Did you know that we spend as much as 100 hours a year just by commuting back in forth in our vehicles? This means that all of the excuses that we tell ourselves in relationship to not having enough time to exercise are pretty much pointless. Why? Because there are actually exercises that we can do while riding in our cars.
Now the truth of the matter is that nothing can compensate for an actual weekly workout routine and when it comes to getting in the cardio that our bodies need, a “car regimen” is not really an effective remedy. But there are some things that can be done to get our blood pumping and energy going while sitting in a traffic jam or at a traffic light.
Breathe in. Breathe out
A lot of people probably don’t consider breathing to be an effective form of exercising, but if none of us did it…would exercising even be necessary? Probably not. Aside from the fact that we need to breathe in order to live, when we stretch before working out, a big part of that is incorporating deep breaths into our bodies, which as a direct result, provides us with bursts of oxygen. This gives us healthy doses of energy and peaks mental alertness (two major things needed, especially while driving). So, while you’re listening to your favorite radio station or CD, take out a song or two to breathe in and hold it for a count of five and then breathe out slowly.
Do the squeeze
If you drive a standard, then you’re automatically giving your legs a bit of a workout, but even if you drive an automatic, there’s something that you can do to tone your abs and buttocks. While listening to an upbeat tone, try squeezing your glutes together to the music. Hold for a count of five and then release, one buttock at a time. Repeat that throughout the song and by the end of it, you should feel a tightening in both your abdominal and buttocks region. If you do this for three songs, that’s an instantaneous 12 minute (give or take a few seconds) workout.
Curl the arms
The focus here is on the biceps and it’s really easy to do. On the way to work, take along a five-pound dumbbell or you can even use your water bottle or the can of soup that you’re going to eat for lunch. With the weight in your left hand, curl your arm slowly towards your left shoulder. Make sure to keep the rest of your body as stationary as possible and hold for a count of 10. Do the same with your right hand. It’s a quick way to stretch out your arms while firming them up too, and can be a great biceps toning workout if you had a little bit of weight to it.
Rotate the spine
Now, this is something that is recommended only when the car is at a standstill (so 5 o’clock traffic is perfect!). With your foot on the break, take a deep breath and then use your left hand to reach over the right side of your body. Grab the bottom of your car seat and twist your torso to the right. Make sure that your head follows your torso as you do it. Hold it for a count of five and then repeat with your right hand moving over to the left side of your body. It’s a great way to release some of the tension that’s inside of you if you sit at your desk all day at work or if find yourself having a long commute drive home.
Stretch those quads
If you’re in a compact, you might need to car hire and SUV to accomplish this one; however for all of the “big vehicle people” this is a good exercise for your quadriceps. Simply extend one leg far enough to straighten your knee and contract your quadriceps (the femur region). Hold for a count of ten and then repeat with the other leg. If you alternate both legs five times on the way home, before you know it, you’ll be reaching the home stretch (pun intended!).
As a final thought, if you find yourself spending a lot of time in your vehicle, make sure you ask your doctor if you are eligible for compression socks such as those from Jobst for example (or whichever works best for your taste). Having your legs relatively idle in your car for an extended period of time can cause blood circulation to slow down, leading to varicose and other health-related issues.
About the Author: Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for Hire Cars – Enterprise car hire, the best online car rental supplier with over 4,000 locations worldwide.