A holiday can be the best thing for your health. No desk, less stress and plenty of good wholesome activity. But there are a few things that might trip you up and leave you feeling worse for wear. Enjoy your holiday but avoid injury by answering these five questions.
Are You a Thong Person?
Don’t make the mistake of wearing thongs (or barefeet) all day if you’re not used to it. My wife regularly clocks up miles in her Havaianas, so she can easily handle a day of sightseeing in them. Whereas if I go further than a short shuffle in thongs, I struggle. So keep this in mind, especially if you’ve ever had foot or ankle pain. If you really want to free your tootsies, find a style with some heel and arch support.
Are You Daryl Braithwaite?
I hope you know the video clip for Daryl’s classic, The Horses. It’s on the beach, the horses run, Daryl runs a bit, the sun shines and everything is great. If you’re inspired to go for a run (or long walk) on the beach, feel free but remember it will work your body in a unique way. Tight calves afterwards are almost guaranteed and depending on your injury history, many other areas can be stirred up. It’s best to keep it short to start with- unless you’re Daryl, or a horse.
Why Are You Sitting Down?
Sitting down for hours and hours on a long haul flight can leave you stiff and sore. You can’t avoid sitting for long stretches on the plane, but it strikes me as odd when I see people sitting in the airport before their flight. It’s better to walk, stand and stretch in the waiting lounge, especially if you’ve a history of back pain from sitting.
Is This Massage What You Asked For?
Massage can be helpful, but we also see patients whose pain started (or worsened) on the massage table. A legitimate massage therapist that you can communicate clearly with is what you want. If you’re not so sure about them, a good rule is to make sure things stick to just ‘massage.’ Kneading of your tight muscles is unlikely to go too badly, but any other unsolicited moves aren’t worth the risk. This might be joint cracking, pushing/walking on the spine or assisted stretching, so be prepared to say ‘no thanks’ clearly enough.
Will Your Pillow Be Alright?
I’m generally not that bothered about fancy orthopaedic pillows. But a pillow that’s clearly too thick or thin for you will be much more likely to leave you in pain. A perfect storm scenario would be that you already have a stiff neck at the start of your holiday (from working extra hard to get things done before your leave), then a long drive/flight then a long stay with a pillow you clearly don’t like. If you’re not happy with it on the first night, then change it, fold it or swap it with someone whose neck is relatively happy.