Keep the body mobile and tension free while traveling with this great set of stretches and exercises.
Try to complete these once an hour for the duration of your travel and follow the guidelines on how long to do each one.
1. Shoulder Shrugs
From your seated position, lift your chest and sit up tall. Slowly lift your shoulders up towards your years and then lower back down.
Repeat 15 times.
Benefits: Shrugs improve blood flow to the head, neck and shoulders reducing the chance of tension headaches.
2. Neck Stretch
Sitting up tall, gentle hold one side of your end and then ease the head down towards the shoulder and hold until you feel a stretch down the side of your neck.
Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice on both sides.
Benefits: Neck stretches reduce tension through he neck and shoulders
3. Chest & Back Stretch
Gentle place your hands behind your head, keep the spine upright slowly pull your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together until you feel a stretch across your chest.
Now gentle lean to one side to bring the stretch down into your lower back and waist.
Hold all parts of the stretch for 30 seconds each. Repeat all parts twice.
Benefits: A great stretch to open up the chest and reverse the tight and rounded position in the upper body that happens when we travel long distances
4. Seated Twist
Move forward towards the front of your seat. Place your hand on opposite thigh and then gentle pull yourself around to the side, lifting your chest and then looking back towards the seat.
Hold this position for 30 seconds on each side and repeat twice.
Benefits: Twisting at the spine is wonderful for increase mobility and reduce stress.
6. Back Stretch
From your seat, sit tall link your hands together and push them up towards the roof.
Hold this tall position for 1 minute.
Benefits: Release tension around the lower and mid back, great when you have been seated for long periods of time.
7. Seated Calf Raises & Ankle Circles
Start by lifting your heels up from the floor and lowering down, repeat this 20 times.
Now lift one foot and circle 10 times to the right and 10 times to the left, repeat this other foot.
Benefits: When travelling and sitting for long periods of time the feet and ankles can swell as the blood flow is reduced, walking around regularly and completing these exercises will help to increase the blood flow and reduce the risk of the blood pooling in the lower body.
8. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Find space in the gangway, stand with your hips facing forward. Step one foot forward and now tip forward from your hips. Keep the spine long and as you lower you will feel the stretch down the back of the thigh.
Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do this twice on each leg.
Benefits: A seated position will always shorten the hamstring muscles which can cause lots of discomfort around the lower back and hips. These stretches will help to reduce the risk of this happening when traveling.
Author: Gareth Nock
This time of year we find ourselves hibernating in our beds in the fetal position 'till March break sends us beach bound or the spring thaw frees us to enjoy the outdoors frostbite free. Although adorable, grizzly bears do not have a desirable beach body physique. Here, I've listed six excellent techniques you can use right now to energize the mind and heat up your body. Three are yoga Asana/poses/postures and three are Pranayama/breath of life/energy.
1. Cat/Cow Flow
Begin in neutral spine on all fours with your knees directly underneath your hips, hands under your shoulders, fingers spread wide. If you are being mindful of our wrists, choose fists instead of flat palms. On exhalation, tuck your tailbone between your legs, drawing your belly button up toward your spine; lifting your mid-back towards the ceiling and tucking your chin toward your chest. On inhalation, lift your tailbone toward the ceiling, arching your lower back; drop your belly toward the floor; and expand through your chest by lifting your heart-centre and the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
Begin standing with your feet wider than your hips; toes turned out slightly; arms extended tall and wide. As you exhale, begin to draw a big circle with your arms; bending your knees as you reach your hips back; and complete the bottom of the circle with your arms. Inhale back to the top the same way you came. Visually, this will look like you are scooping down to pick some lovely flora.
3. Heart Opener
This one is great if you've missed your lunch break vinyasa because you are swamped at work. It can be done at your desk as a quick caffeine free pick-me-up. Seated on a chair, sit slightly forward or away from the backrest. Bring your hands to the sides of the chair and hold onto the seat. Draw your shoulders down toward your rib cage and lengthen the crown of your head to the ceiling. As you inhale, lift your chin slightly as you expand though the upper chest. As your chest/shoulder mobility increases over time, you may bring your hands back along the seat toward the back rest.
First, begin in a posture that allows spinal alignment; this may be seated cross legged, in a chair or laying down.
1. Breath of fire.
To practice breath of fire, think of an excited dog panting or me: red-faced, post bodycombat class. Keep the breath travelling through the nose to keep heat from escaping the body. Focus on the exhalation of breath and contraction of the abdomen in a rhythmic manner. Can be done one or two breaths per second. **Tip: have tissues on hand as this can be very cleansing for the sinuses!
2. Ujjayi breath
The nickname 'Darth Vader' breath should explain this one well. By gently contracting the muscles at the top of the throat, we are both energizing and heating that area and the breath as it passes through. Because we are keeping the mouth closed, this heat continues to build with each slow, deep breath.
3. Expansive Breath
Start by bringing your breath into your belly, then expanding up into the ribs and chest. From there, lengthening into sides and widening through the back of the body. Once you feel that fullness of breath through the whole of the torso, bring it a little higher into the base of the throat. This is one full inhalation. Then we want to slowly purge that breath from the body completely.
Note: It is natural to feel lightheaded or giddy the first time you try these breathing techniques. This is due to the detoxification process and the increase in oxygen in the blood stream. Start with a short practice period of ten breaths and the rest. Build from there!
Author: Pam Condotta
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Gareth is a UK born fitness guru, presenter and blogger based in Toronto. He has been working in the fitness industry for the past 12 years.
In addition, he has been helping people overcome negative thought patterns and beliefs that limit them from achieving their goals.
Gareth currently teaches group exercise classes and coaches small group training at Goodlife Fitness. He also works in fitness education with the Kbell Training Academy.
Find his class schedule here.
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Pam is a registered Yoga instructor, Thai Yoga Massage practitioner and Personal Trainer based in Toronto. With six years experience in the field of fitness, she specializes in working with pre and post natal clients, seniors, rehabilitation and those with specialized needs.
She believes every moment should be embraced and loves helping others live free of physical, emotional and mental limitation. She also loves to cook!
You can check out her food blog recipes and Yoga class schedule here.
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