Here are some quick and easy stretches to keep you active and mobile.
Travelling has become a regular part of our modern lives. Whether it’s for business or leisure, being stuck in a cramped seat for long periods of time, along with changes in air pressure and moving through multiple time zones, can wreak havoc on our bodies; even for the fittest of travellers. Here are some quick and easy stretches to keep you active and mobile (Some can even be done from your seat!). However, make sure you walk about too, to keep the blood circulating. The body can sometimes find it hard pumping the blood from your legs back to your heart so aim to go for a walk every 2 hours.
Rag Doll (Forward Fold)
Feet hip distance apart and fold your body over your thighs. I like to grab opposite elbows with opposite hands and gently swing from side to side. Target area is your spine, to release and soften, so bend your knees as much as you need to allow this. This is not a hamstring stretch although these can be lengthened here too.
Yogi Squat (or Anti Chair Pose As I Like to Call It)
Bring your elbows on the inside of your knees, maintain a tall spine but try not to sink down into the hips. Lift up just an inch so you really engage the muscles around the hips and press through the outside edges of your feet. Don’t worry if your heels lift, this could be a number of things, tightness in the hips or ankles or just the way your bones are built. I find gentle rocks from side to side help alleviate any initial stiffness. Use your elbows to guide the hips open a little wider, but don’t force them.
Not only does this help open the hips, ankles, groin and Achilles, but strengthens the legs, feet, calves and ankles as well as relieving lower back pain.
See if you can hold this for up to 1 minute! Then once this feels ok, repeat this 3 times holding up to a minute each time with a little break in between.
Seated Pigeon – (You Can Even Do This At Your Seat)
Keep the foot resting on your opposite leg active and flexed to protect the knee. If you can get enough out of the stretch by keeping your spine straight, then stay here. If you want more, tilt your body forward until you feel it enough. Enjoy the stretch in the hip rotators, glutes (bum muscles) and IT bands (that run down the outside edge of your thigh).
Wide Legged Forward Fold
This stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves, hips, low back, and spine. This really gets deep into tight areas in my hamstrings! Make sure you press into your feet, lengthen the legs and press the hips up towards the ceiling. You can also clasp the hand behind you draw your fist over your head. This incorporates a nice shoulder opener too.
I love twists! They are great to keep the spine moving in its natural range of movement and help get rid of toxins! It’s important to lengthen the spine before twisting to create space between every vertebra. Daily practice of this pose can reduce back and neck pain.
Leg cradle stretches thigh, hamstring, and calf muscles and releases tightness in hip muscles and hip flexors. This my all time favourite to relieve tight hips. Gently rock the leg from side to side. This increases your range of motion, boosts circulation, and may also help to alleviate back pain.
Make sure you keep hydrated! I aim to drink about 1 litre of water every 2-3 hours. I always find there’s a lot of stodgy food on planes and not much choice. With change in air pressure, you can also bloat more easily, so make sure you have healthy snacks at hand such as fruit, raw veg, nuts, seeds, raw nut butters (you can get these in individual sachets – Pip & Nut and Mindful Bites) and bars (Squirrel Sisters, Love Raw and Pulsin are my favourites). This might incur a bit of food prep before hand but you will thank yourself after!
Stretching is so important to incorporate into your daily routine – I can’t stress this enough! Benefits include increased flexibility, mobility, better posture, improved circulation, stress relief and preventing injury. Please try and make time for it. Similarly, you can come to one of my stretch classes at Core Collective and see what it’s all about.