Stopping frequently to stretch can help you feel more comfortable while you are driving. Doing these stretches can help you reduce the pain you are feeling from age, injury, and chronic pain, and prevent the addition of any new, driving related pains. Aim to stop every two or three hours, which should be easy if you are drinking enough water, in order to stretch and promote blood flow and decrease the strain on your muscles. Here are some great stretches to do when you stop:
- Standing Side Bend: Stand with your feet pressed together. Place your left hand on your left hip and reach your right arm up in the air. Lengthen the right side of your waist and bend slightly to the left. Hold for 5 breaths and then switch sides. This will stretch the entire sides of your body, from your legs up to your torso and arms.
- Standing Twist: Stand beside your car. Step your left foot forward and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Bring both arms to your left and hold on to the car to twist and look over your left shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths and then switch sides. This will release the tension in your spine and open your chest and shoulders.
- Forward Bend: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Interlace your hands behind your back and roll your shoulder blades towards each other. Bend your knees slightly and drop your chest toward your thighs. Let your arms come up and over your head. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. This will stretch your lower back, hamstrings, chest, upper arms, and neck.
- Ankle Rolls: Hold onto your car to keep your balance. Put your other hand on your waist. Lift your left leg and bend it slightly so your foot is a few inches off the ground. Rotate your foot at the ankle slowly for 8 rotations in a clockwise direction, and then follow that with 8 more rotations in a counter-clockwise rotation. Put your left foot down and do the exercise with your right foot. This will restore blood flow to your feet, ankles and legs. It will also redistribute whatever blood and fluids have accumulated in your ankles.
- Shoulder rolls: Stand with your back straight and your head held high. Roll your shoulders backward 8 times and then forward 8 times. This will help relieve the stiffness in your shoulders as well as soothe pain in the neck and upper back.