Whether you’re in a carpool, or on a road trip, or just stuck in traffic alone, being in the car is an excellent opportunity to strengthen some muscles and work on your posture. Indians tend to store more body fat per kilogram than Europeans. So there is all the more reason for us to try and be fitter and active. The kind of lifestyle people are living, they get very little free time to exercise. But just take a look at any of your schedules and you will realize that there is a lot of time that you spend sitting idle in our cars, or stuck in traffic on the daily commute. Though spending a lot of time in a car has the potential to have a negative impact on one's health and muscle tone, apart from putting a strain on one's body, courtesy sitting in one position with little activity. But the good news is that there is indeed something we can all do in even the most compact of cars. There are some very basic and easy exercises that one can do while sitting at the driving wheel. While these cannot be a substitute for working out in a gym, they will nonetheless ensure some fitness. Over and above that, they will help improve mental alertness, refresh you and even de-stressed you. Here is a guide that you can practice on the go.
Isometrics at the steering wheel
Isometrics just basically means pushing against resistance. The resistance can be provided by any stationary object such as the car seat on which you are sitting or grasping the steering wheel of the car. Hold the steering wheel firmly in both hands and push in like you are trying to crush the wheel. Now lean forward and pull out like you are trying to stretch the wheel. The longer you hold the position the more beneficial it is for you. Repeat five times and then move your hands to 10 and two and repeat. Changing positions of your hands will work different muscle groups. These exercises will help firm the chest and upper arm muscles.
Exercise your eyes
Nothing gets more stressed while driving than your eyes. Blinking often to keep them wet is mandatory for tired eyes. Allow your eyes to dart back and forth between your mirrors, or from side to side and up and down if you are on a bus. This will help you to be alert and avoid eye strain. When your eyes feel strained, place your index and middle fingers on the bridge of your nose. Then, with a firm and steady pressure move outward, along the eyebrow and over the cheekbone. Follow the cheekbone around to the nose and back up to the bridge. Do not reverse this circular path, as it will cause the tender skin under the eye to get stretched and look baggy.
Your bum can get sore and numb from sitting for so long. This exercise not only works the glutes a bit, it also gets the circulation going once again and can relieve low back pain, too. Simply squeeze your right glute for three to five seconds, release it and switch sides. Repeat for a total of 10 times.
If you are getting tired or stressed because you have been driving too long or are stuck in traffic jam for way to long, try tapping your head. Use the fingertips of any one hand to tap your head just above the start of the hair line. This is a great way to relieve stress. The object is to simply stimulate the blood flow in the scalp. Inhale as big as you can so that your chest and diaphragm enlarge. Exhale slowly and let all the air in your lungs out. Repeat for 2 minutes or the duration of 1 song on the radio. The goal of this exercise is stress-reduction.
Toning your abdominals
It is such a simple exercise that it can be done while you are driving. Of course, you still have to be careful when driving. The exercise is called "ab squeeze" and can be performed anywhere, at any time, even when seated in a car. On an exhale simply pull your abs toward your spine without letting your back round. Keep the abs engaged and focus on breathing into the back of your ribs for three to five breaths.
Operating foot controls or even keeping the feet in the same position for long, would lead to fluid stagnation in the feet. Wiggling your toes will help pump the fluid out of your feet and back where it belongs. It is advisable to pay attention to the position of your toes while driving for a long time so that you do not keep your toes curled or extended for any length of time more than needed.
- Sitting for a long period of time can cause deep vein thrombosis or blood clothing, which is dangerous.
- Make sure you stretch your legs and ankle whenever you take a stop.
- Take your car time as an opportunity to improve your ability to sit up tall. As you’re driving, bring your awareness to lifting the back of your neck up. This basic adjustment ripples all the way down your spine and helps it unfurl to its maximum length.
- Strengthen the sides of your neck with isometric exercises. Relax your left shoulder. Simultaneously push your hand and head against each other. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat three to 10 times. Place your left palm on your left ear, relax your right shoulders and do the same.
- If you are out on a long drive, make sure to schedule regular breaks. If you feel tired, then get out of the car and get the blood fl owing so you are less likely to grow lethargic and tired.
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