For those who complain that they don’t have time to exercise, there may be some answers! With so many people experiencing longer commutes than ever, especially in large metropolitan areas, the time spent sitting in a car can often feel quite wasted.
Some choose to make their business calls or catch up with an old friend, others may use the time to enjoy some quiet alone space to think and regroup before getting home to a busy family. But, that time can also be spent exercising, if you know what to do.
Instead of becoming frustrated when you are stuck in traffic, try releasing some of your energy by inserting a little bit of movement, stretching and pulling to get a little exercise while you wait. This is a great way to make your lifestyle a little bit healthier and make the most out of your time sitting in the car. Not only will you get some movement in, you will feel less stressed about being stuck in a jam.
Prolonged sitting can lead to many problems, and make existing problems, such as back pain or circulatory issues worse. According to senior physiotherapist at Singapore General Hospital, Ram Peruvemba, incorporating a mini workout into your commute can be very beneficial, “Regular movement helps with joint lubrication and blood circulation.”
Develop your own mini workout that can help you to increase flexibility and reduce the ill effects of sitting still too long with these simple isometric exercises that can be done while you are in a car.
To Loosen and Strengthen Neck Muscles:
- Turn your neck to the right side and hold the position for 5 seconds. Rest, then repeat. Do this 5 times. Then repeat the movement to the left side.
- While sitting up very straight, keep your eyes forward and tilt your head to the right shoulder. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and rest briefly. Repeat 5 times. Then, repeat the action to the left side. You will feel the neck muscles gently stretching while you hold this position.
- While sitting upright and leaning forward slightly, tip your head back (chin toward the ceiling) and hold for 5 seconds. Release and rest briefly, then repeat 5 times.
- While sitting upright, tuck your chin to your chest and hold the position for 5 seconds. Release and rest briefly. Repeat 5 times.
To Loosen and Strengthen Trunk Muscles:
- While sitting straight upright, twist your trunk to the right side. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and rest briefly. Repeat 5 times to the right, then repeat the movement 5 times to the left. You will feel your trunk muscles and lower back loosening while you hold this stretch.
To Loosen and Strengthen Back Muscles:
- While sitting upright in the driver’s seat, slowly lift and roll your bottom forward to create an arch in your lower back. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and rest briefly by pushing your back into the seat again. Repeat 5 times. This helps to loosen your back muscles, which can become especially stiff or tight from driving.
- While sitting up straight and keeping your lower back slightly arched, tighten your abdominal muscles while you exhale slowly. Pull your lower abdominal muscles in toward your spine. While keeping the abdominals tightened, breathe in and out normally for about 10 seconds. Release and relax. Repeat this process 5 times to relax your lower back muscles.
- While sitting in the driver’s seat, squeeze the gluteal muscles (buttocks) and hold the position for 5 seconds. Release and rest. Repeat 5 times. This movement will help to increase circulation to the area, which can become numb or even painful during long sitting periods.
To Loosen and Strengthen Arm Muscles:
- While sitting straight upright, place your hands at the “9 o’clock” and “3 o’clock” positions on the steering wheel. Straighten your elbows as best you can. Push on the steering wheel for 5 seconds. Relax and rest briefly. Repeat this exercise 5 times to work your arm and shoulder muscles.
- Again with your hands in the “9 and 3” position, do “modified push ups” on the steering wheel by leaning forward and using your arms for resistance. Tighten your shoulder blades for best results. Make slow movements, lasting about 5 seconds per push up. Relax and rest briefly in between. Repeat 5-10 times. This will help to eliminate tension from your shoulders and arms and strengthen the muscles.
Keep in mind that these exercises are recommended for times when you are stuck in traffic, and it is not recommended that you perform these actions while actually driving a moving vehicle. Simple exercises to help pass the time make for a healthy lifestyle choice and great time management too!
Get the most out of your commuting time by adding in some of these great exercises that can be performed while sitting in a car. Burn a few calories, stretch some muscles and reduce stress, all while waiting in traffic. As with any exercise regimen, it is best to check with your doctor before beginning something new.
SOURCES: https://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/FitnessandExercise/Pages/Exercises-You-Can-Do-in-the-Car.aspxhttps://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-Your-Abs-While-Sittinghttps://www.grandparents.com/health-and-wellbeing/exercise-and-de-stress/chair-exercises; Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net