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Did you know that by going on vacation you can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and reduce stress? While summer is a popular time to take a vacation and relax, it is also a popular way to get injured. The last thing you want is your vacation ruined by an injury. Jane Berman, Physical Therapist at our Wayne, NJ clinic, shares helpful tips to help make your travel more enjoyable.

Pack with your back in mind
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 54,000 luggage-related injuries were reported in 2009. Many of these injuries occurred to the back, neck and shoulders and were probably caused by struggling with heavy, over-packed luggage. Berman’s advice: “Pack light. Bring 2 lighter bags versus one heavy bag to make moving each piece of luggage safer and easier.”

Stretch and move
“Spending extensive periods of time sitting can cause tightness in the hips and back,” explains Berman. If you are going to be sitting in a car or plane for a long period of time, try to maintain blood flow to your muscles. “Perform ankle pumps every 10 minutes,” Berman advises. “This will improve lower extremity circulation and prevent deep venous thrombosis, otherwise known as blood clots.”

Keep up your exercise routine
While you’re away it’s easy to spend your days lounging by the pool or sunning yourself on the beach, but taking a vacation doesn’t mean taking a break from exercise. Inactivity is a major cause of joint stiffness and pain so try taking a brisk walk on the beach for 15-20 minutes every day or do a few laps in the hotel pool. Remember, there are lots of ways to stay active on your holiday and still have fun!

Don’t overdo it!
No matter what activities you chose to do on your vacation, be conscious of your body and its needs. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and remember, everything in moderation!

Be aware of your posture
Driving at night may result in some drivers to lean forward for better vision. This causes shoulders to bend forward, giving a rounded form to the upper part of the back. Berman’s advice: “While ensuring safe driving, adjust your posture in the chair by placing a small rolled-up towel or blanket between the natural curve of your low back and the seat. Knees should be slightly bent and thigh should be parallel to the car floor.”

And always remember…
– A portable neck pillow. “This and a lumbar roll may help to support the neck and back,” says Berman.
– A backpack or waist pack. “These help to evenly distribute weight. It  also frees up your hands to hold onto railings or move other luggage.”
– High quality supportive shoes. “Slip on shoes are also beneficial when avoiding bending over during security checks.”

Wishing you and your family safe travels wherever your summer explorations take you! For more tips on how to get your muscles, bones and joints summer-ready, request an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Remember, knowledge and preparation is your best defense against future pain and injury!

 

Note: The above tips are some of the practices that Professional Physical Therapy has observed in the area of physical therapy and athletic training. While each person and activity is unique, there are some general guidelines that may reduce or lessen injury.

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