Summer has officially arrived! And for many of us, that means endless trips to the cottage or campsite. It also means countless hours spent on the road either as the driver or as a passenger. And while every brand seems to claim their car’s seats are the comfiest, no amount of leather and electric doohickeys can eliminate the discomfort or stress of sitting in a car for hours and hours.
But fear not, even on the road there are many ways to maintain your health and wellness and ensure you don't spend the rest of your trip recovering from a not-so-pillowy car seat. In this article, we’ll share tips on everything from posture, stretching and brain exercises to eating and DIY exercising. And as always, if you have any questions, please contact us by phone, email, or stop in at our Kitchener or Baden office. A member of our team would be more than happy to help you.
The first road trip wellness tip is: remember to stop frequently for stretch breaks. And no, scurrying to the restroom and then back into the car doesn’t count as stretching. We recommend stopping at least every 2-3 hours to get out of the car and move around. Focus on stretching your hip flexors, lower back, shoulders and neck as they tend to tense up the most, but stretch the rest of your body as well to promote healthy joints and muscles.
And remember, stretching doesn’t always have to be stationary exercises. Bringing along a soccer ball, frisbee or ball and glove are just a few fun ways to stretch without taking up too much cargo space. And if you have access to hiking or walking trails at your pit stop, they also can be relaxing ways to stretch your body.
Just like how posture is important when sitting in your desk chair in the office, posture is equally as important when sitting in a car as well. When sitting in the car, try to maintain a tall position. This means sitting up and ensuring your shoulders are rolled back to open up your chest and align your body. For people in the driver’s seat or front passenger seat, most cars come equipped with multiple seat adjustments so be sure to make use of them to help achieve your ideal position. For those of you not in the front of the car or who need extra support, add-on seat supports and specially designed pillows are available at the majority of big-box stores and roadside stops. These products come in a range of prices and can also sometimes include heating or cooling features on more expensive models.
Although your brain won’t experience the same sort of fatigue and stiffness as your body, keeping your mind engaged over the course of a road trip can help eliminate feeling drowsy, jumbled or disoriented.
And while we're all for sing-a-longs and classic games like "I Spy," they can get tiresome quite quickly. When this happens, try putting on an upbeat playlist full of catchy tunes, a podcast or even an audiobook to keep your mind alert and active. Not only will these things keep you focused, but they'll also help you pass the time and might even teach you a thing or two (depending on your choice).
Our major highways are littered with fast-food restaurant after fast-food restaurant. And while we know that one can only eat so many carrot sticks or pb&j sandwiches, choosing the right meals when you do decide to eat out can play a large part in how you feel the rest of your road trip. As good as the burgers, fries and fizzy drinks look, we recommend searching for grilled items, leafy greens and water. Most fast-food restaurants offer grilled chicken wraps and sandwiches as well as salads that are nothing short of what you would make at home. Even substituting a salad or other option for your side of fries can make a huge difference.
Tip: Stick to what you know when eating on the road. You may be tempted to try something new or out of your comfort zone, but we recommend saving those things for home or for when you aren’t forced to sit for multiple hours.
Maintaining a fitness regimen is another way to stay on top of your road trip wellness. And even if you happen to be staying at a campsite or in a hotel without a gym, it’s still incredibly easy to keep up with exercising. The following are a few perfect examples of substitutions for common exercises and exercise equipment.
- Treadmill = Pack sneakers and gym clothes and go for a run on a nearby trail or just on the sidewalk. This is also a great way to explore any new city or town.
- Weights = Resistance bands are great ways to mimic exercises you’d perform with weights using nothing but your body weight and the bands. They’re lightweight, pack easily and are also available in an array of resistances.
- Yoga = Bring a yoga mat or use a foam sleeper pad to turn any hotel room or campsite into your own personal yoga studio.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, try doing a quick search. A simple search on Google results in hundreds of different sources for exercises and workouts that can be completed using little to no equipment and in almost any location.
Even though you now know some basic tips for maintaining your health and wellness on the road, it’s still possible that you might be left feeling stiff or sore. If this is the case, we highly suggest you come in for a visit upon returning from your trip. Our Kitchener and Baden teams are equipped with massage therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists and more who can assess your symptoms and then administer the proper procedures to get you back to your regular self. If you have any questions regarding what treatment is right for you or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us by phone or email and a member of our team will get you set up with the proper professional as soon as possible.