Crunches in the Car: Ways to Exercise While Driving
Techniques to stay fit while riding in the car
If you have a long commute and spend your day stuck at a desk, chances are you don’t have much time to exercise. That hour you spend behind the driver’s seat every day might feel like a sedentary waste of time, but it can actually be an opportunity to exercise.
Try these simple ways to strengthen and tone your body while in the driver’s seat. You can also do these while riding in a bus, plane, or passenger seat. Thanks to The Health Exchange, the Seattle Times, and the Livestrong Foundation for suggesting them.
*Note: Always remain focused on the road while operating a vehicle. Limit your exercising to when the vehicle is stationary, such as at a red light or when you’re waiting outside your child’s school.
It’s easy to slouch while driving, especially since that comfy seat feels relaxing during the early morning or after a long day of work. But this is a prime opportunity to strengthen your posture and tone your chest!
Sit upright, extend your arms to 9-and-3 positions on the steering wheel, and clench them toward each other, working your triceps and chest. Then, pull yourself toward the wheel and arch your back, stretching between the shoulder blades.
To strengthen your core, twist your trunk to one side and the other, holding for a couple of seconds before rotating back and forth. Then, pull your belly button in and clench it; contract your abs as you breathe rapidly. Do this repeatedly and you should feel a good burn.
Wall sits are one of the best exercises you can do for your thighs and legs. While you may not have a “wall” in the car, you can imitate the action by positioning your legs so they’re even with your shoulders and digging in your heels while pulling yourself up an inch off the seat and hovering.
To tone your inner thighs, put a soft pillow between your knees (not near your feet) and clench them together, holding the position. You should feel the burn travel all the way up to your buttocks.
Afterward, do calf raises by rolling onto your toes and lifting your heels, raising and lowering them steadily.
To keep your neck flexible and toned, make sure you frequently stretch it. It’s common for people to tighten or tilt their necks without realizing it (whether in the car or not), which strains the muscles unhealthily.
To fix this, sit upright and alternate turning your head fully left then right, holding for 10 seconds each way. Then, do the same by tilting your head toward either shoulder. Finally, look down and up in the same manner.
There are two great ways to work your arms in the car. One way is to stretch your arms out to the sides as far as they can go (rolling down the driver’s side window and making sure no one is in the passenger seat). Alternate pointing your palms up and down (right up while left down, switch). It will take about 50 reps to feel the burn, but it does work.
Another method is to place your palms flat against the ceiling of the car and walk your hands back behind you until you feel your chest and arms stretch. Slowly walk them back in the same manner.
Who doesn’t want to have nicer glutes after riding in the car? Squeeze them together fiercely while seated, hold that position, and then slowly release. Do this repeatedly and regularly for best results.
In addition to working out inside the car, do some jumping jacks or run laps around the parking lot whenever you stop for a break on a long road trip. Your body will appreciate it!
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.