Whether you’re on a plane, train, or car, the cramps and tightness that can follow on a long journey are no fun. But before you book that pricey massage or private yoga class to help you recover, consider these moves that can help ease that post-trip tension.
In today’s episode of The Fix, physiotherapist Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, CSCS from Customized treatments, goes through a series of exercises to help you relieve tension on your next flight (they also work well for other modes that require you to sit down). You can do all the exercises sitting in your chair, but be careful not to stretch in a chair mate.
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While sitting, place your hands over your body and twist back and forth. Pause so you can feel that stretch through your mid and upper back, then turn to the other side. You can put these in your seat during your flight without hitting the person next to you. Do five to eight reps on each side to “release that muscle tension in the mid-back and let that mid-back move more freely,” says Giordano.
While sitting, rotate slightly to one side to open the anterior aspect of the chest. “We have to make sure our chest stays open,” Giordano says. “Because the tighter we are here, the harder it will be for us to breathe and the tighter you’ll feel throughout your posture.” Do five to eight reps on each side.
As you sit, twist and lock one hand over the top of your other knee. “That will create the tension to stretch through this entire side of his lat all the way to his mid-back,” says Giordano. “The more we can open up this area, the less tension there will be at the front as well.” Loosening both sides will feel great. Do five to eight reps on each side.
- Figure Four Seated Stretch
Cross your foot over the other knee while sitting. “Just lean forward a little bit, create that tension, feel that stretch through this loop [in your upper thigh and specifically IT band]’ says Giordano. Pause for three seconds, then come up and repeat five to eight times to release the tension from your glute to your hamstring through the back of the posterior chain. This is a great way to open up your glutes and open up tight hips after a long period of inactivity, even when you’re at home.
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Again, as you sit, lock your hand in your inner ankle on the same side and pull the other elbow up while keeping it tight to your side and open your hand with your eyes so there is no tension in the neck. As you twist, make sure to tuck your bottom rib in so you get the full stretch through your mid-back. Do five to eight reps on each side.
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