How to Stretch When You are on the Road

Green Bird Fitness didn't host classes Thursday June 18th to Tuesday June 23 as I was driving to Kentucky with my husband for a family wedding. We drove for 9 hours and stopped Memphis on Day 1 and then the rest of the way on Day 2. We stayed in Kentucky for two nights and then drove for 8 hours to St. Louis. We stopped in St. Louis to see a friend then drove 14 hours on the last day of our road trip.

I give you all these details to illustrate the sheer amount of time we spent in that car. Out of the 6-day trip we spent 4 days driving for 8+ hours. This long car trips meant tight hip flexors, tight back muscles, and an inactive body. Staying relatively active and getting in some regular exercise was definitely a challenge. I did not work out as much as I planned, but I did stretch a lot more than planned.

Below are a few of my favorite stretches while on this crazy road trip. The stretches ended up being up being way more important for me. I badly needed some way to counteract the inactivity and overall very tight feeling after a long day in the car. Part 2, coming up tomorrow, we'll talk about the exercises that are easy to do while on the road.

1. Camel Pose

Camel Pose is not the most comfortable pose for me because my low back is pretty flexible. In general, people with an accentuated low back curve don't like camel pose. This back bend can easily go straight into the low back and increase the pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Well, like everything there is an exception. I hate camel pose UNLESS I spend eight hours in the car and my back aches from the long bouts of sitting. This stretch is amazing at opening the chest and the back. I felt physically better after holding this pose for 20 seconds two times.


2. Runner's Lunge with a Chest Opener

This is a multitasking stretch, so it did three very important things. The runner's lunge part of this stretch opened my hips after 8+ hours of sitting. The chest opener stretched my shoulders and pecs. This stretch is also a twist and wrung out my abdominals. Twists are a great way to detox your digestive system and liver after a long day.


One-legged Down Dog

Getting upside down gets the blood flowing and increases your circulation. Down dog is a more mild inversion compared to a headstand or handstand, so it didn't rev me up too much before heading to bed. A lot of the time to stretch and exercise came at the end of the day. Add a hip opener to your down dog. This not only stretches your hips but also works your core and upper body more as your body balances and works to stabilize.


4. Straddle Stretch

The straddle stretch is great for stretching inner thighs and hips when you reach out through the center. When you reach to the right and left you get a wonderful oblique and waistline stretch. The center stretch can be intense, but try and let your jaw release and be heavy. Take deep breaths while you're in the stretch and fill up your entire rib cage. The breath will help to release tension in your muscles and allow you to go deeper in your stretch.