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I often find myself traveling to meetings and attend conferences regularly. I’m not a fidgeter but accustomed to moving often to ease cramped muscles, avoid back pain from sitting and fight fatigue.

Here’s a few tips to help you avoid back pain from sitting and stay alert:

  • When you know that you’re going to be sitting most of the day, consider training for it! You will feel much better, stay alert and comfortable if you can get to the gym, walk or do a vigorous Yoga session before settling into the meetings. With your muscles warmed up, your heart flushed with fresh blood and a sense of accomplishment, you’ll enjoy the sessions and probably retain more.
  • If at all possible, sit at the end of a row or next to an empty seat. This allows you more room to stretch while you’re sitting there. It’s like being on the aisle when flying – you can get up and move more easily.
  • Do a few leg stretches, a few back arches, back pain exercises, reaches and more as the space allows – all while in your seat.
  • It’s also a great ice-breaker! I’ve met great people while stretching and they often join in.
  • Be mindful to respect your speaker and others around you. When I speak I encourage people to yawn and move as they wish, but that’s part of my mission to see people taking care of themselves moment by moment. At any rate,  it’s always great to check in regularly to see what your body needs and address that as it comes up, instead of developing cramps and tension.
  • Walk during break times. Eschew the elevator and walk up to your room, down to the restaurant, around the block, if there’s time. The fresh air will be a bonus.
  • Stepping to the back of the room to stretch more is a great option as the day wears on. I wouldn’t recommend it for a board meeting but you’ll probably have plenty of company if attending a large conference.

These are some of the techniques I teach as part of my travel wellness programs and products. I’m often invited to come into meetings to energize a group with a few chair and standing stretches. It’s always fun to see people wake up and enjoy the freedom of stretching – especially when they’re all in business suits! Stay alert and avoid back pain from sitting.


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