Stretches for the Traveling Set

Tips and techniques on how to stay relaxed and limber when you hit the road this holiday.
5 Stretches for the Traveling Set
Whether you're traveling for a holiday, vacation, or work, getting from point A to point B can leave your body feeling like it's been packed in a box and shipped through the mail.

From a stiff neck to lower back pain brought on by lines, delays and heavy luggage, travel can take its toll.
"When traveling, our bodies get a real thrashing because we're carrying heavy bags and multitasking like crazy," says Darrin Zeer, a yoga instructor, corporate relaxation consultant and author of Travel Yoga.

So, be prepared. Before you hit the road for your next trip, print out and try these stretches, adapted from Zeer's Travel Yoga, to help relieve the inevitable stress of modern travel.

When You're Waiting in Line
To ease strain on your lower back, stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Imagine that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head. Feel your spine lift into a straight line, and let your shoulders relax downward and back. Soften your jaw muscles, relax your eyebrows, lower your chin and breathe deeply. This simple shift in posture can improve both your physical well being and your mood.

When You're Trapped in an Airplane Seat
While sitting, cross your left leg over your right. Place your right hand or elbow on the crossed knee. Gently turn your body to the left and look behind you. Switch legs and twist the other way.

When Turbulence Hits
If you're feeling flying anxiety, try this quick calming exercise. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders, relax tight muscles and release facial tension. Slow down your breathing by making your exhalations twice as long as your inhalations. If you're still tense, repeat a relaxing phrase to yourself, such as "I am calm."

When You're Stuck in Traffic
Raise your shoulders to your ears, hold, breathe and then drop. Roll one shoulder and then the other in wide circles in both directions.

When You Get There
If you're still feeling battered when you get where you're going, some activity can help. "Usually, we go straight for the television or the mini-bar," says Lisa Wheeler, a certified personal trainer in New York City. Instead, go for a 20-minute walk. "It doesn't require any special equipment or clothing," she says, "but it's a good way to keep yourself moving."

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