you look up. Feel stretch under your chin.
3. Hug yourself (right hand on left shoulder, left hand on right shoulder). Lean head forward, cave in upper chest, and pull your shoulders forward. Feel stretch down the back of the neck and between your shoulder blades.
4. Push shoulders forward and cave in upper chest and stomach. Push shoulders back and arch lower back. Keep head straight. This exercise moves the rib cage to front and looses muscles in the center back.
5. Relax your shoulders and arms and make a circle with one shoulder at a time by moving it forward, raising it up, pushing it back, and down. Then move it back first, reversing the exercise.
6. Press elbows down onto armrests and press shoulders down as hard as you can. Feel stretch across top of shoulders.
7. Grasp the right armrest with your left hand and turn your upper body around to the right to look behind you. Turn to the left, grasping the left armrest with your right hand. Feel the stretch down each side of your back.
8. Reach up toward light or air vent without rising from your seat. Breathe in as you reach up and exhale as you lower your arm. Stretch as you reach, using one hand and then the other.
9. Loosen seat belt slightly, and lean over to the floor as if to pick up something you've dropped or to adjust packages under the seat in front of you. Reach down as far as possible, and then sit up slowly. This stretches lower back and back of thighs.
10. Sit up straight and pick one foot up off the floor by raising your whole leg about an inch off the seat. While maintaining this position, make circles in the air with the raised foot by rotating your ankle. Circle your foot back on the floor and repeat with other foot. This one exercise stretches not only the ankle but all sides of the lower leg as well. (An added benefit is that while you are holding your leg up, you are pulling in and tightening the stomach muscles.)
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