It’s a daily occurrence for me: I look in the rear-view mirror to find that I can only see the top half of the back window. I am a chronic sloucher, and I am not alone. Whether you’re in a carpool, on a road trip, or just in traffic alone, being in the car is an excellent opportunity to strengthen some muscles and work on your posture. Try the exercises below the next time you find yourself halfway to being on the car floor, but remember to be safe.
Sit up straight with your shoulders squared and engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Breathe in for a slow count to 8, then out for another 8 count. Repeat for a total of 5 times in and out. This is a great exercise to do any time, whether you’re in the car or not. It’s inconspicuous, helps your posture, and relieves tension. In fact, this is a great exercise for any time you’ve been cut off in traffic.
Maximize the Gluteus
Your tush is the largest muscle in your body. Flex your butt muscles and hold them while you count to thirty. Relax for a bit, then do it twice more. When a thirty count is too easy, start increasing the number. Challenge yourself and don’t worry about what kind of face you might be making – it’s all in the name of health.
Look Ma, No Feet
Some exercises are great if you’re the passenger in a vehicle, but aren’t recommended for drivers since the use of your feet is necessary to, you know, operate the car. Next time you’re riding shotgun try this: rest your arms somewhere they’re not in your lap (armrest, door, etc.) and lift your feet off the floor bringing your knees towards your chest, then slowly lower them again. If doing both legs at the same time is too hard, try one at a time and work your way up. Remember to engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine; this will help you control the movement. Do as many as you can until you’re tired.
Practice these exercises when your legs are numb from a long trip, when you’re stuck in traffic, or keep the kids occupied by having them try. And if you’re a sloucher like me, you’ll find that you’ll be seeing the whole back window in the rear-view mirror before you know it. Happy driving!