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  • Writer's pictureDr. Fried

Holiday Travel Tips for Spinal Health

A festive Christmas postcard looking image of a middle-aged wife and husband in the card driving to go see family. They are wearing santa hats and smiling at each other.

Greetings to the Season of Travel and Joy!

As we approach the holiday season, many of us are eagerly anticipating festive travels to reunite with loved ones or explore new destinations. However, for those of us over 50 and leading an active lifestyle, it's essential to keep our spinal health in check while on the move. Long hours of sitting in cars or planes, lifting luggage, and sleeping in unfamiliar beds can challenge our spines. But fear not! With some smart strategies, we can enjoy our holiday travels without compromising our spinal well-being. Let's dive into some tips that will keep your spine happy as you journey through this joyous season.

1. Packing Smart and Light

Remember, what you pack and how you pack it can significantly impact your spinal health. Opt for a lightweight, wheeled suitcase to avoid strain on your back and shoulders. When packing, distribute the weight evenly and avoid overloading. A lighter load means less strain on your spine.

2. Ergonomic Traveling - Holiday Travel Tips

Whether you’re driving or flying, maintaining good posture is key. Use lumbar support cushions to maintain the natural curve of your spine. In a car, adjust your seat so your knees are slightly higher than your hips, and take regular breaks to stretch. On a plane, stand up, walk around, and stretch your legs every hour or so.

3. Mindful Lifting of Luggage

Lifting luggage can be a common culprit for spinal issues. Bend your knees and use your legs, not your back, when lifting. Avoid twisting your spine; instead, pivot your feet. Keep the load close to your body to minimize strain.

4. Staying Hydrated and Nourished

Hydration is key for overall health, including spinal health. Drink plenty of water during your travels. Also, pack healthy snacks like nuts and fruits to keep your energy up and prevent stiffness.

5. Simple In-Transit Exercises

Incorporate simple stretches or exercises while seated or standing during your travel. Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, and ankle circles can improve circulation and prevent stiffness. Gentle spinal twists can also be beneficial, as long as they’re done carefully.

6. Choosing the Right Footwear

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes, especially if your travel plans involve a lot of walking or standing. Good footwear provides a solid foundation and helps maintain proper spinal alignment.

7. Mindful Sleeping Arrangements

Unfamiliar beds and pillows can disrupt your spinal alignment. If possible, bring your own travel pillow that supports your neck. When sleeping in a different bed, try to maintain your usual sleeping position.

8. Listen to Your Body

Finally, be attentive to your body’s signals. If you start feeling discomfort, take a break, stretch, or change positions. Ignoring minor aches can lead to more significant issues.

Embrace the Season with a Healthy Spine

By following these holiday travel tips, you can look forward to your holiday travels with confidence, knowing your spine is well cared for. Remember, it’s the little things we do that can make a big difference in how we feel. Here’s to a season filled with joy, adventure, and spinal health!

Happy travels and happy holidays!

Dr. Fried



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