Sedentary lifestyle is one of the big lifestyle issues today and even though rally driving will definitely get your blood flowing, the body position in the car is still sitting. Being in a seated position for extended periods of time takes a toll on the body and it’s essential to do some body maintenance to maintain range of motion and avoid pain. Let’s look at 7 great stretches that will help you deal with all body parts that are affected by prolonged sitting.
Let’s start at the top and work our way through the rest of the body. Sitting in the driver’s seat for a long time can be very strenuous for your neck and shoulder muscles that stabilise your head. Get in the habit of doing this one simple stretch after each drive. With your left arm, reach over your head trying to touch the top of your right ear. Now gently pull your head to the left until you feel the stretch in your right neck. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch arms and repeat the stretch on the other side. If you experience neck pain often you might want to think about a more comprehensive neck routine. Check out this video for more inspiration.
When your hands are on the wheel, you close your chest up which can roll your entire shoulder and upper back forward, potentially leading to an unwanted hunched look to your posture. Practice this one easy stretch after driving for a long time. It works best in a doorway. Press both of your hands on each side of the entryway, so your upper arms are parallel to the floor and your elbows are bent 90 degrees. And slowly lean forward and hold for 30 seconds.
Wrists can easily stiffen up after hours of driving and the wrist tendons can shorten overtime if not stretched properly leading to pain and dysfunction. To combat this, simply bend your wrists forward or back and carefully press them against the steering wheel. Repeat on both sides and don’t rush, the key is a mild stretch that’s held for about 30 seconds and done regularly.
Your legs can feel beat up after a long time spent driving. Especially glutes can feel very numb and stiff since most of your bodyweight rests on them. You can try this very effective glute stretch either standing up on your own or with the use of your car. Place your left foot on the bumper of your car at a right angle to your body. And try to tilt your torso forward over your leg, keeping your hips square to the car. As soon as you feel a good stretch in your glutes try to hold the position for about 30 seconds while breathing. Repeat on both sides. Check out this video to see the proper form and how to do it just standing up.
Hip flexor stretch
Your hip flexors tend to get weak and shortened after a long period of sitting. To stretch them out when you get out of the car kneel with one of your knees on the floor and the other foot in front with your knee on that leg bent. Then push your hips forward while keeping your back upright. Hold for 30 seconds and alternate sides.
Hamstrings, the muscles on the back of your thighs, are under constant load when you’re sitting. To give them some relief try this stretch. Stand with one of your legs just in front of the other and bend your back knee, resting your weight on the bent knee. Tilt your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs and hold for about 30 seconds. You can do this stretch standing, sitting, or even on the ground depending on your stiffness level. Check out this video to see how to do it effectively.
Last but not least, your calf muscles can also get stiff from being stuck in one position for a long time. To stretch them out, stand in front of a wall and step forward to rest the ball of your foot partially on the wall. Lean forward and rest your hands on the wall while keeping your heel, hip and head in a straight line. Try to keep your heel on the ground and hold the position for 30 seconds. Alternate sides. Check out this video to see how it’s done.