Travelers: Try these 6 must do stretches

It is that time a year again when we find ourselves sitting in a vehicle as we travel from one house to the next celebrating the holidays.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will always love a good car ride blasting “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. However, we all know that sitting for too long in a vehicle increases joint aches, muscle stiffness, and occasionally causes a groan when exiting the car. One of the ways to decrease this discomfort is to complete gentle stretches frequently throughout your road trip.

Below are some simple, yet beneficial stretches you can do while sitting in a vehicle to help make the holiday travel a bit more enjoyable.

Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds at a time and repeat three times every 30 minutes to help keep your body moving.

Neck Stretches

1) Side tilt – Begin by sitting up straight. Bring one ear to your shoulder and hold. You should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck.  Make sure to repeat on both sides!

Neck Stretch to the side

2) Chin to chest – Again, make sure you are sitting up straight. Gently bring your chin to your chest and feel a stretch on the back side of your neck.

Neck Stretch Forward

Chest and Shoulder Stretches

1) Butterfly – Interlock your fingers behind your head without pulling or creating tension in your neck. Open up your elbows as wide as you can. You should be able to feel this stretch in the front side of your shoulders and across your chest.

Butterfly Stretch

2) Arm Hug – Cross one of your arms over your body and gently pull it closer to your chest with the other arm. You will feel a stretch across the backside of your shoulder. Repeat on both sides!

Upper Back Stretch

1) Big Reach – With your arms straight out in front of you, reach as far as you can creating a slightly rounded upper back.  Again, you will feel a stretch across the back sides of your shoulders and through your upper back

Arm Reach to Stretch your upper back

Hip Stretch

1) Piriformis stretch – Cross one leg over so your ankle is on top of your knee. Sitting up straight, gently lean forward and feel the stretch in your buttock region. Don’t forget the other side!

piriformis Stretch

Ankle Stretch

Ankle Pumps – Point and flex your toes back and forth. This helps with blood flow to your legs when you have been sitting for a while.

Ankle Stretch
ankle stretch

Note: These stretches are not meant to cause or worsen any symptoms you may be experiencing or create pain.  If they do cause/worsen any symptoms or create pain, seek professional consultation.

Stretches should only be done by a passenger as to not distract the driver and ensure safety of self and others.

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