you might think there’s nothing you can do but listen to the radio or stare out the windows—certainly no way to keep fit and active while you’re stuck in a rolling box like this. But that’s not true! There are exercises you can do to keep your muscles working and your blood circulating while you’re stuck in a car. Keep these in mind next time you’re whiling away the hours in gridlock, and don’t let traffic congestion keep you from getting some fitness activity in.
1. Neck stretches
Turn your neck to the side, hold for a few seconds, and repeat five times. Then try it the other way. Then try tilting your head to the side, so that your ear touches your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.
2. Practice good posture
Sit up straight, as tall as you can, bringing your shoulders back and trying to keep your spine in a straight line. Hold for thirty seconds, breathing slowly.
3. Crunch time
Tighten your abdominal muscles with your hands at ten o’clock and two o’clock on the steering wheel. Your belly button should be pulled inward, toward your spine. Bring your shoulders forward and slowly exhale. Hold for ten seconds, release, and repeat.
4. Grip the wheel
Grip the steering wheel as hard as you can, then release, letting your shoulders relax at the same time. Repeat every few seconds for about a minute.
5. Tone your arms
Assuming you have clearance (and your car is stopped!), stretch one arm out the drivers’ side window and the other over the passenger seat. Hold your left palm up and your right palm down, then rotate so they switch. Repeat this up to 50 times, rest, and repeat.
6. Cheek to cheek
Clench your gluteal muscles (yes, that would be your cheeks…the ones you’re sitting on) together tightly, hold for ten seconds, release, and repeat. This is a good one to do any time you’re stuck sitting in the same spot for a long period of time.
Remember, if you have any health or mobility issues, talk to your doctor about any kind of exercise plan, even a simple one like this. Also remember not to let yourself get distracted while your car is moving. If you can do these exercises, though, you can strengthen your core and keep your spine limber even if the car ahead of you hasn’t moved an inch in the last ten minutes. Just remember, if you’ve got young kids in the car, they may not be able to stretch and adjust like you can to keep comfortable when they’re stuck in the car for a long time, so make sure babies are comfortably but securely seated in properly installed car seats and that older kids are seated correctly and wearing their belts with the right amount of tightness