July 6th, 2018

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy….

Sweet words from one of our favourite summer tunes. School is out and for many of us it means going on a staycation or jetting off to a foreign location. A holiday wherever it is should be a chance to relax, unwind and completely enjoy yourself. Back pain, knee strain and shoulder problems from injuries whilst on holiday is probably the last thing on your mind at this time of year but we see dozens of people every year who come back with more than just a suntan.

While the weather has been spectacular here at the moment it has been enough to throw us completely off balance. The late nights, early mornings, all over the place travel schedules, a few more beers than usual, your favourite cocktails on tap, lying on sun loungers, walking for miles and ‘once in a lifetime’ moments, all seem to take its toil on our posture.

There’s plenty of simple ways to incorporate staying healthy and active while away on holiday. So I wanted to share them with you, so you can still enjoy and make the most of your holiday.

Preparation and Packing…  

Break up your packing over a few weeks or days, so you’re spreading the preparation out and not rushing to do it quickly at the last minute, doing many repeated movements in a short space of time, which the body often doesn’t like. Ensure you place your bag on a higher surface such as a bed, to avoid repeatedly bending over to pack to avoid putting stress or pressure on your back.

Pack Light & Lift with Care… 

If you’re not used to lifting heavy items or your case is large or awkward, lift your luggage with care. You can find yourself lifting a case many times on a journey (in/out of car boot, on/off luggage trolley, on/off check in and carousel etc.) which can take its’ toll. People often think of back problems associated with lifting, but we also see many people with wrist or shoulder injuries from travelling, having carted luggage and bags around. Minimise the amount of lifting you do as much as possible, choosing a case with wheels and not overpacking! If you’re travelling as part of a family, spread the load so you have more cases, with less weight in each. Try and choose light weight cases too, to lessen the burden. If you are lifting, use your powerful leg muscles to take much of the weight and keep the weight of the case close to your body – this just helps to minimise too much stress.

Travel in Ease 

As well as standing in queues, you can spend a lot of time sitting down when traveling. When seated, try to sit with your buttocks pushed to the back of the seat. Make sure your lower back is well supported and you are not slumped. You can always take a small towel or lumbar roll with you if you like to have back support. to try to walk around the plane for 5 minutes every hour if you can, to help to reduce the load through the lower back. Make sure you drink lots of water to make sure you keep hydrated. If you’re taking on a very long drive, whenever possible, break up your journey or get out of your seat and have a good walk around.

You Gotta Keep Moving

We all feel it at some stage – the exhaustion that sets in just as you get near to your holiday.  Long periods of lying or slumped in a sun lounger  can put our backs at increased risk of a disc injury. Our bodies are made to move! They will complain if we are sedentary for too long. Try to do at least something active every hour – even if it’s just a walk, a quick swim to beat the heat!

Support your feet – Flip-flop woes:

Awesome – time off work means getting out of the work shoes and slipping your feet in to some thongs right? While we may be tempted to reach for flimsy flip-flops which offer no support, the advice here is to choose your footwear carefully. It is estimated that 200,000 people a year in the UK suffer flip-flop related injuries, and many of these injuries lead to long-term damage. Flip flops provide very poor arch support and cushioning under your heels and this can result in Achilles problems, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis in the foot, runner’s knee and even sprained ankles, as the likelihood of tripping is greatly increased.  Instead of flip flops, choose a pair of sandals, with an ankle strap for a little more support. Keep flip-flops for pool side use or beach wear, and use them for very short periods only.

Enjoy Fun Summer Activities 

Swimming, surfing, tennis, beach volleyball – the summer holidays are a great time for water and beach sports. These sports rely on the strength of the shoulder and are highly repetitive in nature. Unfortunately, even mild weaknesses can be exposed in these cases and cause an injury called ‘subacromial bursitis.’ Symptoms can include loss of strength and pain when lifting the arm, and can take a few weeks to resolve! Try to avoid long sessions in the surf or the pool, especially if you’re not a regular swimmer or surfer. If your shoulder starts to hurt playing tennis, try to stop overhead serving and keep your shots to forehand or backhand or take a good rest and try again if the pain settles. And like at home make sure you do some stretches.

Keep Yourself Hydrated  
The heat and in the intensive sunshine can be inviting and relaxing but can be dangerous if you don’t keep hydrated. It is essential you sip at cool water. Dehydration increases the risk of muscle cramps and muscle strains, which can disrupt training, so keeping well-hydrated is essential.

If you do pick up a holiday injury, you can book in to get sorted as soon as you return as we will be opened again on the 30th July.

Enjoy yourself, indulge a little and soak up your well deserved break.

Happy Holidays 

Andrea and team

Posture Doctor