Wear loose-fitting non-binding clothing like well worn sweats!
Proper headrest adjustment - the headrest should be raised so that it is centered to the back of the head.
Pack and be sure to apply sun screen. Yes, you can burn through the window - and there is nothing worse than being sunburned on the one arm that was against the window - or worse yet, half your face!
Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and eye strain from squinting.
Take regular breaks during your drive - rule of thumb is at least once every two hours. Get out, move, walk and stretch.
Pack some bottled water. It's not only to drink but you can exercise on the road with it!
Always bring healthy food snacks on long car rides to to reduce poor or impulse choices.
FAMILY FUN GAMES FOR THE ROAD TRIP
Kids are going to be best motivated when they are actively involved with the rest of the family. Since you are all going to be in the same small space for a length of time whether going to the cottage or crossing the country, you may as well make the best of it with some fun games. Really, how many times can you sing "100 bottles..." anyway?
Turn off that DVD Player or Nintendo DS at intervals. Confiscate the teen-cult media devices (I-Pods and text-capable cellphones) and encourage some real social interaction! These devices are great for some peace and quiet - but they promote inactivity. Engaging with the environment or the people around you tends to promote physical activity and gets the blood moving. Remember that inactivity doesn't just cause stiffness and fatigue, there is a danger of developing a DVT - or deep vein thrombosis.
1. Distribute digital cameras or share one and pass it around. Getting some use in the car from the digital camera is a fun way to document a roadtrip from the perspective of each passenger - after the trip, there will be great pictures for the scrapbook when you get back home and since everyone had a turn with the camera, there is likely to be a shot of everyone to include.
2. A low tech alternative to in-car amusement is to have a social and active family scavenger hunt. You create a list of things to look for:
|•Dog in a car
•Light-blue pickup truck
•Sign with the word "welcome" on it
•Sign with the word "no" on it
•Somebody wearing a hat
•Car with big dice hanging from the rearview mirror
•Somebody singing in a car
•Car pulling a trailer
•Truck pulling two trailers
•Bird of prey
•Living Wild Animal (Moose, Deer, Bear, Fox, Raccoon, Skunk)
2. Distribute a pedometer to each passenger in with the goal being to see who can walk the most throughout the breaks during the journey. It's a great way to monitor the level of activity each person engaged in during the trip. If you have small children - gift wrap a small new toy and hold an awards ceremony at the end of the journey - little kids take shorter steps so they are sure fire to win this competition! And what a great opportunity to plan positive reinforcement of exercising!
When I went to SportChek on Pembina Highway - I found a great digital pedometer for less than $10.00.
3. Encourage writing of the alphabet or numbers 1 - 100 using snazzy "air-writing" techniques with the toes. 4. Play a game of Simon Says - using all of the exercises that are to follow for both in the car and out of the car.
IN - CAR - AEROBICS: Our goals are to prevent muscles from tightening up, but most important to reduce the incidence of deep vein thrombosis or embolus. An Embolus is a blood clot that breaks free - it can go to the lung - this is very painful and life threatening. In addition to speaking about the benefits of exercise, DVT is an issue particularly close to me as my mother suffered with a pulmonary embolism just this past Spring. Of course we would only responsibly recommend that the drivers avoid any exercises or stretches which distract their attention from the road - or remove their feet or hands from ready safe positions. Our drivers ought to take regular breaks from driving (like switching with a passenger) to engage in these activities or strictly wait until they completely immobilized by a traffic jam or only when they are out of the car to engage in the Out of Car - Aerobics. The best rule of thumb is to stop driving every two hours to get some physical activity. For people with back conditions or painful arthritis, the recommendation is once per hour:
Foot Roll - take off your shoes and roll your feet into balls, the spread toes as wide as possible. Roll feet from heels to toes on the floor, getting first the toes and then the heels up off the floor as high as possible to give the feet a good stretch.
- Stamp feet / march in place / bounce your knees and rotate these activities for 15 seconds each three times.
- Point toes to stretch the muscles at the front of the leg, bring them back toward you to stretch the muscles at the back of the leg - hold for 2 seconds and alternate back and forth 10 times.
- Ankle rotations - still with shoes off, lift your feet up off the floor as high as possible and circle each ankle five times in both a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction.
- Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor and raise both heels to increase blood flow to the legs. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Place a pillow or rolled up towel between the knees and squeeze, hold for 3 seconds and release slightly for 3 seconds - repeat 15 times.
- Contract abs by "sucking in the gut" but do not hold your breath. Hold for 2 seconds and release - repeat 15 times.
- Hands to ceiling and push up against the roof for 5 seconds and release - repeat 10 times
- Elbow circles - Fingertips onto shoulders and draw 15 circles in clockwise and then counter-clockwise directions - this is sure to get some funny looks from the truck drivers!
- Shoulder rolls and 2 second shoulder shrugs 10 times each.
- 4 sets of 10 biceps curls with the bottle of water for each arm
- 4 sets of 5 tricep stretches - 1 hand at a time over your head and grip the head rest - alternatively, reach as far down your neck and back - hold for a count of 5.
- Ticklish Rib stretch - with your right hand reach under your left arm as far as you can along your left ribs and back - hold for 10 seconds and then do the other side.
- Side to side shimmy - best performed with "I like to Move it Move it Move it!" blasting from the radio
- 4 sets of 25 2 second glute (bum-muscle) clenches - also works great with music - see how high you can raise yourself up in the seat!
- 4 sets of 10 Kegel Exercises - Moms know what I am talking about! You want to use the muscles that help you to suddenly stop urinary flow - and you hold them for a couple of seconds and release.
- Superstretch - Toe to the nose - great for the kids - challenging for some adults - hold each big toe to the nose for 5 seconds and release - repeat 10 times
- Superhug - Bend over and wrap arms behind knees, grabbing onto each elbow. Using legs as an anchor, pull your torso away from your knees rounding the back up toward the sky for a great back stretch. Hold for 5 seconds - repeat three times.
OUT OF CAR EXERCISES:
- Leg stretch - Stand on one foot and place the heel of the other foot on the bumper of your car. Bend over and touch your toe. Change legs and repeat. This movement helps to relax the calf and thigh muscles that become contracted while operating the foot controls. Lymph stagnates in the legs while driving and this movement helps to get it flowing again. It is best practiced when first stepping out of your car.
- Twists - Stand with slightly bent knees. Hands at your sides. Relax. Twist your waist back and forth swinging your arms out fully letting them flail along. This seemingly simple movement has many, many benefits. First it helps to realign your back, especially the vertebrae in the lumbar region. The vertebrae get compressed while driving. Second, it gives your internal organs a good massage, helping them do a more efficient job. This internal massage leads to improved circulation and better digestion. And you will need improved digestion to handle your road trip food.
- Calf Stretch - If you are ever prone to heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) or just want to make sure you don't, do these simple stretches while pumping gas or anywhere where you may have to stand for a couple of minutes. Find a curb - like the one the gas pump sits on - and place your toes on the curb and your heel on the surface below. Rock your weight forward until you feel a slight stretch in the tendon or your calf. Don't push too hard just feel it stretch and hold for at least 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. If your don't have a curb handy, use your tire. Place your toe on the tire with your heel on the ground. Lean forward to feel the stretch.
- Arches - Stand about three feet from the side of your car facing away from it. Reach up with your hands over your head. Arch your back and reach behind you to grab the rain gutter or roof rack. Lean on back trying to touch your head to the window. Hold for at least 30 seconds. This exercise is a great overall stretch. It eliminates most back pain due to driving and is an excellent tummy toner as well. Once you get more advanced, try stretching to the hood or bumper.
- Fender push-ups - Stand about three feet away from the fender of your car facing it this time. Keep your legs and back straight and lean over and support your weight on the fender. Now, bend your elbows in a push up motion. This will give you a light shoulder tone up and enhance circulation. For the more advanced or flexible, try using the bumper or door sill.