On The Road Again
Now that spring is here and summer is approaching, many of us are going on vacation! Although we have a blast at our travel destination, those long car rides to get there can be tiresome and take a toll on our bodies. Below are some tips to help make traveling more comfortable and keep your spine healthy along the way.
Stretch it out at pit stops
It’s important to get out of your car every 1-2 hours to stretch to keep your muscles awake and your blood flowing. When you stop to get gas or food, try taking a few laps around the parking lot and stretching out your legs, back, and neck.
Not only does stretching help prevent stiff joints and tense muscles, but it helps prevent deep vein thrombosis as well. This condition is characterized by the formation of blood clots, typically in the legs, which may happen as a result of being sedentary for long periods of time. Other ways to prevent deep vein thrombosis on car rides include wearing loose fitting clothes that do not constrict circulation, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sitting with your legs crossed.
Isometric exercises for the car
Dorsiflexion-Keeping heels on the floor lift your toes up and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
Core- contract your abs and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
Arms- Place hands on roof shoulder width apart. Push up onto ceiling and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
Legs- Imitate a wall sit by lifting your bottom out of the seat and carrying weight in your heels. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Other helpful tips
Bring your seat closer to steering wheel so you don’t have to reach as far with your leg. This will help prevent strain on your hip and lower back.
On long trips, periodically change position of the back of your seat so your spine isn’t stuck in one position the entire time.
Bring a pillow along to make your neck or lower back more comfortable along the ride
Don’t forget your shades! Long road trips can strain your eyes just as much as the rest of your body so be sure to wear and prescription glasses or contacts you may have and don’t forget your sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV light as well.