PREVENTATIVE CARE ON THE ROAD

When you are on tour as a live musician (or indeed any other kind of performer), there are times when you don’t have the chance to go to the gym or keep up with good exercise routines. Here are some of the things you can do when you are on the road and in the air.

  1. Use the stairs rather than the lift, and walk up and down escalators rather than standing still.
  2. If you’re a musician with heavy instruments or equipment, carrying them will be a form of exercise. Make sure you’re doing it properly though! Bend at the knees when lifting, and wear straps to distribute the weight properly. Help your drummer or bassist with their gear, so you get the exercise and they get a break!
  3. If you need some thinking time, take a walk around the block –it clears your head and gets you some exercise.
  4. If you’re in an unfamiliar venue, take some time to check out what’s there and what’s not. There should be drinking water, at the very least. Consider organizing a healthier rider (a list of dietary/drink requirements).
  5. Opt for fruit and nuts rather than biscuits, crisps or pastries for backstage snacks. Try to drink more water and less coffee or tea and cut down on the sugary drinks.
  6. Try to get the management to sort out decent meals, either at the hotel or venue – or use your per diems wisely to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet.
  7. Do quick stretching throughout the day –it helps relieve stress and exercises your muscles.
  8. Persuade a fellow band member to be your activity buddy and arrange to exercise together; neither of you will want to let the other down. Go for runs together while on tour.
  9. Even if you’re not wanting to be super fit, you still need to keep healthy, so you can do various exercises in your hotel room and even a brisk 10-15 minute walk in the fresh air can help.
  10. Give yourself reasons to take regular breaks, say if you and/or your band members are just not getting that middle eight or fast refrain.
  11. Start wearing a pedometer. You’ll be surprised how motivated you can become to increase your daily step total. Aim for 10,000 steps – you’ll probably total those up simply by jumping around on stage!
  12. Issue a fitness challenge to another band such as the number of steps walked in a week.
  13. Make sure someone in the band (usually the manager) has health and safety responsibilities and makes sure that there is an adequately stocked first aid kit on the tour bus.
  14. Be sure to keep sufficiently hydrated when in an air-conditioned space – like a plane. This is especially important for singers, as the dehydrating effect of air-conditioning can make singing very difficult. Wrapping your throat up can also help prevent drying of the throat.
  15. While we’re talking about planes, take care not to force your voice against the noise of the engine, onboard equipment, etc. And don’t forget to keep your legs moving periodically, so you don’t develop blood clots which are potentially life-threatening. Some performers have been known to do exercises in the aisles! This can help with re-setting your body clock too.
  16. Time-zone changes can put considerable stresses on the body and fatigue can be a common problem. Try to get as much rest and rehydration as you can when travelling and re-adjust your body clock as quickly as you can. Flying a couple of days earlier for a gig at a distant venue would help counteract this problem. If you can’t fly in sooner and you’re just in for the gig and straight out again try to stay on ‘home-time’ by eating and sleeping at the times you would normally at home, if possible. You and your tour manager should plan your tour schedule in terms of sleep/body clock issues, in order to make it easier on yourself and the rest of the band.

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