Travel Survival Guide – Part 1

All your bags are packed and you are ready to go, bikini body not quite on point, but, it’s too late now to do anymore about it.  All you need to do now is sit back relax and find out that the emergency exits are here, here and here.


Well……..sort of relax, the idea of sitting on a plane or in the car for ten hours with your knees up in your armpits, drooling on the person next to you as you take a nap, and the kids screaming and carrying on isn’t always the best part of the holiday.

Although, I can’t help you with how to stop the kids from causing a riot and embarrassing you as they scream for nine of your ten-hour plane journey;

I can, however, give you a few hints and tips to help stretch those aching limbs and unkink that neck after you have taken a few zzz’s. 

Prolonged immobility limits the body’s natural functions such as; returning blood and fluid back to the heart, thus resulting in increased risk of blood clots, swelling and DVT’s, not only whilst traveling but for some time after as well.  The more you can do to assist the body during these periods of immobility the better.  Not to mention it gives you something to do, and can actually help you feel refreshed and less fatigued after.

Here are my top exercises to perform for health, wellbeing, and general mobility whilst traveling.

Seated Exercises

Foot and ankle:

  • Prevents swelling, and the dreaded traveling ‘cankles’
  • Promotes circulation, preventing DVT’s

foot-and-ankle-1  foot-and-ankle-2


Wrists, hands and forearms:

  • You tried to pack light but of course, you still managed to be 3kg over the weight limit, think of your poor forearms as you grip, pull, push and lift your case; all those tiny muscles in there are getting a workout and need an extra bit of help to relax
  • And same as with your feet, swelling can happen here too, and no one wants to start their holiday with chipolata fingers and rings that you can’t get off







Shoulders and arms:

  • Be careful not to hit the person next to you with these ones!
  • Preventing upper body stiffness











  • When you feel that ‘kink’, best start with some gentle range of movement exercises, especially over towards the opposite side that you fell asleep on
  • You shouldn’t force the movement, the more you do, the more the movement will increase naturally, try 5-10 reps in each direction
  • These gentle movements can be followed by static stretches









Leg and Hips:

  • 10 reps each leg, trying to lift the knee as high as you can without much ‘shifting’ happening in the upper body






Standing Exercises

  • Always harder to do especially whilst on a plane, but remind yourself how you feel after a day’s work sitting at a desk; now imagine you did that day at work without a lunch break or getting up to make yourself a coffee. All those little walks you do daily will be making a difference to your body and that is what you have to deprive yourself of whilst traveling
  • Not to mention standing up and having a little walk around to do these exercises, not only gets the circulation of your blood going, and the muscles pumping, it also helps promote gut function preventing constipation

Lower Leg:







Upper Leg:








Pelvis and hips:

  • Try and make really big circles with your pelvis in both directions






Lumbar spine:

  • Important to not force the spine, only go to the range that feels comfortable for you
  • Stand with your feet slightly wider if you struggle with balance
  • 5-10 reps with a 1-3 second hold







When, how long and how many

  • Stretches can be held for 30 seconds up to one minute
  • They can be done every 30-60 minutes
  • It is important to try and stand up, have a little walk around and do the standing exercises every 60-90 minutes
  • This article has provided a lot of exercises and by all means, you don’t have to do them all before you start maybe take the opportunity to ‘listen’ to your body, ask yourself what areas feel tight, what feels like it would benefit from some extra movement at that time. By asking yourself that you can then tailor your exercises to you at that moment in time.


Happy traveling and check out for Travel Survival Guide – Part 2, where we look at the ultimate piece of workout equipment to take on holiday and the exercises that will help you to stay trim, toned, even, whilst you eat all the cake!

Written by: Stacey Curtis, Physiotherapist – Physionorth dscf3990