Last week we discussed wearing support hose and support socks to protect you against your enemies DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and PE (Pulmonary Embolism) when traveling (“Who Looks After The Security Of Your Legs“). Well, you are finally preparing for that trip of a lifetime (one that lasts more than 5 hours). If you have ever had a DVT or have a family history of DVT, a trip to your physician might be in order. Discuss with your physician if a preventative dose of asprin or low-molecular-weight heparin would be appropriate for you. Once this is done, be sure you have a good pair of knee high or thigh high support socks or support hose. Be sure and wear them for your trip and for three days after you arrive at your destination. The support socks or support hose do you no good if they are in your bag!
If you are flying choose an isle seat so you can get up and move around easily. If you are traveling by other means, be sure when you stop for gas or bathroom break to take a few extra minutes to walk around and keep your circulation moving. Don’t just sit there – do something. If you are traveling by plane and the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is lit, here are some exercises you can do (some of these are from Boston Magazine):
With your toes pointed, lift right leg off the floor and make circle eights with your foot: repeat with left leg. Repeat both several times.
Place heel on floor and rotate to toes to simulate walking. Do this at least 8 to 10 times with each foot. This activates the calf muscle pump to increase circulation.
Sit up tall and put your hands on your knees. Nod your chin down, then roll your head to the right, then back to the left until you have completed a full circle. Do 8 to 10 neck rolls each direction.
In your seat, place the back of your hand on the small of your back. Then turn your head left and look down. You will feel a deep stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do up to 3 to 5 reps on each side.
Seated Cat Stretch
Begin in a tall seated position with hands on your knees. Bring upper body towards your lap, rounding your back shoulders and neck and hold for 1 to 3 seconds. Then lift your chest and your neck, arch your back and hold. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
In your seat, hold your mid-thigh so that your thumbs are against your inner leg. Squeeze your legs so you can feel them press against your hands, hold for 3 to 5 seconds and then release. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
When the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is off:
Standing Calf Raises
Stand up and slowly lift your heels off the floor for a three count, and then slowly lower them back down: repeat 10 times.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Press hour hips forward, to the right, then back, and complete a circle. Do the 8 to 10 times in each direction. Try this while waiting for the bathroom.
Sort-of Side Lunges
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width, and shift your weight to your right leg, then lightly bend you right knee. Then shift back to the left leg and bend the left knee. Continue alternating 8 to 10 times.
You may feel a little awkward…don’t worry these exercises are much more subtle than the person doing yoga in the seat beside you! Drink lots of water (avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrate you), choose healthy snacks, and get up in move around frequently. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.
Here’s to a wonderful journey,