Rise and shine.
What better way is there to start your day than engaging in a flexibility routine before you commute to work by car?
The amount of time you spend each morning traveling to your destination in your automobile can be an annoying experience, causing a great deal of angst and anxiety.
This will most likely result in tense, tight muscles throughout your body, particularly in your shoulders, upper and lower back areas, while the lack of lower body movement will decrease blood circulation in your legs.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to get a measure of stretching in before you hit the road because you don’t know how long the probable traffic nightmare will last.
Here is a list of five stretches that will loosen up your tight muscles, increase blood flow and help you deal with the upcoming stress.
Note: The following program can be modified for time considerations, performing one to two sets of each exercise for the time being, and then later carried out to a greater extent.
Lying Lower Back Stretch
This particular flexibility exercise should be done indoors for the comfort factor alone.
Technique: While lying on a flat surface, pull your knees up to your chest, lifting your pelvis a few inches of the ground.
You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your lower back, but not anything to the point of extreme discomfort.
Frequency: Hold the stretch for 30-40 seconds.
Forward Head Stretch
The beauty of this stretch is it can be performed either standing outside your car, or while sitting inside it.
Technique: Tuck your chin into your chest as if you were nodding. Hold for a second or two. Then gently pull your head forward. You should feel the stretch along the mid back to upper back areas (trapezius).
Frequency: Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Then gradually return to the starting position. Repeat as necessary.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Since there is little to no movement in your lower body while driving, stretching the large and smaller muscles of your legs are good ways to loosen them up, and get the blood coursing through them.
The following flexibility exercises will address three lower body muscle groups.
Technique: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, preferably with a hand on a tree or even your car for balance.
Grab the ankle of the leg you’re stretching, and pull back toward your buttocks until you feel the quad muscles working.
Engage your abdominals to prevent your lower back from arching. Slowly return to the starting position.
Frequency: Hold for 20-30 seconds. Follow by stretching the opposite leg.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Technique: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your fingers downward while bending your trunk at the waist, with your knees locked. Reach as far back as possible, let your head hang loose, and hold the stretch.
You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your hamstrings. But do not force it to the point of extreme pain.
Note: it’s important to remember not to bounce during this stretch as microscopic tears may occur over time.
Frequency: Hold the stretch for at least 10-15 seconds. Follow by gradually returning to the starting position.
Standing Calf Stretch
Technique: Place your hands, with your arms locked, on a tree or fence, with your legs as far back as possible.
Lean on the stationary surface as you unlock your arms while keeping your feet and legs in place.
The further your legs are back, the more you’ll feel the stretch in the intended area (claves).
Frequency: Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.