Get Ready to Sit
Chris Hook, TPI-FP3, Strong First Team Leader, FMS2
It’s the beginning of summer and it is that time of year when kids are getting out of school and vacations are just around the corner. This post is relevant for any time that you are traveling, but right now it seem like everyone is getting ready for some travel. Even Dr. Mike is getting ready for a vacation. Although, many of the people we work with travel on a regular basis, this time of year feels appropriate for a post on airport mobility. The airport is a strange place. You can sometimes be trapped for 1-2 hours waiting to sit on an airplane for potentially many hours depending on where you are going. Whether it is a 50 minute flight from LAX to Vegas, a 5.5 hour flight across the U.S.; or 16 hours from L.A. to New Zealand to play Tara Iti, you can benefit from stretching and walking around in the airport instead of sitting.
Security can be a bummer. You get to the airport extra early so you have time to get through security. Sometimes you fly right through and then you are left waiting. Other times you get to security and it looks like Tiger Woods might as well be there signing autographs and handing out hundred dollar bills. Standing in a slow moving crowd in security might actually be better than zipping through and being left on the other side with nothing to do but sit.
So, you get to the gate and there are rows of chairs. So why not take a seat and relax before you get on your flight, right? Sitting is not a bad thing but it can be very uncomfortable on an airplane. Unless you are flying in a premium seat, the sitting that you are going to do on the airplane is not comfortable or leisurely. I am a pretty medium sized guy, but even I don’t fit in an airplane seat.
Sitting in general shortens your hip flexing muscles; shuts down your glutes, puts your thoracic spine into flexion; and encourages forward head posture. No, sitting is not inherently bad; and we are not saying that you should not ever sit. But, it is good to sit less, move more, and work on your flexibility and mobility. The airport is a great place to do that. Instead of parking yourself in a chair waiting to sit on your flight; take a walk. Seriously, do some laps, cruise the airport. Chances are the people watching is pretty awesome. See if you can make your legs a little tired, so they are ready to sit.
Then do The Daily Habit. But yes we know, sometimes The Daily Habit puts you on the ground. I think most of us would prefer not to lay on an airport carpet/floor. The drill/stretch from The Daily Habit that is suggested for “on the course” each week is usually something that travels well and requires no ground contact. So, there will definitely be something in there that will work well in this situation. However, here is a quick video of threes things you can do to open your hips, mobilize your thoracic spine, stretch your chest, hamstrings, and calves. The sets and reps are in the video. There is no contact with the ground in any of these movements, they will provide you some great movement to get you ready to sit.
Here is a gif for a modification of the Cossack stretch, just in case;)
...and when you land and get to where you are going this is a great trio of movements to help your body feel good after being on an airplane.