If you’re an athlete you will be well aware that hours of sitting on planes, trains or in cars comes part and parcel with the job. You will also be well aware that the travel can quickly leave you feeling worse for wear (especially if traveling cattle class).
The spinal consultants at The Brisbane Spine Clinic have put together some simple tips to help reduce the aches and pains that come from sitting for long periods of time.
1. Move As Often As Possible
Moving around as much as possible is essential. Movement helps get your blood moving by increasing your heart rate a little.
Let’s face it, blood clots are not good for athletic performance! So if you’re driving, stop every few hours and go for a brisk walk. If you’re flying, stand up in the galley and do alternate calf raises with mini squats. Don’t forget shoulder rolls and shrugs to avoid a stiff neck.
2. Stay Hydrated
Getting sufficient water is a “must.” If you arrive feeling dehydrated recovering can take time. Stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and remember to check your urine’s colour (not the most pleasant job). The colour of your urine can be telling – if it’s not pale yellow, you’re likely dehydrated.
3. Adjusting To Your Time Zone Early
Changing time zones can throw off your internal circadian clock. As a rule of thumb, it requires one day to accommodate a one-hour time change. So, if you have a three-hour time difference, it can take up to three days to adjust. Therefore, if your training schedule allows it, start your time change early by getting up earlier or sleeping in later by one hour a day depending on the time zone change.
4. Rest Up Before Travelling
Sleep is a key component of a good performance. Less sleep + international travel = extended recovery times. Top up your “sleep bank” well before you travel as you will inevitably lose sleep on your trip.
5. Be Careful Lifting Heavy Bags
Your lower back be more susceptible to injury after hours spent sitting, lifting heavy bags off luggage carousels and jumping in and out of cars. Start flexing and bending your lower back while you’re waiting for your bags.
Secondly, be conscious of your technique as you lift your bags. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time by turning your core muscles and using your legs.
6. Don’t Be Tempted By Sleeping Tablets
Combine travel, crossing time zones, and pre-event nerves and sleep can prove elusive. It can be tempting to try sleeping pills to get back into your sleep routine. However, some drugs take days or weeks to be eliminated from your system.
The team at the Brisbane Spine Clinic understands that as an athlete you are required to constantly travel and consistently perform at a high level, placing a huge demand on your body.
At the Brisbane Spine Clinic we aim to help athletes with:
- All types of sport specific injuries
- All types of posture related conditions (including but not limited to, neck and shoulder pain, low back pain, headache etc)
- Any overuse sports injuries (including but not limited to, rotator cuff tear, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip pain and bursitis, ACL rehabilitation, patellofemoral pain syndrome, hamstring tear, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis to name a few)
- Athletes of all levels, looking to maintain top physical condition and looking for a program to maximise muscle function and sports performance
*Please note, content within this article is for educational purposes only and treatment and advice mentioned may not be suited for everyone. Please consult a team member at the Brisbane Spine Clinic or your General Practitioner for specific advice.