Whether you are on a long flight across country or a three hour drive, traveling can take its toll on your body.
In just a short amount of time, you can feel your hip flexors, hamstrings, chest, and shoulders tighten up. Then, next thing you know, your back and neck start to knot up and your feel your shoulders slump forward. Ouch!
We all know the pain that can come with traveling and the last thing you want to do is to start off a trip feeling stiff and achy. Luckily, with the proper stretches we can reverse a lot of the stiffness and pain that comes from sitting for too long and lugging around heavy bags.
Here we have seven easy stretches that you can do to help you ease your travel stiffness, aches, and pains.
7 Stretches After A Long Flight
Hold each pose for 30 seconds. For poses that switch sides, hold for 30 seconds per side.
Standing Figure 4
This stretch helps to release the glutes and the lower back. We recommend standing by a wall or railing that you can hold on to.
- Begin standing up with your feet together with your left hand on your hip or holding onto a wall. Pick up your right foot, bend the knee, and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Keep your right foot flexed and engage your lower belly.
- Bend your left leg and sit back like you are sitting into a chair. Sit low enough to feel a stretch through your right hip. Place your right hand on your inner right thigh to deepen the stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly stand up and release. Switch sides.
Kneeling Neck Release
This stretch helps to release the quadriceps, lower back, and the sides and back of the neck.
- Start by kneeling down on the floor in a tabletop position with your thighs together. Walk your hands back towards your knees, and lower your hips back to sit on your heels. Lift your chest to an upright position and feel the quadriceps stretch.
- Take your right arm behind your lower back and catch the right wrist with your left hand. Point your left elbow back behind you. Keep your head facing forward as you slowly lower your left ear towards your left shoulder. Feel the right side of your neck release. Try not to force it, just let gravity do its work here. Pause here for 15 seconds.
- After 15 seconds, take some half circles with your neck by rolling your chin down towards your chest then rolling your left ear back towards your left shoulder. Repeat for 15 more seconds, then bring your head up to center and let everything go. Switch sides.
Tip: If kneeling back on your heels is uncomfortable, you can modify by sitting upright in a chair.
This classic yoga pose will help relieve your tight hamstrings, calves, lower back, and lats.
- Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Pull your lower belly in to engage your core.
- Tuck your toes under and press into your palms to pick your knees up, and lift your hips towards the ceiling.
- Keep pressing firmly through your palms to press your chest back towards your thighs. Continue to pull your lower belly in to reach your tailbone towards the ceiling and find a nice long spine. Straighten out your legs and release your heels towards the ground to feel a stretch through the calves and hamstrings. If you have trouble keeping your back straight, just keep a bend in your knees. Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly lower back down to your knees.
This stretch helps release the hips, glutes, and the lower back.
- Begin standing with your feet out wider than hips-width distance. Have your heels in and toes pointing out. Bring your palms together at your heart.
- Engage your lower belly and keep your chest upright as you begin to bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground.
- Once your hips are lower than your knees, press your thighs open with your upper arms. Continue to keep your chest lifted and squeeze your shoulder blades together to avoid a rounded upper back. Keep the pinky toe edges of your feet pressing into the ground and your belly engaged. Hold for 30 seconds then slowly stand back up.
This stretch opens up tight hip flexors and hamstrings.
- Start kneeling on the ground. Place both hands on the ground in front of you and step your right foot outside of your right hand. Wiggle the foot forward until your ankle is slightly in front of your knee.
- Press your hips forward to feel a stretch through the hip flexors and hamstrings on the right leg. Then, keep your hands on the ground as you tuck your left toes and lift your left knee to hover off the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly lower your back knee down. Switch sides.
Seated Cow Face Arms
This stretch opens up the shoulders, chest, and the triceps.
- To begin, sit on the ground with your legs crossed in an easy position. Sit up tall and engage your lower belly.
- Reach your right arm up over your head and bend the elbow to take your right hand behind your neck. Place your left hand on top of your right elbow to feel a stretch through the triceps.
- Keep your right hand behind your head and take your left hand back down by your side. Bend your left elbow and take the arm behind your lower back. Reach your left hand up your back. See if you can get your fingers to touch behind your back. If not, grab ahold of your shirt. Sit up tall, pressing your head back into your right forearm. Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly release. Switch sides.
Bound Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This stretches the hamstrings, hips, lower back, chest, and shoulders and releases the spine.
- Begin standing with your feet out wide. Point your toes forward so that your feet are parallel.
- Take both hands behind your lower back and interlace your fingers. Squeeze the heels of your palms together to touch. Have a slight bend in your knees and engage your belly.
- Take a breath in to puff up your chest, then fold forward as you exhale. Keep a slight bend in your knees and allow your hands to lift away from your lower back. Let your head hang heavy to allow your neck to release. Hold for 30 seconds then very slowly rise back up to stand.
(Your Next Workout: 9 Easy Stretches to Release Lower Back and Hip Pain)