Recently, I traveled to Arizona and had a two night stay in a hotel. The flight was only two hours long, but once I arrived at my hotel after being in a car, then a plane, followed by a bus and one more car ride, I found myself feeling stiff and low energy.
I could have easily skipped stretching and gone on with my plans for the trip, but I decided consciously to hit pause and give myself the gift of self care. This self care would create a positive ripple effect into the people I was visiting because I would be more present and in a better mood if I took the time for this.
Switching Gears from Exercise to Stretching
Many people I talk to tell me they struggle to workout while they are away on trips. As a coach, I always remind them that perhaps that trip was not intended to have exercise folded in. Especially not the way exercise looks at home.
At home, we have much more control of where we work out and what equipment we have access to. Our schedule is also different compared to when we are away. Travel is a wonderful opportunity to switch gears from “exercise” into “recovery.” After all, vacation is good for the mind, soul and body!
Whether you are at a hotel, Air BnB, Hostel or a relative’s house, chances are you can find a 4’x8′ space for stretching.
Bonus points if you can do it outside on the grass or even a patio or balcony! You can bring your own “Travel Yoga Mat” (regular Yoga mats tend to be heavier and bulkier to travel with) like THIS ONE that I use, or you can use a towel from the hotel.
5 Hotel Room Stretches to Help You Stay Flexible
Watch my video to see visually how you can do these stretches either all together as a sequence or separately on their own.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: Hip Flexors get tight fast when you are in a seated position chronically. So after you get off the airplane and out of the car, stretching them out will give you great relief. Tight hip flexors can be a culprit to back pain, leg pain and more. It is recommended you hold each side for a minimum of 30 seconds but one minute would be more helpful. Make sure you breathe and allow yourself the ability to come out of the stretch and go back in during the duration you choose.
- Hamstring Stretch: The back of the legs get tight during travel and can also cause the back to tense up. What’s great about the Hamstring stretch I demo in the video is you can flow this stretch directly from the Hip Flexor stretch. It’s the same recommendation of 30 seconds to one minute minimum for each side.
- Seated Butterfly: Tight hips can not only create a grumpy attitude, but they can also bleed into other areas of your body physically. If you are like me, you will sometimes sit cross legged and that is terrible for our hips. Seated butterfly is a gentle way to open the hips. If your hips are very tight, you can stack pillows or blankets underneath the knees for additional support. I’d recommend holding butterfly for 30-60 seconds at least, focusing on long exhales.
- Cat Cow Stretch: One of my favorites because it is so easy to do and you can link your breath with your movement. Travel can be stressful and cause us to unconsciously hold our breath, so conscious breathing while stretching is important. Linking your inhale to Cow and your exhale to Cat will help you slow the flow down and to be more aware throughout. I like to recommend closing the eyes while doing this flow because it allows you to go inside and “feel” rather than stay external and “see”. It’s best to do this flow for 60 seconds at minimum.
- Happy Baby Stretch: This is a more generous stretch for the hips, so doing seated butterfly prior will help your hips be more prepared. Sometimes our flexibility abilities are still developing and we cannot grab onto our feet while laying on our backs. An option for that is to grab behind the thigh as I show in the video. Over time, with continual practice, you will see progression to your flexibility. Happy Baby is a great one not just for the floor, but even when you are laying in bed. Play around in Happy Baby for at least 60 seconds for optimal release of tight hips.
Hotel Room Workout Benefits
Travel can be hectic between the deadlines of flights taking off, gathering all your kids’ stuff through security, or being on the road for extended periods of time. Anxiety can sky rocket and this has a ripple effect into our health.
From mood to sleep quality to making better food choices, the time you give yourself to stretch for 5-10 minutes will help tremendously. Body awareness increases when you move mindfully and stretching allows us to slow down.
How Stretching Can Help Overall Health
Remember, you can do these stretches from the floor or even in bed and they can be as short as a few minutes. Planning ahead to set an alarm to ensure the stretching happens will increase your success with implementing it.
As a coach, I would recommend refraining from expecting too much of yourself, so stay away from committing to doing it daily. Choose a handful of times you can fit it in based on what all you have planned while you are away. Start small and increase as you can.
If you are looking for more guidance or videos to watch for stretching and even easing your way into beginner yoga, let’s connect! Feed Your Soul Fitness has an on demand video library that has follow along videos.