Not many people enjoy being cramped in an airplane – barely able to move for hours while impatiently waiting to land at their destination. The situation is little different for drivers since there is more room to move around in your seat but long hours of sitting can take their toll on your patience and your body.
Time is money and long stops can be costly. But there are simple exercises and stretches you can do while driving or on a short rest stop that will keep you alert and finely tuned, like your rig.
Let’s work from the ground up.
Foot flexes are ideal for keeping your leg moving when otherwise you might by sitting motionless for a long stretch on the road. It’s as simple as putting your foot down and then raising it or flexing it up for 30 seconds the next time you are taking a break from driving. Alternating this stretches your calf muscles and keeps the blood flowing to avoid discomfort.
Up to the midsection where posture is everything. It might look ridiculous – who can see you, anyway? – but sitting up straight with your shoulders back is a great way to strengthen stomach muscles and keep everything in alignment. If you have bad posture (like many people who sit at a desk all day) it might be painful to start this exercise but over time you will find that you naturally sit up straight because it is actually more comfortable.
Rather than being hunched or totally slouched in your seat, sit straight up with your shoulders pulled back to align the body instead of pulling forward. This has great long-term benefits and not just when you’re behind the wheel.
During your next rest stop, take 30 seconds to put your arm against the wall and lean into it. This stretches out the muscles that are locked in place when your hands are on the steering wheel. Do this on each side for 30 seconds. Better yet, do it when you get out of the cab and when you are heading back in. Two minutes of stretches will make a huge difference on the arms for the next several hours of your drive.
Moving up to the head and neck – you might not feel tension as you look straight ahead, but over time you know you find yourself rubbing your neck or doing head rolls to try make it feel better. Again, the way to ease the pain is to keep moving.
Slight head tilts to the left and right, holding the position for 10 seconds before moving to the next side, will keep the blood flowing and the muscles active. Even tilting your chin up and to the left, and up and to the right while you look straight ahead is great to stretch out the neck.
There are little exercises you can do to keep the body in top shape while boosting your productivity behind the wheel.