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Summer Slouchers

Summer is again almost upon us and it’s likely you are preparing yourself for the summer holidays. But when planning your summer holiday, have you spared a thought for your back?

Holidays are notorious for creating ‘summer slouchers’ and it isn’t difficult to see why, when you consider the amount of time spent climbing in and out of cars, trains and planes. That’s before we add time spent sitting in each mode of transport, lugging heavy suitcases, walking up and down steps and all this after months of stressful planning.

The stress of travel can also cause tension headaches, so avoid turning into a summer sloucher and follow these top tips to give your mind AND body a proper holiday:

Packing is probably the most important task when going on holiday. Take your time and follow these points below:

  • Choose luggage that fits the purpose of your trip and the transport you will be using. You will ideally be selecting something that is not too heavy, as you will need to be able to lift it from the airport carousel, boot or coach/bus compartment comfortably.
  • Select a sturdy case with wheels.
  • When packing, place the case on the bed and not on the floor. This will save you bending.
  • Travel light, you won’t use half the stuff you take anyway!
  • Take clothes that you can mix and match, as this will save you over-packing.
  • Check that your hotel has a hairdryer to save the weight in your bag.
  • Take only as much shampoo, suntan lotion etc as you will need. Bulky containers take up a lot of room.
  • Distribute your items between cases, especially if your travel partner is traveling slightly lighter.

Sitting in one position for hours on end can do as much damage to the body and spine as overexertion. Long journeys are the perfect occasion for slouching to strike, so follow these tips and give your back a pain-free holiday:

  • Try not to sit for too long in a car, plane, train or bus. Move around whenever you can and stretch out your legs.
  • Stop the car every two hours for a ten minute walk to stretch your legs, back and shoulders.
  • Stretches are extremely important and a lack of movement can lead to deep vein thrombosis, tiredness, swollen legs and sore joints.
  • You can become dehydrated in compact environments, so keep drinking those fluids.
  • If the journey is a long one, why not have a nap. Bring a cozy cushion with you and try not to arch to the left or right while sleeping. If you have a recliner, use it.


Important exercises while traveling on a plane:

  • Move your head in a circle, nice and slowly, ten times.
  • Roll your shoulders, five forwards and five backwards.
  • Stretch out your arms in front of you and circle your wrists gently, five circles left then right.
  • Stand up and raise your heels to stretch your legs.
  • Plant your heels and raise your toes (you will have to sit for this one).
  • Place your hands on your armrests and raise your knees slowly your chin.
  • Move your pelvis forward and backwards while seated.

Post by Benjamin Martin, Optimal Chiropractic,