Interviewed by Kate Cheng
Welcome to Part 2 of Travelle's collaboration with Olivia Gall from Virgin Atlantic UK. Here are stretches and exercises, to loosen up tired and strained muscles that have sat in a cabin seat for one in-flight snack too many! Whether your neck and shoulders can't stand slouching over your tablet anymore (get on that digital detox, girl!), or your lower back and sacrum just aren't what they used to be, here are some moves that will definitely make you feel right as rain before touchdown.
For The Neck
If your sternocleidomastoid is tense, it can make us feel nauseas and dizzy. It can cause us ear ache and sinus headaches and can even be responsible for loss of hearing!
Slightly tilt your head and neck backwards, rotating your face to one side. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Clasp your hands behind your head, just below the crown. Push your head into your hands whilst your hands are pushing against your head.
When the main muscle in your neck (known as the sternocleidomastoid) is tight and over worked, you may feel pain in the following places: Cheek and jaw, sinuses, top of head, back of head at the bottom of the skull, around one eye.
For The Upper Back
A tight trapezius muscle in the upper back area is the one to blame for that tension headache. When your therapist was working over this muscle, you may have felt pain in the jaw. Your trapezius can also cause dizziness and toothache.
Upper Back Stretch
Sitting in a chair, bend forward with your feet hip width apart and your head dropped down. With your arms bent at the elbows cross each arm over the body and place your hands on your knee caps. Hold the stretch for 15 second, release and repeat a couple of times.
Place the heel of your hand onto your temple. Press your head towards your hand whilst your hand is pushing back against your head.
You may be experiencing pain across the neck, behind the ear, and possibly into the temple when this muscle needs to release tension.
For The Upper Chest
The Pectoralis minor runs across the top of your chest, and when it gets tight it shortens, pulling the shoulders forward and causing upper back pain. When the pectoralis minor is strong and supple, it will keep our shoulders back and stop us looking hunched over like cave men and women.
Upper Chest Stretch
Standing in a doorway, place your arms on either side of the door frame at ear level and stretch your body through the outstretched arms, opening your chest and shoulders. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, relax and repeat.
When the upper chest muscles are tight and taut you are likely to feel pain in the front of the shoulder and possibly the front of the chest.
For The Lower Back
The Latissimus dorsi is the widest and strongest muscle in the body. An overworked and tight latissimus dorsi muscle can upset our digestive system. Like all muscles the latissimus dorsi is linked to an organ and this muscle is linked to the pancreas.
Lower Back Stretch
Reach both arms above your head. Grasp one of your wrists with the opposite hand and pull your wrist and arm towards the opposite side bending the torso. Repeat on the left/right hand side holding for 10-15 seconds.
Standing with your legs shoulder width apart, bend from your waist so that your upper body is parallel to the floor. Reach one arm out towards the opposite foot. Repeat on the opposite side holding each side for 10-15 seconds.
When your lower back is tight and causing you pain, you may also feel pain down the back of the shoulder and down the arm, forearm and hand.
For The Lower Back
The Gluteus Maximus is the muscle that helps us to walk upright. Lying in the supine position for 20 minutes a day allows your spine to re-align itself. This will help correct your posture, increase blood circulation and flow and can even release trapped nerves.
Lower Back Stretch
Lying in the supine position, (lying on your back, feet hip width apart with feet flat on the floor) draw your knee up towards your shoulder. Pull the thigh and leg towards your shoulder stretching the gluteus Maximus. Hold for a count of 10 to 15 seconds, release and repeat on the opposite side.
Pain will be felt within the buttock adjacent to the sacrum. Pain will be felt in the lower back and around the hip when this muscle is overworked.