It’s around this time of year in Albury/Wodonga that some of our “seniors” start to head North for the Winter; our “seniors” at Osteohealth are doing the same thing.
On the back of a fantastic family trip to the Kimberley 2 years ago, Tom and I are in the midst of prepping the ute, camper trailer, kids, business and home for a 5 week trip. This time we will be venturing to Cairns, Cape York, Lawn Hill and Western Queensland, concluding in Albury via Manangatang late July.
To say we are excited is an understatement.
We are in a very privileged position to even be contemplating this trip. At Osteohealth we have an excellent team who are more than capable of taking care of you whilst we are away (Tom and Lisa who?). Our daughters, Clare (10) and Lucy (8) are enthusiastic campers and able to take leave from school to join us. We have access to a camper trailer. We have our health to enable us to fully experience the vast Australian landscape and experiences that The Cape has to offer.
The high number of traveller’s who venture North for Winter has prompted us to provide a few tips to ensure you stay fit to enjoy your experience to the fullest. While this blog is aimed at those heading off on a driving holiday, it is certainly not limited to that and most information can be translated to those who may be flying.
Many of the injuries we see at Osteohealth are preventable. The greatest cause of preventable pain and disability is inactivity or immobility. Our body is a brilliant and clever machine, capable of healing itself but it craves movement. Without movement we lose strength, muscle control and ultimately joint movement. When we take a holiday, which often requires different behaviours, challenges and activities, our body lets us know!
This need to move is highlighted by the fact when you take a long drive, you may get out of the car feeling a little stiff and sore in your lower back. The solution to this can be as simple as a 2 hourly stop. Get out of the car, walk around it (useful to check over your vehicle) and get back in. Taking as little as one minute and adding only a minute to your travel time.
Lisa’s top tips to remain safe when traveling:
- Regular rest breaks. At least 2 hourly. That’s for me and I consider myself pretty fit. For those a little older or with ongoing injuries, consider 1-1.5 hourly. Stand up straight, stretch and walk around your vehicle. Jump back in your car within 1 minute. It really doesn’t blow out your trip time, especially if you consider this simple “habit” can enable consecutive long days of travel without being floored by a severe episode of back pain. Prevention is better than cure!
- Eat in the car. Don’t worry about the kids (and husband’s) mess. When you do pull over, it means you can stand, walk around and stretch to alter your body posture immediately rather than sit again to eat. ^ Not really our car!
- Drink plenty of water. This necessitates regular rest/nature breaks where you get up and walk around. A glass of something stronger at the end of the day also helps!
- Complete your Osteohealth stretches at the beginning and end of the day. If you haven’t got any of your own specific travel stretches, book an appointment to see us before you head off. One of our therapists can develop a specific program suitable to your age, fitness level, body type, injury history and goals of travel.
- Use cruise control if safe to do so. Cruise control enables the driver to sit in an upright and ergonomic posture. Consider utilising a lumbar support if available or grab a lumbar roll from us (they are only $22 and you’d be amazed by the difference it can make!)
- Go for a walk, run, bike ride or swim before or after your driving day. Or at the very least on your non-travel days. You cannot take every item from home. At this stage in my life I must make a choice: the husband and kids OR the bike – a tough choice! For this reason, being a little “run fit” prior to embarking on a camp trip is helpful in that it means I am able to run most days and recover. This keeps my body and head fit to cope with the next challenge camping throws at me.
- Avoid sitting after driving. If you have had a big day of travel, try to avoid sitting further at the end of the day. Refer to 6 or have a stretch on your yoga mat (see things to pack).
- Take the incidental exercise option. Park and walk to your destination whether that be a tourist landmark or to the supermarket, take the stairs rather than the lift, etc. Being the navigator/passenger/food supplier/audio book/DJ/check in lady, I often check in at camp sites and then jog ahead of the vehicle to find our allocated camp spot.
- Consider camp setup and pack up as exercise. If lifting, use the squat technique, if bending, ensure it is done correctly and safely. While it is often easier to stoop to pick up items from the ground, repetitively doing this can put pressure on the body and lead to injury. If you are unsure of these terms and techniques, catch up with us to clarify.
- Consider an appointment with us at Osteohealth before you go. We can discuss your travel plans and recommend some exercises as well as good behaviours to keep you safe while away.
What to take when you travel (*available from Osteohealth):
- Contour pillow*
- Heat pack*
- Osteohealth exercise sheet*
- Spikey ball or foam roller*
- Lumbar roll*
- Yoga mat
- Your osteopath or physiotherapist! Of course I never leave home without mine!
We look forward to returning in July, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running with new goals for an even better Osteohealth. Our aim is to provide exceptional, ethical and effective Allied Health services to Albury, Wodonga and surrounds.
Definitely do not delay in having your health seen to whilst we are away. We have fantastic continuity of care systems in place at Osteohealth so that any therapist at Osteohealth has an understanding of your condition and how best to treat it.
– Lisa Barry