Getting comfortable stuck in traffic
Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, and one of the worst parts of it is sitting in a cramped car seat for an interminable length of time. Your back starts to hurt, your shoulders slump, your butt falls asleep…it’s the worst. But you don’t have to just sit there and waste away while the bumper-to-bumper gridlock in front of you crawls along an inch at a time! Believe it or not, there are exercises you can do while you’re trapped in your car. It may not be the kind of workout that’s going to burn hundreds of calories and get you ripped, but anything that can keep your muscles flexing, your blood circulating, and your heart going while you’re otherwise stuck doing nothing is beneficial. Remember this list the next time your afternoon commute grinds down to a standstill:
1. Posture work! Straighten out your spine, pull your shoulders back, tuck in your chin, and try to grow an inch or two taller. Hold this position for thirty seconds while breathing slowly, and repeat.
2. Neck stretches! Look to your left, hold for a few seconds, look forward, repeat five times, then do it to your right side. Next, tilt your head to the left, ear touching shoulder, hold for a few seconds, repeat five times, then do it on the right.
3. Wheel grips! Tighten your grip on the steering wheel, hard, for a second. Release, letting tension flow out of your shoulders. Repeat for about a minute.
4. Commuter crunches! Place your hands on the steering wheel at ten o’clock and two o’clock and tighten your abdominal muscles. Pull your navel in towards your spine. Roll your shoulders forward and exhale slowly. Hold for ten seconds, release, and do several more repetitions.
5. Clench your glutes! Pretend you’re trying to pick up a quarter with your butt cheeks and squeeze them together. Hold for ten seconds, release, and repeat several more times.
6. Arm toners! If you’re able to safely extend your arms out the window and over the passenger seat (do not do this while the car is in motion, please), hold your left palm up and your right palm down, then switch. Repeat this fifty times, rest, and repeat. Seems simple, but your arms will really feel the burn.
Now, if you have any health or mobility issues at all, you really need to check with your doctor before you do any kind of exercises, even simple ones like these. You also need to remember to only do these exercises when it’s safe to do so, when your car isn’t moving and when the exercises aren’t going to distract you from any road hazards you need to be paying attention to. If you’ve got kids stuck in the car with you, encourage them to stretch! Just make sure they’re strapped in properly and that their car seats are properly installed, if they still need them. Remember these exercises and you can get fitness activities in anytime, even at a long stoplight!