Whether you’re a traveling nurse on your way to your next assignment, or just on a road trip, here are a few tips to keep that blood circulating while driving in the car for so long. I for one don’t have that big of problem with keeping loose while driving for extended period of times, you see, I probably have the world’s smallest bladder and take many, many rest stops along the way! My friends always try and limit my beverage intake, but without fail at every stop, I buy more to drink and eat… What’s with road trips and beef jerky?
All the frequent detours allow me to get up and stretch my legs and arms which keeps me alert, stimulates blood circulation and prevents my back from getting too stiff. I know many of you may just want to get there as quick as possible, but you should try and stop every couple hours, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Always allow time for breaks in your itinerary, it is imperative to your well being. Besides, you’re probably traveling through unknown territory and what better time to soak up the surroundings and make your trip a little more memorable. For instance, my favorite road trip discovery of late is this truck stop/fireworks stand/antique/lawn ornament store between Omaha and Kansas City. It’s like a buffet of useless things one could ever need to buy while on a road trip, unless you’re in desperate need of gnome for your garden… Then this is your place!
Okay, so here are a number of exercises you can do while traveling cross country.
• Pelvic tilt. Funny name, good exercise. This exercise may help prevent or relieve any lower back discomfort and will work your abdominal muscles. Sit up tall in yourseat and place your hands behind you at the small of your back. Now press your back into your fingers by contracting your abdominal muscles.Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. After doing this a few times, try holding the contraction longer.
• Quadriceps contractions. Using one leg at a time, straighten your knee and contract your quadriceps. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and do this several times.
• Upper-body stretches. Tilt your head toward one shoulder, then the other. Do shoulder circles in both directions. Clasp your hands together on the steering wheel and round your shoulders and upper back. If the weather cooperates, get out of your car for these exercises:
• Full-body stretch. Clasp your hands together and reach above your head, stretching yourself as tall as possible.
• Calf stretch. Step one foot behind the other and press your heel down. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
• Squats and lower back stretches. Stand beside your open car door and support yourself by holding onto your open window. Squat down to a 90-degree bend in your knees, then stand up. Do this 10 to 15 times. Stretch your lower back by bending at your waist and stretching away from the door.
So if you follow my suggestions, you can save yourself from pain and stiffness, all the while enjoying the scenic highways of these great United States. Happy travels!