thigh stretch


Rest stop workouts

With the end of summer looming, you may find yourself taking more road trips to the cabin or even traveling cross country. Extended car rides allow little to no movement, which is challenging on your body and mind.

As an exercise physiologist, the common complaints I hear from clients returning from a road trip include cramped legs and a stiff back, neck and shoulders. You might be surprised by how exhausted you can feel after sitting still all day!

The best way to ward off these problems is to take some time to get your blood pumping and your muscles stretched every couple of hours.

Alternate 10 minutes of heart-healthy movement with 10 minutes of stretching anytime you have to stop for gas, food or a pit stop. This will increase your energy and focus and is also good for your heart.

To get your heart rate up try jumping jacks, fast walking, jogging or marching in place, step-ups on a bench or jumping rope. 

The hips, lower back, shoulders, chest and neck muscles are the most likely to tense up after a few hours at the wheel. Here are a few examples of stretches you might want to try:

Back of arm (tricep and shoulder) stretches
Male stretching arm behind back

Neck (upper trap) stretches
Female stretching neck

Chest (pectorals) stretches
Female arms stretched out

Hip flexor stretches
Male doing lunge

Lower back stretches
Female stretching back

Thigh (quad) stretches
Male stretching leg-listicle size

Remember, road trips are about soaking in the sights. So, if you are traveling through large cities, try out the free 30-minute bike rentals (like Nice Ride in Minneapolis), take a walking tour or explore the city by foot.


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