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Ease the strains of driving

Driving for hours on end is stressful to the body. Without stopping occasionally to stretch your legs...

Ease the strains of driving during the Rally with these simple exercises and stretches.

This year Stephen is participating in the Cannonball 2000 rally in a Jet Black Bentley Continental GT - Registration: X2 ECO. If you have any questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to ask him, he will be more than happy to help. Stephen has over 10 years experience of working in the fitness industry which in turn has built him a solid foundation of sound, professional knowledge. Stephen is the founder of oneone fitness which specializes in creative fitness solutions ranging from home or work place gyms, to designing specialized training concepts for the likes of the British PGA and Kevin Keegan, ex England football manager.

Driving for hours on end is stressful to the body. Without stopping occasionally to stretch your legs, you are likely to experience pain and stiffness on your neck, shoulders and back at the end of a rally stage. You may also feel some strain in your eyes accompanied by a headache. More often than not you may also see some swelling on your calves and ankles.

You can prevent this from happening by taking frequent breaks and by exercising and stretching during those breaks. Here are a few simple exercises that you can do when you pull over for a break and/or for when you have finished a stage and are resting at the hotel.

Ankle Rolls

Ankle rolls are great for restoring proper blood circulation in the feet, ankles and legs. This exercise helps redistribute whatever blood and fluids that may have accumulated in your ankles and legs while you are sat clocking down those miles..

Step 1:  With one hand, hold on to something so you can keep your balance and you won't topple over. It can be a door roof or door handle of your car, railings or a nearby post. Put your other hand on your waist.

Step 2:  Lift your right leg and bend it slightly at the knee so your foot is a few inches off the ground.

Step 3:  Rotate your foot at the ankle slowly in a clockwise direction. Make eight complete rotations and then roll your ankle for eight more counts, this time in a counterclockwise direction.

Step 4:  Put your right foot down and repeat steps 2 and 3 with your left foot.

Leg Stretches

During long drives, it is common for you to experience stiffness and some contraction on your legs and thighs. These leg stretches will help relieve them as well as restore circulation to your legs.

Step 1:  Place your right foot on the side of your tyre or on the bumper of your vehicle. Make sure that your heel and toes are flat against the surface and your leg as straight as you can make it.

Step 2:  Bend forward and touch your toes with your fingertips, or at least try to. Extend your arm as far as you can until you feel the stretch at the back of your knee. Once you feel the stretch, hold it and count till eight.

Step 3:  Put your right foot down and repeat steps 1 and 2 with your left foot

Calf Stretches

Calf stretches are not only good for restoring blood circulation in the feet but are also great for preventing heel spurs. If you already have heel spurs, then these exercises will help you a lot in relieving the pain.

Step 1:  Place the toes of your right foot on your tyre.

Step 2:  Lean forward and push against your foot until you feel the stretch behind your toes and on the arch of your foot. Hold this position for eight counts.

Step 3:  Put your right foot down and repeat steps 1 and 2 with your left foot.

Waist Rotations

Waist Rotations can be very beneficial for you on your drive. Firstly, it will wake you up and make you more alert for the drive ahead. Second, it will help energize your internal organs in your abdominal cavity so you can digest your food properly. Thirdly, your arms will get a good stretch after holding that steering wheel for so long. Lastly, the rotations will help to realign the vertebrae in your lower back as well as soothe the stiffness in the muscles in that area.

Step 1:  Find a spot where you have a good space around you and where you are not likely to hit something or someone.

Step 2:  Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides and your knees slightly bent core engaged.

Step 3:  Twist from your waist to the right and let your arms swing freely about yourself. Then twist to the left with your arms still swinging.

Step 4:  Repeat the twists for 16 counts, eight to the right and eight to the left.

McKinsey Press (lower back)

Back arches can do three things for you. It can relieve the back pain that naturally results from sitting on the driver's seat for hours. It can also improve your flexibility. Lastly, it will help stretch your abdominal muscles.

Step 1:  Start by lying face down on comfy sort floor

Step 2:  Place your arms out at 90o to your head.

Step 3:  Lift your chest up off the floor using your arms to support yourself. Bend backward and feel the stretch along your abdominals. Hold your position for eight counts.

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls relieve the stiffness on the shoulders. It also helps soothe pain on the neck and upper back.

Step 1:  Stand with your back straight and your head held high.

Step 2:  Roll your shoulders backward for eight counts.

Step 3:  Roll your shoulders forward for eight counts.

Neck Rolls

Rolling the neck not only eases the stiffness of the neck and shoulder muscles but also allows blood to circulate back to your head.

Step 1:  Relax your neck and let your head fall forward. Imagine your head as a ball moving on its own momentum.

Step 2:  Let your head roll in a clockwise direction. Make sure you are moving your head slowly and gently so you won't feel dizzy or strain a muscle on your neck. Make four complete rotations.

Step 3:  Repeat step 2 in a counter clockwise direction.

Eye Rolls

Keeping your eyes on the road for hours can strain the eyes and affect your vision. By exercising the eyes, you get rid of the pain of eyestrain as well as prevent serious vision problems in the long run.

Step 1:  Remove your glasses if you're wearing them. Keep your head still and don't move it while doing this exercise.

Step 2:  Look up and blink slowly for four times.

Step 3:  Look to your right and blink again for four times.

Step 4:  Look down and make four blinks.

Step 5:  Look to your left and make another four blinks.

Step 6:  Look up once more for another four blinks.

Step 7:  Repeat step 5, then step 4, and then step 3.

Step 8:  Close your eyes for ten counts.

Driving long distances in the rally without taking any breaks can cause stress and strain to the body. But by taking short breaks from driving and doing a few simple exercises during these breaks, you will minimize the stress your body gets from these long drives. These exercises will also improve your health in the long run.

This year I will be participating in the rally. So if you would like me to show you how to perform any of these exercises. Or if you need more specialist advice then please find me and I will be more than happy to help you. 0797 0489 882

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