It’s a fact of modern life—sitting in your car for hours each week. If you drive to work every day, you probably spend an average of an hour in your car each workday instead of doing something more productive, like moving and exercising.
If this describes you, here are six simple ways to turn that hour sitting behind the wheel into a no-sweat tone-up session. You can easily incorporate these isometric exercises into your daily commute.
Isometric exercises contract selected muscles in a stationary position with no movement, making them easy to do for commuters. The benefits of this type of exercise include muscle strengthening, stress relief, and pain relief from arthritis. They may even lower blood pressure.
The following traffic-turned-tone-up routine will work for anyone who sits. Just be smart, stay safe and keep your attention on the road—if you’re not coordinated or these exercises feel unnatural at first, do most of them while sitting in traffic or stopped at red lights.
Commuter’s Workout at the Wheel
Keep your eyes on the road and sit up straight, while trying to “grow an inch” out of your seat by bringing your shoulders back. Lift your head so that your upper spine is in a straight line. Pull your chin back so that your ears are directly in line with your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds—remember to breathe!
Tighten your abdominal muscles, pulling them back so your belly button moves toward your spine. Then, tighten your upper abs and move your ribcage slightly toward your hips. Hold for at least 10 seconds, then rest for a few seconds. Repeat 10 times or until your muscles reach fatigue. As you get stronger, increase your time you hold your “crunch.”
Flex your abdominal muscles while you raise hip, first your right and then your left, as high as it will go. Hold for a few seconds and lower. Repeat 10 times on each side. This one is best to do while at a stoplight or while parked.
This one’s simple: tighten your tush muscles, hold for about 10 seconds, rest and repeat.
Pelvic Tighten Up
Isolate your pelvic muscles and without using your butt muscles, draw up your pelvic muscles and pull in your navel at the same time.
Here’s one for every stoplight: grip your steering wheel at “9 and 3” and try to push your hands toward each other for several seconds. Rest, then grip the wheel and try to pull your hands away from each other for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times, or until you’re tired or the light turns green.