Lisa, one of our North Oakville Physiotherapists was recently lucky enough to travel to Europe on a much needed vacation. Here is some of what went through her Physiotherapist mind during her travels:
How a Physio Travels:
I was recently lucky enough to travel to Belgium and Amsterdam for a holiday. It is inevitable that my training and education influences my planning and how I experience my vacation.
The Plane Ride(s)
I make sure to wear compression socks during longer plane rides. This is partly due to changes in air pressure but also due to being stationary for a longer period of time. Wearing even light compression can help improve circulation. I don’t have any other health issues also making the lighter compression ok for me. These Achi compression socks by Lunatik Athletiks are awesome for that. And they’re fun!
I’m not always a comfortable flier, and can become anxious. I make sure to do some relaxation exercises and breathing exercises to help me relax. I have learned a few through some of my training as a Physio. I have also learned some great ones from Jennifer, our Yoga Therapist. These helped me manage these anxieties a lot better than I have in the past.
My neck can get stiff when I fly or sit in one spot for too long. I make sure to do some light stretches and movements throughout the flight. It’s never complicated but I find I feel much better if I stay on top of it
I try to make use of hotel gyms if there are some. I was lucky that in both hotels I had access to small gyms. The hotel in Amsterdam also had a park close by and the hotel had running maps of the area. They also had, in true Amsterdam style, bikes to rent.
Now I didn’t want to spend all my time while in Europe in a hotel gym so being efficient was important. I did a short interval using the equipment available and body weight exercises.
Culture Shock (in a good way!)
It’s hard to turn a Physio brain off. When I was travelling in Amsterdam I wanted to take part in an age old cultural tradition…Biking!
The hotel we stayed in had bikes to rent but I wanted to bike safely in a new city. I decided to take a tour with Yellow Bike Tours and had the best of both worlds, a fun and educational experience! Amsterdam is nice and flat so no worries about gear shifting. It’s easier to get around by bike than car in the city and is a great way to explore.
I was surprised to see that NO ONE wears helmets while biking in Amsterdam. Our tour guide mentioned that whenever it is mentioned politically, that there is push back from the population. This got my Physio brain wondering what the rates of bike accidents were per capita compared to here in Oakville as well as Toronto?
In all fairness, the infrastructure is much better designed for this cycling culture. There are endless places to lock up your bike. There are specific bike lanes everywhere and there are even side streets that are pedestrian only. Throughout Amsterdam there are specific stop lights and stopping areas for cyclists. I can see the benefits of having a more accessible cycling culture in a city. Both from the perspective of exercise and pollution. I would love to see some changes here.
There are a few things that people think about with regards too Dutch culture. One of them being clogs. Clogs are still being produced and used. It’s my understanding that part of their function was in keeping a persons feet dry. I’m not sure if Arien, our team Chiropodist, would approve of long term wear, but they sure are fun!
Another thing the Physio (and child) in me notices when I travel is different parks. Parks are a way to grow and develop in a non structured way. The parks in Amsterdam were AMAZING! There was one close to our hotel that when I saw I had to give it a try!
It was an amazing rope structure that you would climb up, on and in. What a great challenge for the core, balance and strength! I could see rope races, and rope tag being a fun game! See if you can spot the Physio in the photo above.
It was great to mix play and fun in with travelling. That’s what it is all about.