Holidays. A break from the normal routine. It’s the time of year when the schools have broken up and many of us are taking our long awaited annual summer holiday. Whether you are taking a long haul flight to an exotic hot location or packing up the car and family travelling to visit relatives in the UK, this is not the time when you want to experience aches and pains and your back to spoil your time away.
We’ve put together some top tips to make sure your back is protected as you do things you might not usually do on holiday.
- When packing, use a few smaller bags rather than packing just one large heavy one. This will allow you to distribute the weight more evenly around your body.
- Using a ruck sack rather than a shoulder bag helps to evenly distributing the load across your shoulders and back, and using wheeled cases helps avoid lifting.
- Remember the correct lifting technique when moving your luggage from conveyor belts, the boot of a car, storage on coaches….. Stand straight on, as close as possible, bend at the knees and make use of your core muscles – not your back. Always avoid twisting your back when you’re lifting. Or better still, ask for help.
- Take your own pillow on holiday! If you can fit it in your suitcase, it’s worth sticking to what your body’s used to. Aim to keep your head in line with your shoulder to support your neck
- If you find the mattress at your destination is too hard, see if you can put an extra duvet or blanket under the sheet.
- Take a towel. Roll it up and use it to support your neck or lower back when you’re on the plane or behind your knees while you read your book on the sun lounger by the pool!
- Opt for an aisle seat on the plane. That way you can make sure you can easily get up and move about. Try to aim for gentle movement every half an hour.
- If you’re travelling a long way by car, try to stop regularly so you can get out and stretch your legs. Be aware of your posture!
- Even when you’re relaxing on holiday, try to get up and have a stroll every so often. Change your seated /sunbathing position every few minutes.
- When swimming, try to avoid keeping to the same stroke: vary it so you use other muscle groups. If you can only do breast stroke try not to hold your neck out of the water for long periods and put a float between your legs to rest your lower back.
- Wear sensible footwear that is going to support your spine. If you need to wear high heels, opt for wedges that are less likely to over-extend your spine.
But the absolute priority? Make sure your back is balanced and in its optimum position before you go away. That way, you’re starting out from the right place!