Easy Car Exercises
You’ve probably seen people doing all kinds of weird stuff in their cars when you’re stuck in gridlock during a commute. Some enthusiastically sing along to the stereo, some apply makeup, and others read or send text messages while behind the wheel. While you certainly don’t want to be one of those irresponsible drivers that practices distracted driving (to the detriment of everyone on the road), you wouldn’t mind getting more use out of your time spent inching down the highway every morning and evening. So if you find that you’re stuck in traffic quite a bit and you’d like to make the most of every hour of every day, here are a few ways to address your fitness needs when you’re in the car (instead of just working on your secretary spread). And if you’re still worried about becoming too distracted behind the wheel, simply wait until someone else is driving carpool to practice.
The easiest exercises involve muscle holding, or squeezing. You can’t exactly do squats or crunches in the car, but you can get some of the same results by performing a series of clench-and-release moves. Target your glutes, abs, or other muscle groups and then clench muscles tight, hold for ten seconds, and slowly release. Repeat as desired (but try to do at least ten reps for each muscle group). Try sitting up straight (instead of leaning back in your seat) to work abdominal and even back muscles in this way, and possibly lift your posterior slightly off the seat to work hammies and glutes (if you’re a passenger rather than the driver, or if you are on a long road trip and the cruise control is engaged). And don’t neglect other muscle groups like the quads (front of your thighs), calves, pecs, and the many muscles of the arms.
Another simple movement that anyone can do while in the car is shoulder rolls. Many people store tension in the neck and shoulders, especially when they spend the majority of the day hunched forward over a keyboard (or a steering wheel). Head and shoulder rolls will release tension and stretch muscles (although you might not want to do head rolls while driving since they will likely take your eyes off the road). But if you want to do more, you can also try shoulder raises (bringing shoulders up to the ears and squeezing) in order to strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper back.
Finally, you might use some props to help you engage various muscle groups. For example, you can squeeze a pillow or a small exercise ball between your legs to work the inner thighs. Or you might sit on a balance/stability disc in order to get your abdominal muscles doing more to keep you upright as you sit in the car. This may not seem like work, but it will actually force all of your abdominal muscles to fire in order to keep your body from tipping over, which makes it an extremely effective form of exercise in terms of toning your abs.
Of course, you could do more if you have more space in your car (and if you’re not the one driving), so you might want to consider checking the classifieds for SUVs or trucks for sale if you get really into the idea of car workouts. Or perhaps you should hold out for Google’s self-driving car so that you can do a full exercise routine on your way to work, even when you’re the only one in the vehicle. Until then, try a few of the easy exercises listed above.