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17 Wed

Summer Travel Part II: Tips for long plane and car rides

Summer Travel Part II: Tips for long plane and car rides


We love to sit. The problem is we aren’t designed to sit for very long periods of time. Our joints stiffen up, muscles get weaker, our lungs can’t expand as they should, and our blood flow is restricted. To make matters worse, we tend to slouch which leads to upper and lower back problems. So what can you do? Many car seats and particularly plane seats are notorious for forcing you into a slouched position because of how they are designed.

Tip #1: Take a pillow with you as a lumbar support. It will make you sit up straighter without much effort.

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Tip#2: Joints should be moving not sitting. Perform simple sitting ROM exercises as outlined below to keep your joints limber. Perform some of these exercises every hour. This is harder to do if you are the driver of the car. Remember your safety is most important. If the exercises distract you from driving, perform them when you are stopped at a rest area.

 plane exercises

Tip#3: Take a standing break if possible. This is not always possible on a plane, but certainly when driving try to stop every 2 hours or so. Spend a few minutes walking and stretching out your body.

Tip #4: Deep Belly Breathing is an excellent way to keep your lungs clear and working well. It also helps to lower your BP and relax your muscles. Keep you shoulders relaxed and take a deep breath by expanding your stomach. 

If you have any questions about long car or plane travel, feel free to contact us by calling Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo /

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