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How to Stay Healthy on Car Trips

This month we are back with a post on how to keep healthy during vacations or long car trips. Our doctors, Dr. Erik Hensel and Dr. Jasmine Craner each give their two top tips on how to best maintain your health during these situations.

Dr. Hensel’s Top Tips

1) Plan ahead. Dr. Hensel’s biggest tip is to plan ahead for the trip. His family packs a cooler in the car before leaving to snack on while they are on the road. He says that packing vegetables, hummus, and other small things like these help keep his family full and satisfied on long car rides, instead of stopping for fast food. The last aspect of planning ahead that is noted by Dr. Hensel is to look at the restaurant and grocery options of the place that you are going. Planning what you will order or what you will buy at the market/grocery store can help avoid temptations that may arise.

2) Eat before you go. Dr. Hensel stresses to eat before an event if there is not going to be food that fits into your diet present at the events. The example he gives is a graduation party – more often than not, these events will not have food that fits into your diet present. Alternatively, eat before you go to the party so you are not tempted to eat a large amount of food at the party.

Dr. Craner’s Top Tips

1) The first tip that Dr. Craner stresses is to learn some quick stretches that can be performed when taking a break from driving at a rest stop. The first stretch pictured is the runner’s stretch. This stretch is useful for putting length back into the psoas muscle, which is continually contracted by sitting for long periods. This stretch is also useful in putting length back into the other hip flexor muscles, which as we have touched on, the psoas is one of these hip flexor muscles. Lengthening the psoas muscle can help mitigate low back pain that may be amplified by sitting in the car for long periods of time. The second stretch that Dr. Craner shares is a simple calf stretch. This stretch is important because the fascia that connects up the leg can be a contributing factor to back pain as well. So, by loosening the fascia both on the anterior and posterior sides, back pain on car rides can become something of the past!

2) The second tip that Dr. Craner outlines is to keep a lacrosse ball in the car with you on these trips. The lacrosse ball is the quickest and easiest way to attack trigger points on the go. Simply place the lacrosse ball under the leg or behind the neck/back while seated, and move around on the ball for 30 seconds – 1 minute until the intensity of the area decreases on the ball.

Active Edge’s Top 4 Tips

1) Plan ahead
2) Eat before you go
3) Stretch during restroom / food stops
4) Bring a lacrosse ball

Happy Travels!


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About Dr. Erik Hensel

Dr. Erik Hensel, Doctor of Chiropractic, Member of Ohio State Chiropractic Association, Bachelor's Degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University studying Chiropractic care, Functional Medicine, Applied Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Nutritional Supplements. Born and raised in St. Cloud, MN, I have always been a very active guy. When I wasn’t playing sports, I was in the woods or on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. After graduating he took a brief job unloading ships where he worked long hours, had routine headaches and back pain which led him to go see a chiropractor. After being tired of taking painkillers just to get out of bed, I went to the chiropractor and it changed my life forever. One simple adjustment decreased the back pain significantly and my headaches were no more. With such relief in one adjustment, I decided to visit more frequently, eliminating the need for any medication, and my initial symptoms had subsided. This was a life-changing experience which led me to pursue chiropractic and functional medicine

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