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San Clemente Journal

Simple Exercise for Holiday Travel

Nov 05, 2005 04:36PM ● By Don Kindred

by Dr. Bradley Shapero

The holidays can be both exciting and stressful. Most of the time when a person gets sick it is not necessarily that he or she has been exposed to something, it is simply that their body has been run down and their resistance is lowered. Increasing resistance to illness is actually multi-faceted. Keeping resistance high requires a nervous system free from interference, as well as maintaining proper hydration, nutrition and stress relief.
During the holidays do not neglect your body. Even though you are on the run be sure to have your spine checked to keep those nerves working well, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. In addition do not abandon your stretching and exercise. 
Believe me I am fully aware of attempting to cram as much as possible in just a few hours so you can catch that boat, train or plane for your holiday travel. Or even simply trying to get out of town before the rush hour hits. Just reading about it may already raise your blood pressure. Take a deep breath and relax. In fact deep breathing is a great way to relax. Taking slow, deep and steady breaths will help relax your entire body while you are traveling and you can even close your eyes, unless of course you are driving, then we recommend keeping your eyes open.
It is important to exercise while traveling. When on a plane or in a car there are many in seat exercises you can perform. Roll your shoulders, wrists and ankles frequently to encourage circulation, and alternate lifting your legs at intervals during your ride to avoid stiffness.
One of the best tools for exercising while traveling is tubing. It is light, takes up very little space and can be used for jumping rope. If jumping rope is too strenuous for you, try taking a brisk walk, swinging your arms to increase heartrate. Other travel friendly exercises may include pushups, bicycles (for the abdominal muscles), jumping jacks and isometric exercises (the tightening and releasing of muscle groups). Stretching will help keep you from getting stiff while increasing circulation and reducing fatigue.
If you are changing time zones get out in the natural light as quickly as possible, this will help reduce jet lag by assisting your body’s circadian rhythms to readjust. Sunlight is powerful in accomplishing this.

The following is a great routine for travel:
Warm Up 3 to 5 minutes. 
    The purpose of the warm up is to increase blood flow to all parts of the body. Any activity that involves movement for the majority of the body, such as running in place, inverted bicycle or jumping jacks will do. Start slowly increasing to a moderate rate. 
Stretch - 5 minutes 
    Shoulder, arm and side 
Elbow behind head. Slowly bend as you pull, alternating the procedure to work the opposite arm. 
    Low back
Pull knees to chest—roll onto back
    Torso - from seated position, place right foot outside of left knee. Extend left arm outside of right knee, turn and look behind you. Reverse procedure to work opposite side. 
    Hamstring, Low back and Hips 
Sit with legs spread in front, pull right leg into crotch. Bend and reach first to the left knee, then to right keeping head upright. Alternate procedure. 
    Inner thigh - Pull soles of feet together and towards the crotch, keeping hands clasped on the feet, feeling a pull in the groin area, then bend forward slowly, keeping head straight.
    Thigh - Stand on one foot and pull the foot to the back of that leg. Slowly lean forward, alternate procedure. 
Strength - 15 minutes 
    The exercises in this section will tone, strengthen and increase the muscle endurance. There will be an increase of your heart rate and blood flow. Take about 20-30 seconds of rest between each exercise. Adjust according to your fitness level.
Push-ups (Beginners) - If unable to push body weight in this fashion, leave knees in contact with the floor throughout the exercise. Do 10- 35. 
Push-ups (Advanced) - This exercises the chest, shoulders and arms. While lying in the prone position, place hands directly next to the shoulders palm down. Keeping as straight as possible, extend arms so body is supported only by the hands and toes. Slowly lower body by bending arms until chest just touches the floor. Extend arms returning to the upright position. Do 10-35.
Shoulder Raise (Shoulder, Upper back)
Standing in an erect position with feet apart, raise arms directly up from sides as far as allowed by flexibility. Lower slowly. Weighted objects in each hand will increase the benefit. (Towels, books, shoes, loaded hangers). Do 10-30. 
Seated Dips (Shoulders, arms) 
Place hands on the edge of the bed or chair, palms down and about shoulder width apart. Extend legs out in front and lower your body by bending arms as far as flexibility will allow, then return to the starting position by extending arms. Do 5-30. 
Towel Pull (Upper Back) - Roll a towel and place one or both feet in the middle. Pull hands tight to the chest at the same time resisting with the foot and leg. Reverse the procedure , extending the leg and resisting with the hands and arms. 
Sit-ups (Beginners) Abdomen Lay on back with knees bent and hands on abdomen. Tuck chin, curl upper body, lifting shoulders off the floor. Return slowly to starting position. 
Sit-ups (Advanced) - Lay on back with feet in chair. Place hands on top of head, draw elbows between knees and sit up. Slowly return to start. Increase difficulty by placing body close to chair and twisting at the top of the sit-up. 
Back Tightener (Low back and buttocks) - Lay face down and spread eagle. Try to raise arms , legs and chest as much as possible off the floor. Count to six slowly and return to the starting position carefully. Rest for a count of six, and repeat up to six times. 
Lower Body (Hip, Buttocks, Thighs, Calves) - Stand erect with hands on back of head and feet apart. Stride forward until other knee just touches the floor and push back up immediately. Alternate right and left leg. Do 5-15 on each leg. 
Cool Down 2-3 minutes 
This should be similar to the warm up, but done at an easy pace. b