The Power of Good Posture: Overcoming Travel Challenges

In our fast-paced world, we often find ourselves sacrificing good posture for the sake of convenience. Whether it’s hunching over a laptop, slouching in front of a screen, or enduring long hours of travel, poor posture has become a widespread issue. A pandemic if we may! However, the benefits of maintaining good posture are undeniable, and it’s essential to find ways to overcome the challenges of travel that can negatively impact our posture.

I’ve sat in my fair share of cramped airplanes, and taken the brunt of 8+ hour drives. Coming from a person that has dealt with years of low back and hip challenges, getting my posture right is one of the most basic preventative measures that I can apply to my travel well-being plan!  I’ll explore the numerous advantages of maintaining good posture and tackle some practical tips for improving posture while on the go!

The Benefits of Good Posture

  • Reduced Risk of Back Pain: Good posture helps distribute the body’s weight evenly, reducing the strain on the spine and muscles, which can alleviate back pain. I’ve seen a chiropractor for years to help with low back issues, and the common theme out of every visit is to continue working on posture improvements! It’s not easy, as the draw of our work on screens, or needs of our young kids put it as an afterthought. But we’ve got to do tough things to get better!
  • Improved Breathing and Circulation: Proper posture allows for better lung function and ensures that blood flows freely throughout the body, promoting overall health. Breathing properly is huge for building health and longevity! It helps us physically, mentally and emotionally in magnificent ways. So important, that we put out a blog just on breathing alone. Check it out: Breathe Your Way to Better Health: Essential Techniques for Business Travelers
  • Better Digestion: Proper alignment of the spine aids digestion by preventing compression of internal organs. We could go off into a whole other blog about the benefits of digestion to your health. To name a few that should be very important to the business traveler: nutrient absorption, energy production, immune system support, improved mood and mental health, and detoxification.
  • Increased Confidence: Good posture exudes confidence and self-assurance, both in personal and professional settings. It can positively affect your self-esteem and how others perceive you. Being that most business travelers are traveling to be in front of customers/clients, exuding confidence is a must!
  • Better Mental Health: Studies have shown that maintaining good posture can positively impact mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This is key for the person traveling for work. You are in unfamiliar settings, likely needing to put out your best work to win client appreciation. Stress and work travel are typically synonymous. So having a combat plan in posture is huge!
  • Enhanced Productivity: Good posture can increase focus and productivity by reducing discomfort and minimizing distractions. This should be music to an employer’s ears! It’s also music to the individual who takes pride in getting their work done efficiently and effectively!


Overcoming Travel Challenges for Posture

Choose Ergonomic Travel Accessories

Invest in a supportive travel pillow to maintain neck and spine alignment during long flights or car rides. Find the one that works for you. There are so many to choose from all ranging in how they form to your body. You may need to try a few, as well as consult with your chiropractor for what may work best for you.

Use a cushion or lumbar roll to support the lower back while seated for extended periods. This has been huge for me. Airplane seats naturally slouch me into awful posture, as they have 0 lumbar support. I’ve dabbled with everything for that support, from the coat that I’m wearing rolled up, to a travel pillow (you unfortunately don’t get to use it for your neck then), and then finally I was hauling along a “board pillow” designed specifically for lumbar in a seat. Find what’s right for you!

Frequent Stretching

Take advantage of rest stops during road trips or airline seat belts off periods to stretch your body. May I suggest that you get the aisle seat. This allows more frequent ability to get up without bothering your neighbors. Also, seat yoga is a little easier (it’s actually not easy at all) when you have the freedom of the aisle. 

When in the airport, this is your prime time to really stretch out for an extended period (unless you’re mad dashing to catch the connection). It doesn’t have to be full out yoga. Avoid the crowd stares and do subtle stretches that still get you back to your mobile self. Incorporate simple neck, shoulder, and back stretches to relieve tension.

Sit with Purpose

When seated on a plane or in a car, sit all the way back in your seat with your feet flat on the floor. This is when the dumbar support comes in handy. Sitting all the way back in an airplane seat leaves your back rounded and slouched.

Avoid crossing your legs, which can contribute to poor posture. Negative effects of the crossing of legs includes altering your posture, increased risk of muscular imbalance, pressure on nerves and blood vessels, increased risk of varicose veins, hip and pelvic alignment issues, reduced flexibility, and potential spinal strain. Even when you’re not traveling, this is a huge habit that we all should attempt to break!

Monitor Your Luggage

Use luggage with wheels or a backpack to distribute weight evenly when traveling with heavy items. When using a backpack, use both straps. Get both straps tightened evenly to avoid a lean one way or the other. You ideally want the bottom of the backpack up past the waistline, allowing the curve in the spine to support the weight. Many bouts with the ruck sack has forced me to focus on this aspect of it.

Avoid carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, as this can lead to muscle strain and poor posture. I am very guilty of this as well. I’ve even been known to carry a roller bag on one side just to get a little muscle pump. Great for the arms, terrible for posture!

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water can help prevent muscle stiffness and cramping while traveling. We’ve written articles on hydration. We preach it as a staple of travel. It might as well show up here when talking about posture. We’re going to be stiff due to the nature of the cramped travel. No need to exacerbate that with dehydrated muscles. Also, another reason to be on the aisle seat. Hydration will get you up for multiple bathroom checks!

Frequent Posture Checks

Set reminders to periodically check and adjust your posture during your journey. Mindful awareness can prevent you from falling into the habit of slouching or hunching. For me, my posture can deteriorate within minutes of me bringing it to awareness. All it takes is a certain email or phone notification to put me right back in slouch mode. Like any habits, it will take time and hard work to build this into your natural existence. Starting out with just setting interval alarms will help build those habits. Also using dedicated devices with apps are great for tracking real time slouching!

Consider a Travel Yoga Routine

Travel-sized yoga mats and online classes can help you maintain flexibility and strengthen your core muscles while on the road. It’s great to find a hotel with a great hotel gym. But don’t put 100% focus on just strength and cardio training while traveling. Building in yoga to your schedule is going to save more than your posture. Yoga will balance your mental clarity and energy. Plus it’s a great way to tone your body, and rest it at the same time. If you’re new to yoga, find some simple YouTube videos to follow along with. It doesn’t have to be long. A simple 10 minute routine could make all the difference that you will need.

The benefits of good posture are numerous, from enhanced physical health and increased confidence to improved mental well-being and productivity. However, the challenges of travel can often lead to poor posture habits. By following the tips mentioned above and making a conscious effort to maintain good posture, you can ensure that your travels are both comfortable and posture-friendly. So, the next time you embark on a journey, remember that good posture is an essential companion that will serve you well in the long run!

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