Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Exercise while in your car. Did you know you can?

Whether you have a long commute to work, driving is your job, or even if you are just waiting for your kids to get out of school, sitting in a car for a long period of time can leave you feeling a little stiff. Here are a few exercises you can do while waiting at a red light, and a few you can do while driving. As always, take caution when doing these exercises. It won't be helpful if you are too distracted to drive and end up causing an accident!

The easiest exercises to do while driving all have to do with holding, tightening, then letting go. These are called isometric exercises. Let's start with the feet, and work our way up the body.
  • Lift toes, hold 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Then curl your toes, hold 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Now wiggle, wiggle, wiggle those toes!
  • Now concentrate on your calves. Activate your muscle, hold for a few seconds, now release. From this point forward, I will just say squeeze and release.
  • Now concentrate on your quads (thighs). Squeeze and release.
  • Now your butt is probably the most numb from sitting in your vehicle for so long. Squeeze your gluts, hold for a few seconds, now release. Try that again. Ahhhh! So much better. =)
  • For the abs and chest, let's try a breathing exercise. This will also mobilize your spine a bit. Think of an empty glass that you are about to pour water into. It fills from the bottom up. Then picture drinking it through a straw, it empties top to bottom. Now imagine you are the glass and the air you breathe is the water. Take a breath in and concentrate on where you are filling up. Your belly will expand first, then your ribcage will open and finally your shoulders will rise just slightly. Now exhale by lowering your shoulders back down, your ribcage will close back in, and your belly will shrink. Do this a couple of times, but not too many! You don't want to get dizzy from all that fresh air while you are driving.
  • Back to the isometrics. Your abs. Tighten them (make sure you are still breathing), hold a few seconds, and release.
  • Arms. Squeeze those biceps, and release.
  • Hold on to that steering wheel really tightly, and now relax your hands.
  • Now on to your neck and shoulders. Shrug your shoulders up, hold for a few seconds, and release.
  • Your back. While holding onto the steering wheel, pull your shoulders down and back, as if you were trying to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold it...and release.
So, how do you feel now? Do you feel like you already worked out for the day? =) You can always find time to do your exercises, even if you have a long commute. Let me know what your favorite exercise is to do, or if you have any more to share.