I am sitting on a train on the way to Milan, Italy, to teach a CrossFit Powerlifting Trainer Course. It has made me think about many of the common mistakes people make when traveling that affect their recovery. Remember, for every action there is a reaction.
When traveling, you are often sitting for long periods of time. This affects your mobility and your ability to recover. When your mobility is affected, so is your technique. This can lead to injury or excess wear and tear, which slows down your recovery. You also do not increase your heart rate and your circulation is low, both of which also slow down recovery. A solution to this is to take mobility aids with you. Devices such as Voodoo Floss by companies like Rogue and Jump Stretch,; lacrosse balls; short and thick PVC tubes; the Gemini, and jump stretch bands are just a few of the things you can pack that will help keep you moving while traveling. As well, starting off the day before you travel and ending with a good dynamic stretching routine will help your muscles stay elongated.
To stay properly hydrated and fueled, you must have a well laid-out plan. It is very easy to get dehydrated while flying, so a hydration solution that is up to 16 percent carbohydrate will benefit you. Remember, water follows glucose into cells. I suggest pre-packing the carbs so that when you get to the airport, you only have to buy the water and add the carbohydrates to it. I suggest pre-packing your food to take with you as well, since your selection is limited while traveling. Also, the more time zones you travel through, the longer it takes for your blood sugar levels to regulate. This will affect your hydration. It will take you longer to recover traveling from west to east than east to west. Keep this in mind when traveling to compete in a competition.
Your body perceives mental and physical stress the same way. Traveling can bring added stresses in both areas. Some simple things can help you to minimize your stress levels. One is to be very prepared and organized when traveling – or do what I do and make sure you take someone with you who is. Not being prepared can lead to a lot of headaches, bringing stress that will degrade your central nervous system and affect your recovery. Another is by bringing things such as a pillow, shades for the windows or sleeping aids that can help you get the rest you need. As well, researching to find the best massage therapists and chiropractors in the area you are traveling to can pay off if you are ever in need.
Without digging deep into the science of it, these are just some simple ways you can make your travels as easy on your body as possible. If I was a professional athlete, I would put even more consideration into my travels and fully understand the science of all things that could affect my results and longevity in sport.
– Coach Shane Sweatt