Exercises you can do in your car - what the experts have to say!
At Infinite Health, we consistently treat people who have developed issues over time in their neck, shoulders and backs from too much prolonged sitting.
These issues are largely due to long desk hours, sitting in the car in city traffic, COVID testing lines, or long car trips to go away on holidays. Unfortunately, they result in the accumulation of tension in the body from lack of movement and lead to aches, pain and tightness.
Fortunately, to keep your body healthy and pain free, here are our recommendations for what drivers and passengers can do while sitting in cars.
Must-try exercises for prolonged car sitting
One of the most important aspects to remaining pain free while in prolonged sitting periods is to utilise a range of exercises which promote movement and keep you remaining limber. These include:
Exercise #1 - Active Range of Motion
How? Bring your chin to your chest, up to the ceiling, rotate to the right, rotate to the left, bring your ear to either side shoulder, ensuring you return back to the middle after each position. Pausing for 1-2 seconds in each range of motion.
Why? One of the best things you can do for your neck to reduce muscle tension building up from a lack of movement, is movement.
Exercise #2 - Levator Scapula Stretch
How? Turn your head to the side, then point your noise down towards your armpit, place the same side hand on the back of your head, using it to gently push down and increase the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds each side, perform 1-2 rounds.
Why? Generally speaking a lot of drivers sit with their shoulders hunched up and rounded forward, so stretch out the muscle that tightens up from this position.
Exercise #3 - Seated Chin Tucks
How? Lift your chest up, sitting upright on your tailbone, gently push the base of your head back towards your head rest, making a slight double chin in the process, hold for 3 seconds, relax off, repeat for 5 reps.
Why? This will strengthen the muscles of your neck that bring your head back into a more aligned posture. This can also help reduce muscle tension that builds up in the first place.
What to avoid during prolonged car sitting
Another aspect to remaining pain free during prolonged car sitting is to avoid the main triggers for aches and pains. Two simple tips you can utilise include:
Tip #1 - Avoid sitting in a slumped posture for long periods. This is where your lower back rounds and sits flush to the bottom of your car seat, your shoulders round over and your head pokes forwards.
Instead, sit upright on your tailbone and gently lift your chest up. You can also place a small rolled up towel in the arch of your lower back in order to help you maintain this position.
Tip #2 - Avoid prolonged periods of no movement. Although this is easier said than done, regular small bouts of movement are in fact your best friend.
Best practice to overcome this is to regularly conduct the active range of motion exercise, rotate your shoulders from side to side, bowing your chest over, lifting it up as much as possible, and break up your trip with regular stops to stretch your legs.
For more tips on keeping your body healthy and avoiding hazardous movements, visit the Infinite Health blog today.
If you've been struggling with chronic ongoing neck pain, then check out our exercise programs to improve your posture & core strength! Tap the button below.