Traveling with the Body Whisperer

We got into a habit: After back-to-back work trips, we’d come home, unpack, crawl onto Lauren Roxburgh’s table, and ask the body-alignment specialist to make us feel brand-new please. In between sessions, Roxburgh came up with this cheat sheet and a short foam rolling sequence that we can take on the road with us. Both make long plane rides, hours sitting in traffic, and running, running—always running to the next thing—feel easier on the body. It also means her mini travel roller is like our second limb.

How to Travel and Roll

I love to travel, but it can be hard on the body, especially on long flights.

The foam roller is an incredible tool to travel with. It’s like getting a deep-tissue massage. It breaks up knots and tension, helping to improve flexibility. And you can use it for a core workout, too. You might be away from your gym or spin class, but you can still get a workout on your travel roller from your hotel room.

Take your time with these moves. Breathe and allow your rolling session to be a time of deepening your connection with your body and a time of encouragement, awareness, and appreciation for your body. When you’ve traveled across five time zones, sometimes your soul just needs to catch up to your body.

More Travel Tips

I’m married to a Kiwi, so we do a lot of international travel. We’ve got it down to a science. Before we get on a long-haul flight, my go-tos are to get lots of rest the night before the flight, eat a fiber-rich lentil soup with Lifeway Kefir before we leave (it helps keep me regular while I’m traveling), and get some exercise the day before.

Here’s my checklist, along with my essentials, to relieve tension while I’m traveling:

Move It

On long-haul flights, try to flex your feet, do ankle circles, and get up every hour or two to keep the circulation going. Every half hour, do some shoulder rolls, spinal twists, and neck rolls, and reach your arms up and do little side bends in your seat. Who cares what the person next to you thinks?

Tools of the (Travel) Trade

There are a few things that can make traveling easier. Travel with a great eye mask and a neck pillow to avoid arriving with a stiff neck. I also bring a face spritzer to keep my face hydrated and freshen up after a long flight. I always travel with a wrap to use as a blanket to stay cozy—and to add an element of style when I step off the plane. I also keep face oil on hand (make sure it’s in a bottle that will get through TSA).

Lastly, I carry my Soma glass water bottle to make hydrating easy—and plastic-free.

Body Mechanics

Please avoid trying to be Wonder Woman/Man by carrying tons of heavy stuff. Use a good rolling suitcase. I love my Tumi carry-on; it’s big enough for a three-day trip but still fits in the overhead compartment. Or wear a crossbody purse and use the airport carts. Bend at the knees and squat down instead of hinging from your lower back when picking bags up. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes at the airport. No heels, please—the plane is on the runway, not you.

Give Yourself a Break

Give yourself plenty of time and leave forty-five minutes earlier than you think you need to. This helps you avoid that rush of stress that thinking you’re about to miss your flight brings on.

Stay Hungry

Avoid the airplane food while you’re in the air. While eating can be a good time killer, the food is not the freshest and can leave you feeling sluggish. Instead, bring some healthy, fresh snacks, like raw almonds or cashews. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol.

Arrive Active

Once you arrive, go for a walk to get some fresh air (try taking off your shoes and earthing in a local park). My secret weapon is getting on my travel roller and doing twists and inversions while focusing on deep expansive breathing. It’s good to get your system moving again after sitting for long periods. Before bed, I’ll take a hot bath or shower and light a candle. Sometimes I’ll throw a small one in my bag or pick one up along the way. Then I’m nearly ready for whatever time zone I wake up in.

Lauren Roxburgh is a body-alignment, fascia, and movement specialist with a private practice based in LA. She is also the author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger.