You spend hours in the car each day either commuting to work or driving kids from one activity to the next. While driving you are contemplating the workout you didn’t have time for that morning. How much will this impact your muscle strength and development? What about flexibility? The more you sit in the car the more frustrated and aggravated you get. Sound familiar?
Our active and busy lifestyles are not limited to work and kids either. Sometimes it’s just that you have too many places to be in too little time. No matter what the reason there are actually things that you can do to workout in the car that will help to move your blood more efficiently around your body.
These are several simple exercises that help to reduce the tired heavy feeling you often get when you are behind the wheel of a car. They are listed in no particular order and you can do them in order you wish. You may find that you remember them best when you do them from head to toe or in the opposite direction.
Your first workout in the car will start with stretching your facial muscles – raise your eyebrows, give a big smile or pull up the muscles in your neck. You can stretch your neck by looking far left then returning to center and then looking far right. Do this several times. You can look from ceiling to floor ending with your chin on your chest.
Improve your posture by sitting tall, adjusting the rear view mirror so you must sit tall to see and adjusting the seat back so you are sitting taller. Pull in your stomach and lift your chest. Sit proud.
Stretch your arms and shoulders by moving your arms to the front and then to the side pulling your shoulder blades together. Now, one arm at a time you can bend your arm at the elbow, raise it above your head and with the opposite hand pull the elbow back stretching the triceps muscle.
Kegel exercises can be incorporated into a workout in the car and are always something you can do while sitting. Without using your gluteal muscles (buttocks) draw up the pelvic floor muscles while pulling in your belly button. This motions feels like you have been urinating but stopping in mid-stream.
Ankle exercises will keep the blood in your lower extremities flowing and will help to prevent blood clots in the lower legs when you are driving long distances or are on a plane for a long time. Making sure that your feet are not near the pedals circle one foot in one direction and then the other staying as still as possible. If you are at a stoplight you can make this more interesting by drawing out the alphabet with your foot. Using the alphabet routine will also improve your balance.
While driving you can also do toe curls. Fluid will stagnate in your feet and cause your feet to swell. Wiggle your toes or curl and hold. But pay attention that you don’t leave them curled while driving since you’ll cause a cramp.
Nothing gets more strain with driving than your eyes. You may not think of eye relaxation as part of a workout in the car but it is! Avoid looking down the road for long periods of time. Instead alternate where you are looking. Try a routine where you look ahead down the road, glance to the rear view mirror, ahead and then down to the instrument panel (keep you from speeding!) and then ahead and to the rearview mirrors on the exterior of the car. Repeating this process will also keep your neck from becoming very stiff and causing spinal problems or aggravating TMJ.
If you have to rub your eyes begin at the bridge of the nose, rub along the eyebrows toward the ears, down to the cheekbones and around to the nose. Don’t rub in the opposite direction because you’ll damage the tender tissue under the eyes and cause bags.
You can continue to improve the shape and tone of your body by doing these simple exercises in the car. So, the next time you are stuck in traffic or spending the day driving from one end of the city to the next use this time to refresh yourself and move the blood around your body. You’ll feel good and look refreshed when you get where you’re going.
Washington Post: Drive Yourself to Fitness
BodyBuilding: Car Drivers
The Daily Beast: 8 Ways to Exercise while you Commute
Woman’s Day: Workout Anywhere: In-the-Car Exercises
KodjoWorkout: Car Exercises