Road trips and long-weekend getaways are some of those days that we look forward to every year. It’s that time of year to escape from the grueling and hectic work-life. We all say that the drive is half the journey, let’s be honest, it can also be tiring and not to mention crippling for the driver.
Those prolonged periods of sitting on the driver’s seat and trying to get to your destination can cause tight muscles on the shoulders, body pains, and also joint stiffness or pain. The good thing is Physical Therapy didn’t leave this one and stretches are made to make your travel easier. Here are some of those simple stretches that you can do in the car and also while you’re taking a short break.
Stretching Exercises to Do in the Car and Pitstop
1. Neck Stretch
Neck stretches and flexibility exercises can expand the range of motion and elasticity in the cervical spine area to help relieve stiffness and pain.
- Start with your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
- Bring your chin to your chest and hold that position for 10 seconds. To feel the stretch, place the palms of your hand on top of your head and pulled down carefully. Relax, and slowly lift your head back up.
- Tilt your chin up toward the ceiling and bring the base of your skull toward your back. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to the start position
You can also stretch the side of your neck by bringing your ear to your shoulder but avoid shrugging and hold that position for 10 seconds. Don’t rush the movements as it may cause more pain or stiffness.
2. Chest Stretch
The purpose of this stretch is to lengthen chest muscles so that healthier positioning feels natural and comfortable.
- Start by sitting straight then cross your arms over your chest and imitate as if you’re giving yourself a hug.
- Next, relax your arms, drive your shoulders back and squeeze them together. This movement will cause your chest to expand. Be sure not to overextend your lower back. Physical Therapists recommend that you squeeze your abdominals to help feel the expansion.
- Complete at least 10 reps.
3. Quadriceps Flexor Stretch
This movement helps to loosen the muscles just above the knee joint, increasing mobility and preventing knee pain. For this exercise, you need the car door as a support for your upper body.
- Stand beside your car door in a neutral stance. Make sure that you’re not stepping on anything that might trip you.
- Next, grab the front of your ankle and bring your heel to your butt pulling your leg back. Use your car door as a support if you can’t
- Try to stand tall and squeeze the glute on your standing leg for extra support. Hold that position for 30 seconds, then switch on the other leg.
4. Calf Stretch
Stretching these muscles will prevent injury to the ankle and the many little muscles that help stabilize the ankle and the possibility of tearing your Achilles. For this stretch, You will also need your car to lean against.
- Place both arms on the car and position your body so you’re at a 45-degree angle leaning forward.
- As you bend one knee, drive your opposite heel to the ground as you lean forward to achieve a calf stretch.
- Hold for 10 seconds and alternate legs. Repeat this 5 times on each leg.
Practice proper ergonomics as well to avoid pain and strains all over your body. Most of all, relax and enjoy the drive. It’s important to remember these stretches are not meant to cause or worsen any pain you may be experiencing, so if you’ve got acute pain, you must seek professional help. You would also expect modifications in your stretches since your Physical Therapist will depend on your physical assessment results when you have consultations with them. Road trips should be exciting and adventurous, free from any discomfort or pain.