Whether you’re taking a road trip with the girls or flying to see your grandkids, these easy, natural strategies help you stay healthy while traveling so you to enjoy every minute of your journey and arrive at your destination feeling great!
Dodge road aches with a truckers’ stretch
Even if we love to travel, 78 percent of us feel achy by the time we reach our destination. To block pain, adopt a trick that big-rig drivers use: Sit in the car sideways with your legs out the door. Lift one leg and cross your ankle over your opposite knee. Lean forward until you feel a stretch; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg. This boosts blood flow to muscles, per Florida State University research, preventing them from seizing up.
“Our research suggests that static muscle stretching performed regularly can have a real impact by increasing blood flow to muscles in the lower leg,” said the study’s lead researcher Judy Muller-Delp, professor in the College of Medicine. “This highlights that even individuals who struggle to walk due to pain or lack of mobility can undertake activity to possibly improve their health.”
Outsmart flyer’s leg pain with pine bark
Turns out evergreen trees may hold the key to preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), painful blood clots that can form in the legs when we sit for long stretches on a plane, bus or car. Research published in Minerva Cardiology and Angiology reveals that a pine bark extract known as Pycnogenol lowers DVT risk by up to 66 percent by relaxing arteries and improving blood flow. To get the benefits, take 200 milligrams about 3 hours before traveling. For extra protection, pull on a pair of compression socks before you head to your flight.
Prevent driver’s eyestrain with a ‘bridge blink’
The focus required when driving can cut your blink rate by up to 66 percent, suggests researchers studying out of Japan, leading to dry, strained eyes in less than an hour. The fix: Every time you pass under a bridge or an interstate road sign, blink five times. This simple memory “hack” reminds you to re-wet eyes, keeping vision sharp and your eyes comfortable.
Also smart: When you pull off a rest stop, try this blinking exercise: Close your eyes normally for 2 seconds, open, close the eyes normally again for 2 seconds, open and then squeeze the eyelids together tightly for 2 seconds. Studies show that exercises like this can significantly reduce symptoms of dry eye and so help you stay healthy while traveling.
Nix travel stress with a playlist
To quash travel tension, cue up a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes.” Listening to beloved music for 24 minutes (about seven songs) tames stress as effectively as prescription drugs, says scientists studying out of Canada. Sing along (especially with your passengers in the car!), and you’ll trigger a release of mood-lifting serotonin too, say University of California investigators.
Keep your eyes on the road with spiced gum
Chewing cinnamon-flavored gum when driving makes even arduous trips feel 30 percent easier, say Wheeling University scientists. Researchers found that the odor of cinnamon was linked with increased alertness and reduced levels of frustration while driving. So, keep a pack of cinnamon-infused gum in your glove compartment to stay healthy while traveling.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.