Maintaining Your Body While On Vacation

Just recently, my sister and I traveled for the first time to the city that never sleeps.  Having this be our first time traveling to New York, we were quite eager to hit up all the hot spots, see all the tourist destinations and of course, go shopping. 

After we landed at 7:30 am, we decided it was a marvelous idea to drag our luggage and backpacks 35 New York blocks to our hotel.  If you've never been to New York, the city blocks are longer, or at least they seem longer.  We didn't hurry back to our hotel since the check in time wasn't until 3:00 pm.  After walking half way towards the Upper West Side of Manhattan under the grueling sun, my neck and shoulders became suprisingly tight and sore.  Once we dropped off our luggage, we headed to Central Park and Times Square to sightsee.


Tourists are easy to spot; they are often wearing a backpack equipped with a water bottle on the side, sporting a hat, good walking shoes and a giant camera around their necks.  This pretty much sums up how I looked all week in New York. 

I've always had my partner Steve carry the camera and the backpack when we went on vacation, so I never really knew what a drag it was.  By the second day of walking and shopping, my shoulders were becoming extremely tight and rounded.  For someone who workouts and is mindful of proper form and posture, I was a loosing battle.  Luckily the physio within me kept nagging me to take the time to properly stretch. So every night after our long escapades in New York, my sister and I would hit the hotel gym to do a maintenance workout plus a stretching program. 

Because I had a camera around my neck and a heavy backpack around my shoulders, my upper fiber trapezius muscles, levator scapula muscles, sternocleidomastoid muscles and pectoralis muscles were stiff and tight.  With all the walking we were doing, I wanted to make sure my calves and hip flexors weren't too tight either.

This was the stretching program I performed each night to prevent myself from falling apart, or better yet, from shriveling up.


(1) Upper Fiber Trapezius Stretch x 30 seconds/side



(2) Levator Scapula Stretch x 30 seconds/side



(3) Pectoralis Stretch x 30 seconds



(4) Quadratus Lumborum Stretch x 30 seconds/side



(5) Gastrocnemius Stretch x 30 seconds/side



(6) Standing Latissimus Dorsi Stretch x 30 seconds

I must admit, this is the first vacation that I've ever been on where I actually took the time to stretch and workout.  With the amount of walking and sight seeing, your muscles are bound to get tight and must be stretched out. Save your self from a whole lot of grief by taking a few minutes out of your day to perform a few stretches. Remember, muscle imbalances can cause poor posture, form, and even lead to injuries!

For the rest of the trip, I packed and travelled smarter and continued with my stretches.  Eventually, my muscles were back to its relaxed, tension-free self.  So when you're on vacation and you start to notice your shoulders and neck muscles become tired, tight and uncomfortable from carrying your backpack and heavy camera, remember this article!

Below are some snapshots from our trip to New York City. 


Jessie Wong, Physiotherapist from the Physio Room



Me enjoying and then getting sick of my first cheat meal at the Shake Shack

Elisa and I at 5 Pointz, which has amazing graffiti work

The artwork here is massive!

View from the top of the Empire State Building

Just sitting back and people watching during the last day of New York



*The exercises provided on this website are for educational purposes only, and are not to be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, or course of action. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. They include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat, and very rare instances of heart attack.

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