Tips for More Comfortable Travel: Hit the Road, Spare Your Body

Cartoon of an airplane flying in the snow

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Long hours crammed into cars, planes and trains can make even the most fit body cranky. Following a few tips and tricks can curb the chances that crankiness will creep into your neck, hips, back and mood.

Tips from A Frequent Flyer

Charleston resident Joni Nickoley, 57, is no stranger to long-distance travel. For more that 10 years, her job with a global chemical company has included frequent 10- to 14-hour trips to the Asian Pacific and beyond.

“I stay hydrated and I stretch before, during and after each trip,” Nickoley said. “When I can, I walk up and down the aisle during flights. For hydration, I carry a small hydro flask in my backpack and refill it. I also avoid soda because it causes inflammation.”
“The bags you carry matter, too,” she added. “I used to take a computer bag that hung over one shoulder. It’s better to use a backpack to distribute the weight.

Tips From a Doctor

Dr. Andrew McMarlin is board-certified in sports medicine and brings 25 years of elite athlete experience to his patients at Winning Health in Mount Pleasant.

“Make the driving part of the trip more of an enjoyable experience rather than an ordeal,” said Dr. McMarlin. “It’s easy to say, ‘Stop every two hours to stretch your back and legs,’ but when you’re on the highway, you just don’t do that unless you have it planned out already.”
“Look at a map before you go and pick some interesting spots: a scenic overlook, the World’s Largest Ball of String,” Dr. McMarlin added. “You may not want to stop to go to the bathroom, but that actually ensures you are stopping and stretching, too.”
“Having said that, you don’t have to go to the bathroom nonstop, which happens if you drink plain water,” McMarlin said. “Hydrate with fluid electrolytes such as coconut water with a little bit of juice and Natural Calm magnesium water.”
And finally, “Make sure to take care of your back. If you are not lucky enough to have one of the newer cars that has amazing lumbar support, your low-to-mid back needs stretching and added support,” he added.

Tips from Mobile Massage Therapist

Lakeisha Peay, LMT, the owner of Divine Mobile Massage, has brought relief to residents in the Greenville and Charleston areas for several years. Clients seek relief for neck, shoulder and back pains, especially after long road trips. Peay tends to offer Swedish and deep tissue massages to ease all the crankiness. Clients have also found relief when she uses hot towels or hot stones.

Match With These Providers

Peay sometimes travels eight hours a day to meet her clients. As a result, she practices the following tips that she preaches:

Use a heating pad when you drive or fly.
Allow yourself to stop and get snacks at the gas station; you are stretching and hopefully getting more water to hydrate.
Do stretches that include shoulder rotations and bends to touch your toes.

“I can tell the difference if I skip any of these tips,” Peay said. “My body lets me know – trust me.”

Contributing writers: Lisa Wack, Molly Sherman and Lisa Breslin

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