Sitting in one position for long periods of time brings its challenges when trying to stay comfortable. The Harvard Health Watch study said that the average American spends 101 minutes driving per day compared to long haul drivers who often drive more than 540 minutes per day. All those hours sitting can have an adverse effect on your back and neck, but what are some things we could be doing to help keep our bodies in motion during those long drives?
Before you get started:
- Remove all items from pockets
- Roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back for additional support
- Adjust the seat and mirror to your preferences, this is extremely important
- Keep hydrated so bring a water bottle
- Set an alarm to remind you to stop and get your body moving
While driving you can:
Contract the Abdomen: Pull your belly button in toward your spine and hold tight for 20-30 seconds, then release and repeat several times.
Raise Toe to Calf: Drivers can use their left foot only, passengers can do with both feet. Raise your leg and flex the toes and heels towards your body several times. Then twirl your ankle in circles to the left for several rotations and to the right for several rotations.
At a Gas Station or Rest Stop
Lunges: Forward lunges working your legs. Try 8-12 on each leg if possible.
Car Jacks: Place your hands on your car or truck. Do 10-20 push-ups towards your vehicle. Then work your legs, moving them out to the side while still holding onto the vehicle. Do 20 of these on each leg.
Marching: Over accentuate marching by lifting legs high with each step. Do 20 twenty of these on each leg.
Leg Stretches: Place your foot on a comfortable spot on the car or truck. Maybe the bumper. Then lean forward trying to touch your toes. Go slowly as your legs stretch to the position. Do 6 of these on each leg.
Shoulder Rolls: Stand with your back straight and head held high. Roll your shoulder backward for 8 counts then forward for 8 counts.
Hugs: wrap your arms around yourself in a big hug, then turn your body to the left and to the right rotating from the hips. Do this for 20 times each way.
When you arrive at your destination you will be glad you spent the few extra minutes it took to complete these exercises, and your body will thank you by being more relaxed and less stressed when you arrive.