Travelling is among many people’s bucket list. It is always fulfilling and invigorating as well as a great learning experience, but it can also have a toll on you if it involves a lot of driving. Prolonged sitting is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases, including most disabilities. Studies show that sitting for long hours lead to heart failures that can be fatal irrespective of how much you exercise. You need to have frequent breaks after every 30 minutes to stretch and enhance your blood flow.
These risks are especially heightened when one is at an advanced age. According to the Northwestern University School of Medicine researcher and professor Dorothy Dunlop, sedentary behavior that involves sitting for too long can lead to various forms of disabilities. So, when driving, you need to keep this in mind and avoid sitting in the car for too long. You do not have to be a fitness enthusiast to do these stretches, but just have the will and time, the website FreeYourSpine indicates.
Here are some stretches you can do before and after driving. Some you can do while driving, but always observe safety first.
While driving on a long and straight stretch, you can do some shoulder stretches to relax your back and neck muscles. Hold your steering wheel in a 3 and 9 o’clock position, then gently pull back your shoulders with your arms straight so that your back aligns with your seat’s backrest and bring out your chest forward a little. Do this while breathing in and out at a controlled pace. Repeat this movement like three to four times. It helps you to stay alert by allowing more oxygen into your system.
When you stop over to refuel your vehicle, do not just remain sitting in your vehicle while the attendant fills in the gas. Get out, and walk a bit. Since you have been sitting for quite a while, your back must be stiff. Try and bend forward and backward with your arms positioned just above your waist to aid in the front bend. You be pushing your chest out and your chin towards your chest.
Do some shoulder rolls to relax your neck and shoulder muscles. To do this, stand up straight, then roll your shoulders back and forth. Do that like five times, then repeat in the opposite direction. Try and pull your shoulder blades at the back towards each other and then pull up the shoulders to contract your traps. You will get back into your car feeling reenergized.
Stretching Your Hamstrings and Calves Muscles:
When you are driving, your hamstrings are in most cases dormant since they are resting on the car’s seat. Your legs might get dump due to restricted blood flow as your legs remained bent at the knee. Your calves are engaged most of the times but in an awkward position. When you finally get a chance to stop ensure that you stretch these two important muscles. Get on to your toes and pull your arms far up as high as you can. This exercise stretches both your calves and hamstring muscles. If you want to focus on the hamstring, put one of your legs forward stepping on its heel and push it backward. Hold the stretch for six to ten seconds and repeat using the other leg.
Stretch Your Neck:
You find yourself arching your neck a lot if especially you are not sitting comfortably. Though, you may fail to notice it, you make a lot of movements with your neck while driving which may affect its muscles. So, in your stretching regimen, make sure you stretch your neck too. It’s quite simple to do this. Standing in an upright position, pull your head gently towards your chest and let it rest there for about 10 seconds. Next, push your chin up pushing your head to your back and hold for 10 secs. Pull or push either side of the ear and hold for 10 seconds in each direction, then rotate your entire neck in clockwise and anti-clockwise movement. Repeat the whole exercise three times and you are good to go.
If you think about it, it really does not take too much of your time to do these stretches even if you do several of them. 20 to 30 minutes is enough to get you going and keep your body in top-notch condition. Don’t let the allusion of time prevent you from living a healthy life no matter how busy you might be.