Road trips are basically the equivalent of you sitting at your desk for hours on end without moving an inch. In fact it’s even more sedentary since you don’t get up to go to the printer, pantry or bathroom as often. Along with a few good shoulder rolls, here are three quick stretches you can do to avoid storing tension in your body. Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds and repeat 3 times. Do them during pit stops or when your arrive at your destination.
Chest: Odds are, if you’re clenching a steering wheel for hours, your chest muscles are going to clench too. This can roll your entire shoulder and upper back forward, lending an unwanted hunched look to your posture.
Remedy: Stand with one arm stretched out against the frame of your car door or a post. Twist your torso gently in opposition until you feel a stretch across your chest muscles. Take a few deep, slow breaths. Play around with the angle of your arm (higher or lower) to determine which areas of your chest need the stretch the most. Repeat on the other side.
Neck: We all have neck tension, and driving only makes it worse.
Remedy: Reach over your head and grab your left ear with your right hand. Keeping both shoulders down and plugged into your back, gently pull your left ear towards your right shoulder. You should feel a gentle pulling sensation in your left neck and shoulder. Breathe deeply. Repeat on the other side. You can even do this in your car when you are safely stopped.
Hips and Shoulders: Sitting for a long periods of time causes the pelvis (hip region) to rotate backwards and this puts pressure on the lower back. This will affect your posture by pushing the head forward and causing the shoulders to curve.
Remedy: Find a wall or use your car for balance. Grab hold of your right foot with your right hand, and rest your left hand on the wall or car. Keeping your left leg straight, lift your right foot as high as you can. As you lift your foot, push your foot into your hand, and allow your torso to lean forward. You should feel the stretch all along the right side of your body, your shoulder, chest, hip flexor and quadriceps. You will also feel a stretch in your lower back. Repeat with the left leg.
Have you got a long distance drive coming up? Check out this article for tips on conquering long distance driving. 6 Quick Tips to Conquer Long Distance Driving