Driving to work is a boring necessity for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be so. You can use that time spent crawling through traffic to get some much needed exercise and keep your body in top shape. Don’t just sit in your seat and sulk through your commute–try some of these easy exercises that you can do without ever getting out of your seat.
Biceps Curls in Traffic
Working the arms to ‘tone’ and build muscle is one of the most popular activities at the gym for many people, and it just so happens to be an exercise that you can do in your car. Stash a small dumbbell under one of your seats or in the glove compartment, and you can do sets of bicep curls while you’re stuck in traffic to make productive use of your time. The sitting position is perfect for maintaining posture while you do this simple exercise.
I don’t however, recommend curling at full speed on the highway. Instead, the following tips will teach you how to exercise in your car without any equipment at all.
Arms and Shoulders
Instead of performing actual curls, I recommend isometric contractions using the steering wheel. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and pull towards your body to flex your biceps. Hold the flex for a full minute before resting. You can also use this same motion to flex your lats like an isometric row.
To work your triceps, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and push away from your body or pull straight out to the side. The same side motion and an upward motion can be used to flex the shoulders as well. In fact, pulling away from the steering in any direction parallel to your upper body will target the shoulders.
Work the Abdomen
Sitting all day long can wreak havoc on your midsection. While you are driving, breathe out and tighten your abs. Breathing out first, is what allows you to maintain a maximum contraction. Squeeze the abs hard for a minute then relax for 10-20 seconds. Do this as often as you can during your commute.
Work The Buttocks
You spend enough time sitting on your butt everyday–why not take some time in the car to give it a workout? Squeezing your glutes to the rhythm of your favorite music is a great way to get an easy workout that will tighten and tone the muscles in your abdomen and rear.
You can also work the pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises, which will help prevent incontinence down the line and improve your sex life as well! These are some of the easiest workouts to do anywhere, and they have some of the greatest benefits.
Shrug the Traps and Roll the Neck
If you experience tightness and soreness in your neck and shoulders, you’re not alone. Stiff necks and shoulders are a product of bad posture and lack of flexibility, which many of us are unable to avoid. Doing shoulder shrugs while you drive is a great way to relieve the tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper back. You can also roll your neck in gentle circles, but only do this when your car is stopped or you might veer off the road!
Squeeze a Tennis Ball and Other Forearm Strengtheners
This is a great way to tone and strengthen your arms and relieve stress at the same time. If rush hour traffic works on your nerves, bring a tennis ball along on your commute to squeeze. This exercise not only relieves frustration, but will also build up the muscles in your forearm and wrist. If you have access to grip trainers such as the Captains of Crush grippers, those would work well too. Carpal tunnel is a serious problem for many people who spend their days working on computers, and toning your forearm muscles is a great preventative measure.
One of the best exercises of all is deep breathing. Open up your lungs and stretch out your chest and back muscles to breathe as deeply as possible. This has an immediate calming effect for many people, but it will also help to energize you for the day by sending more oxygen to your brain and muscles. This is a great exercise that you can do in the car while you drive, on the computer while you compare online insurance quotes, even while you watch TV in your leisure time.
These exercises will not make you a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, but they will burn extra calories and stimulate blood flow, which assists in recovery. The results of your progress is the sum of your individual efforts. These little activities all add up and they will help you from being bored out of your skull during your daily commute. Always take advantage of your free opportunities to exercise.