When I go on vacation I usually end up with sore shoulder, neck, and back muscles from sitting for long stretches on airplanes, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, and being away from my normal work-out routine. Even a day of shopping or sight-seeing puts a stain on a whole new set of muscles from carrying a heavy purse, a camera, and shopping bags.
So here’s a stretching routine you can do in the tight space of a hotel, or guest bed room. All the moves are done standing so you don’t have to get down on the floor.
1. Swan dive shoulder and hamstring stretch:
Stand with feet hip width apart, inhale while reaching arms up to the ceiling, stretching the torso up through the abdomen and shoulders. Lower arms to shoulder level straight out to the sides while exhaling, bending forward from the hips and lowering finger tips to the floor in front of your toes. Feel the stretch up the backs of your legs. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 3 times
2. Lower back and oblique stretch:
Stand with feet hip width apart, bend knees and lower hips into a shallow squat as though you’re sitting on a chair (knees over ankles, butt out, back straight). Lightly grab the backs of your thighs with your palms facing up and roll your lower back to make a “c” shape. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
From the same position, move your left hand to the outside of your right thigh accentuating the reach, curl your back up into the same “c” shape, feeling the stretch down your left side. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
Stretch the opposite side (right oblique) by going back to the starting squat position and switching hands so the left hand is under the left thigh, palm up, and the right hand is on the outside of the left thigh, palm down, accentuating the reach. Curl your back up into the same “c” shape, feeling the stretch down your right side. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
3. Neck, upper back, and chest stretch:
Stand with feet hip width apart. Tilt your head so your right ear goes toward your right shoulder until you feel the stretch down your neck on the left side. Now grasp your left wrist with your right hand behind your back and gently pull the left wrist across to the center of your lower back. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times. Then switch sides and stretch the right side of your neck and shoulder.
Still standing with feet hip width apart, cross your wrists in front of your body and put the palms of your hands together, pushing your hands away from your body, arms straight. Curl the shoulders forward while widening your upper back. Feel the stretch in your upper back and hold for the count of 3. Raise hands straight up over your head, keeping elbows close to your ears. Feel the stretch in your rib cage and hold for 3 seconds. Lower arms and repeat 3 times.
From the standing position, clasp your hands behind your back pushing your hands away from your body, arms straight. Pull your shoulder blades together and raise arms behind your back to stretch your chest. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
If you do these stretches before bed with plenty of deep breathing, you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep and wake fresh and ready for another day of sight-seeing!!