Summer is the season for road trips! There’s nothing quite like cruising down the highway toward a new destination with the top down, the tunes blasting, and not a care in the world… until you start to cramp up from sitting in the same position for hours in a vehicle not necessarily designed for long-term lounging.
We’re here to provide you with some summer road trip tips to keep you feeling great throughout your travels, no matter where the road takes you.
Take Frequent Breaks to Move Around
It only takes a couple of hours in a car for muscles to start cramping and tightening. So, rather than drive long stretches or straight through to your next destination, make more frequent stops in safe areas where you have some room to walk around, stretch your legs and back, and do some quick exercises to get the blood pumping and your muscles a chance to stretch out before you get back on the road.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
This is something that many people ignore, but you’ll most definitely feel the effects of poor posture as you make your way along the road. Think about how easy it is to become lost in a book or on your phone or tablet for two or three hours. Sure, you stay entertained–but all that time, your shoulders are slumped, and your head is hanging forward, and this is certain to lead to neck and shoulder pain. Why ruin your trip when it can be avoided? All it takes is a few minor position changes.
Make sure your headrest is comfortable and provides support to your head and neck. Add lumbar support to the seat if needed–bring along a lumbar pillow or roll up a small towel to ensure your back, arms, and hips are properly supported. If you’re planning to use your phone or reading a book as a passenger, try to sit up straight and not hang your head. A phone stand or even a portable shelf can help bring the object of your focus closer to eye level. Try to relax your arms with your elbows at your sides rather than keeping them elevated and outstretched if you’re driving. This can help prevent neck tension and upper back pain.
Hydrate and Snack Healthy
How do hydration and snacking relate to physical therapy? Hydrating your body is always critical, no matter what you’re doing and where. But when it comes to road trips, staying hydrated can help you avoid muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and nausea as you travel. And it helps you stay energized. Speaking of energy, a healthy snack like fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, or nuts will keep you on top of your game throughout the road trip. Sure, staying fully hydrated may result in more restroom stops–but more frequent stops should be part of the plan anyway!
How often have you loaded up a backpack only to find yourself hunched over in pain after a few hours? Or you thought, “these brand-new shoes will be perfect for all the walking we’ll be doing on our trip!” And then you get back to your car or hotel room with your feet aching and covered in blisters.
To avoid travel nightmares like these, take some time to consider what you’re packing for and what you’ll ultimately be doing. If you know a lot of walking is involved, it’s best to pack a pair of tried-and-true, comfortable sneakers or boots that will offer the proper support and relief for your feet and legs. If your adventures require supplies, find a lightweight bag that’s comfortable to wear–and be sure not to overload it.
Enjoy Your Summer Road Trip–and Feel Great While Doing It
The whole idea of a summer road trip or a vacation is to get away from the day-to-day grind, enjoy the air and open road, spend time with loved ones, and have fun. If your body is feeling great, so will you, allowing you to make the most of your road trip. By following these tips, you’re setting yourself up for a relaxing, comfortable summer road trip you’ll never forget. But if you do get back feeling sore, call Physical Therapy NOW in Irving at (214) 225-0291, and we’ll help you get back to 100% again!