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The freedom of the open road just seems to calls to some of us.  There is something wonderful about jumping into a car knowing the next time you get out you will find yourself in a different city, state or even country.  The anticipation of new experiences, revisiting places where old memories come to life and marveling at sights unimagined is part of why we love our road trips.  We know that at the end of our journey a great reward awaits us. It is only a few hours or days away.

Road trips are often just as exhausting as they are exhilarating.  Sitting in a vehicle for hours on end takes a significant toll on your body. Driving for long distances can also zap your energy level leaving you too exhausted to do anything by rest when you finally arrive at your destination.

As the hours and miles progress, so do the aches and pains.  

A dull ache in your back seems harmless at first.  A slight repositioning of your hips may provide a lot of relief.  However, before you know it, there really is no comfortable position and you are fidgeting constantly to try to escape the ache.  Then comes the pain.

Our bodies were made to move.  When we can’t move and are forced to stay in one position, no matter what that position is, for a long period of time, bad things start to happen.  Basically, our bodies stop functioning properly. Muscles become achy as the blood supply that brings them rich nutrients is reduced. This reduction in blood flow is also responsible for the decrease in energy levels on long drives.  

It doesn’t have to be this way!  

There is a simple solution to keep your blood pumping and your body energized throughout your entire trip.  Finding ways to move will help increase the blood flow which will delay, decrease and may even completely prevent the onset of discomfort on long trips.   This not only keeps you more comfortable, but also more alert and safer behind the wheel.

Here are a few energizing tips you can use on your next road trip to make sure you are fresh and energized when you arrive at your destination!

Make the most out of your rest stops

When making a pit stop to fill up your tank, fill up your belly or empty your bladder, make the most out of that time.  Although walking is a fantastic exercise, it may not be enough to get the blood flowing.

Try these exercises:

Squats

Backward kicks

Gentle torso twists

In the driver’s seat

You may find that after a few hours, your neck, shoulders, and lower back may be feeling achy.  While keeping your hands on the wheel and your attention on the road, you can try these exercises to relieve that achy feeling.

Chin nods

Backwards shoulder rolls

Gluteal contractions

Abdominal contractions

Shotgun

Being in the front passenger’s seat can be a tough job.  Your muscles get tight and sore too! Try these exercises to keep your blood flowing.

Ankle alphabet

Seated marching

Elbow to opposite knee

No matter how long your trip is, by applying these exercises you will find that when you arrive at your destination you will be refreshed and pain free!

Here is another gem just for you.  If you experience chronic pain in your low back or neck, or anywhere, talk to a physical therapist so that he/she can provide you with specific exercises that can help you move safely while on your trip.