Stretching to Keep Limber
Stretching is usually something that is associated with athletics or exercising. Why would it be important for a driver to learn about stretching and incorporate it into everyday life?
Stretching improves cholesterol and your overall blood circulation. It can also rid and prevent aches and pains common with long hours of driving. On top of that, stretching has been linked to losing a few pounds. As a driver, you are apt to become stiff after a long day on the road. Here are some helpful tips to help keep you limber.
Full Body Stretch
Allocate time in your schedule to walk each day. Walking is a natural way to allow your muscles to stretch without having to push and pull on your muscles in abnormal ways. In addition, walking increases your metabolism and keeps your mind sharp. Moving increases a person’s heart rate for the duration of the activity. An increased heart rate causes an increase in blood circulation, which in turn increases oxygen flow to your muscles and brain! Stay sharp and walk at least 10 – 20 minutes a day.
Stretches For Wrists
Driving puts your body in a static position for long hours each day. Holding onto a steering wheel for hours at a time warrants stiff muscles and, in the long-term, can lead to arthritis. If your wrists feel tight, try using your steering wheel to apply pressure in a backward motion to loosen the tendons on the interior wrist. To stretch the posterior wrist, use your opposite hand to pull down on your fingertips. Hold each stretch for ten seconds and repeat each hold two to three times.
Stretches For Back
Each night while lying in your bed, hug your knees to your chest. You may not be able to pull them entirely to your chest. This is okay! Pull them just far enough so you feel a stretch in your lower back. This movement loosens the tension you may feel along your spine after a long day of driving. If your pain radiates horizontally, add a controlled twisting motion while in this same stretching position. Gently pulling your knees to the left and then to the right. Repeat this motion 5 – 10 times.
To prevent upper back slouching, try placing a small pillow behind your lower back. This will better your overall posture and reduce stress on your lower back!
Stretches For Neck And Shoulders
Shoulder and neck stiffness stems from slouching for long periods of times. As mentioned above, place a small pillow behind your lower back while driving to prevent neck and shoulder tightness. If you continue to experience shoulder tightness, try these stretches:
SHOULDER PRESS: While sitting with correct posture, press both shoulders down. Hold this position for 3 seconds before repeating 10 – 15 times.
HEAD PULL: Placing your hand over your head, pull your head sideways to your shoulder hand hold it for 3 – 5 seconds before switching sides. This motion stretches each side of your neck where it attaches to your trap muscle and behind the ear where it attaches to your skull.
SHOULDER AND TRAP STRETCH: If your tightness lies more in your shoulders, try the across-body stretch. Using your opposite arm, pull your right arm across your body to feel a stretch in your right tricep and back muscles that stretch across your shoulder blade. To optimize this stretch, practice this motion with correct posture while pushing your shoulders down.
After you are done Stretching…
Conclude your stretching session with a minute of deep breathing. Drawing your attention to your breath can not only relieve stress and relax the mind, it relaxes muscles you may not have known were tense in the first place.
Stretching is important for overall health and comfort. Taking 10 minutes each day to better your posture while stimulating better blood circulation can improve your energy levels and drastically reduce chances of chronic muscle pain. Make yourself a priority and stretch daily.