By Laurie Sweig
of mine travelled to Florida by car this year. Before heading off they
asked my advice on what to do to minimize the body stiffness that comes
with driving for long periods. They returned with a story about a
stranger approaching them offering help to push their car. The car was
fine. They had their hands on the trunk of the car do their calf
stretches. The stranger was relieved to hear that and commented, “never
seen an Audi that needed a push.”
is hard on our bodies. No matter how far you’re going it adds to your
daily “sitting” time. Research links sitting for long periods with a
variety of health concerns including increased blood pressure,
cardiovascular disease and overall body soreness. The frustrations of
traffic or bad weather increase anxiety so the perils of that can be put
on the list as well.
many years ago I drove from Ontario to British Columbia with a friend
and we agreed that we’d switch drivers every two hours whether we were
tired or not. That worked unbelievably well. It meant that the driver
didn’t get overly tired, and that we got out of the car and stood up at
regular intervals. It turns out it was both a safe and healthy option.
That was long before sitting was deemed a disease.
If you have some long drives in your future here are some ideas for you to incorporate:
• Stop every two hours to walk and stretch, especially your lower body (please contact me for a list of stretches to do).
• Drink water to stay hydrated. This will keep you more alert and it will give you a reason to stop regularly.
Pack healthy snacks that you can eat at your rest stops. Staying
nourished keeps you alert. Sliced up apples and some nuts are a great
other part of the equation is when you get to your destination. Be sure
to move around before you pull the suitcases from the vehicle. Many a
vacation has been ruined by a strained back that was the result of
grabbing a heavy bag after being idle for too long. Any kind of movement
will get the blood flowing and the muscles/joints mobile again. I
appreciate doing Jumping Jacks at the gas station make look kind of
weird but if enough of us start doing it, it will become the norm.
Something to think about.
Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor.
She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at email@example.com.