Is there anything more evocative of the footloose American spirit than the road trip?
Good music, snacks and great company are what make the road trip such a powerful draw and many of us live for doing them.
But if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that sitting in a car for long periods is going to stiffen you up pretty good. That’s why you need these stretches for your next road trip!
Take the breaks
If someone in the car is a control freak hell bent on getting to a certain destination at a certain time, refusing to stop to allow you to stretch your legs, open the door and push them out (kidding).
The truth is that taking breaks at rest stops or points of interest gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs. Sitting is tough on your body and getting up and moving around isn’t a luxury, no matter how adamant your control freak passenger is about getting to Point B to keep to some arcane schedule which has no place on a road trip.
It’s supposed to be fun!
Your beleaguered lower back
The lower back takes the brunt of the punishment of sitting. The pressure experienced in this area can lead to chronic pain, so don’t ignore it while you’re out there conquering the highways and byways.
You don’t need a Yoga mat to do the cat and cow positions. You can do these standing with your feet apart. Start by pulling your chest up and gently arching your lower back. Then drop your chest, slowly pulling your stomach in and lowering your head. Hold this for several seconds, then repeat. You’ll be doing your lower back a big favor.
Ouch, my neck (and eyes)!
Your neck can get stiff while you’re taking in the panorama you’re driving through and that can lead to shoulder and upper back discomfort. Relaxing your head and neck muscles as your head is supported is easy enough, but rotating your head slowly (first left, then right), allows the weight of your head to gently stretch out your neck muscles.
You can also gently pull your head down toward your chest, then raise it so you’re looking directly up.
As for your eyes, they need rest too. Close them and while they’re still closed, rotate them left, then right. Do this several times. This will help with eye fatigue.
Arms and shoulders
These can get stiff when you’re sitting in a car (especially if your neck is tense). Once outside the car, raise your arms over your head (while engaging your abs) and reach up. Then, reach out to your sides with both arms as far as you can.
Arm circles, first front, then back, mobilize your shoulder joints. Then, give your self a big hug to stretch it all out. Ahhhh! You’re ready to take on the open road like a champ!
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