Spending a lot of time in a car while commuting or on a road trip can have a negative impact on your health and muscle tone. But not if you use these simple exercises. You can arrive at your destination refreshed and toned.
Just be careful and pay attention to your driving and traffic. There are not many health benefits to an auto accident.
Exercises to do while driving
- Tummy toner – Sit up straight in the seat in a normal driving position. Breathe in deeply into your lower abdomen. Now instead of exhaling, push the air up to your chest, filling your upper lungs. Now slowly exhale. You will feel your posture improve and get a big rush of energy by doing this exercise. Don’t be surprised if you have to readjust your mirrors due to a higher seating position.
- Tummy toner two – the vacuum- Inhale normally, lean forward a bit, exhale normally but right at the end blow out just a little more very quickly. Then sit up before the next inhale. As an alternate try sitting up while making the extra exhale.
- Deer exercise. – Most girls are familiar with the benefits of Kegel exercises. Squeeze your pubococcygeus or PC muscles while driving. Do these while driving to arrive toned and energetic. Guys get great benefits form these exercises as well.
- Steering wheel isometrics. Grasp the wheel firmly in both hands. Push in like you are trying to crush the wheel. Now lean forward and pull out like your are trying to stretch the wheel. Be sure to do this exercise only on a straight section of road or at very low speed. These exercises will help firm the chest and upper arm muscles.
- Steering wheel curls. Grip the wheel with both hands near the base of the wheel. Pull up and toward you. Don’t pull too hard, as it is easy to damage the steering shaft this way. Just pull enough to flex your biceps and shoulders.
- Stress reduction – if you are getting tired or stressed, try tapping your head. Use the fingertips of one hand to tap your head just above the hair line while you steer with the other hand. Tap firmly but not painfully. The object is to stimulate the blood flow in the scalp. Tap while saying to your self “I release this stress and I choose to relax and be happy in this moment.” For even more thorough tapping try EFT.
- Eye exercise – Nothing gets more stress while driving than your eyes. Blink often to keep them wet. Move them around while driving instead of staring straight ahead. Use a pattern like ahead, mirror, ahead, instruments, ahead, left, ahead, right, ahead, mirror, etc. When rubbing the eyes start by placing your index and middle fingers on the bridge of your nose. With firm and steady pressure move outward along the eyebrow and then down the cheekbone. Follow the cheekbone around to the nose and back up to the bridge. Never reverse the circle, as it will cause the tender skin under the eye to get stretched and look baggy.
- Toe Wiggling – while seated and operating foot controls, fluid stagnates in the feet. Wiggling your toes will help pump the fluid out of your feet and back where it belongs. Pay attention to the position of your toes while driving so that you do not keep your toes curled or extended for any length of time.
While taking a break – exercises:
- Leg stretch: Stand on one foot and place the heel of the other foot on the bumper of your car. Bend over and touch your toe. Change legs and repeat. This movement helps to relax the calf and thigh muscles that become contracted while operating the foot controls. Lymph stagnates in the legs while driving and this movement helps to get it flowing again. It is best practiced when first stepping out of your car.
- Twists: Stand with slightly bent knees. Hands at your sides. Relax. Twist your waist back and forth swinging your arms out fully letting them flail along. This seemingly simple movement has many, many benefits. First it helps to realign your back, especially the vertebrae in the lumbar region. These vertebras get compressed while driving. Second, it gives your internal organs a good massage, helping them do a more efficient job. This internal massage leads to improved circulation and better digestion. And you will need improved digestion to handle all that nasty road trip food.
- Calf Stretch: If you are ever prone to heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) or just want to make sure you don’t, do these simple stretches while pumping gas or anywhere where you may have to stand for a couple of minutes. Find a curb – like the one the gas pump sits on – and place your toes on the curb and your heel on the surface below. Rock your weight forward until you feel a slight stretch in the tendon or your calf. Don’t push too hard just feel it stretch and hold for at least 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. If your don’t have a curb handy, use your tire. Place your toe on the tire with your heel on the ground. Lean forward to feel the stretch.
- Arches: Stand about three feet from the side of your car facing away from it. Reach up with your hands over your head. Arch your back and reach behind you to grab the rain gutter or roof rack. Lean on back trying to touch your head to the window. Hold for at least 30 seconds. This exercise is a great overall stretch. It eliminates most back pain due to driving and is an excellent tummy toner as well. Once you get more advanced, try stretching to the hood or bumper.
- Fender push-ups: Stand about three feet away from the fender of your car facing it this time. Keep your legs and back straight and lean over and support your weight on the fender. Now, bend your elbows in a push up motion. This will give you a light shoulder tone up and enhance circulation.
For move advanced, try using the bumper or door sill.
By practicing these simple exercises you can use the time spent in your car to help improve your body. Just be sure to stop if you feel any pain and to consult a physician if you have any doubt about your ability to perform any of these movements.
So next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, use the time to improve your body. Even if you arrive late you will look good and feel refreshed when you get there.