Surviving a 10-Hour Car Trip

We’re enjoying a vacation with family up at Lake Tahoe. The drive north (with a weekend stop-over in Auburn) was a 10-hour trip–too much time stuck on my bottom in our Expedition. I dread these adventures because of the large amount of sitting time. For Baby Boomers and seniors, long trips can be a real challenge for fitness.

My "torture chamber" for 10 hours!
My “torture chamber” for 10 hours!

Move Your Large Muscles
But there are ways to move your muscles while sitting in a car (similar to chair exercises)–as long as you’re not the driver! While you’re not lifting body weight, you can push and pull and stretch muscles, and help break up sedentary time.

Here are a few “exercises” you can do as a passenger in a vehicle to break up the monotony of a long drive (repeat each exercise/stretch 10 times, once every hour or two):

Legs/lower body–Note–all exercises done in this position: Sit near the edge of your chair (however far you can safely move while keeping the seatbelt in place), back straight, shoulders pulled back.

1) Leg lift: Lift your right leg at the hip; up and down (your leg will be bent at a right angle). Then do the same movement with your left leg. To increase the resistance, balance a purse or other object near your knee; lift 10 times, then hold leg in the lifted position for 10 seconds, then do 10 small pulse lifts in the raised position.
2) Glute squeeze: Place your feet parallel to each other, pointing forward, about shoulder width apart. Squeeze both buns and hold for 3 seconds.
3) Hamstring squeeze: With your feet flat on the ground, press into the floor with both feet, place your hands under your legs. Pull your feet back without actually moving them. You should feel your hamstring tighten up under the leg.
4) Toe tap: Lift your toes, and bring them down to a count of 3. Repeat 10 times, or until you begin to feel a “burn” in the muscles in the front/outside edge of your lower legs.
5) Heel tap: Lift your heels, and bring them down. Repeat 10 times, or until you begin to feel a “burn” in your calves.

Arms/lower body:
1) Raise up with both hands and push into the ceiling of the car. Hold for 3 seconds.
2) Place your hands on the outside of your thighs and push down while lifting your body off the seat. Hold for 3 seconds.
3) If you have a handle bar that you would grab to lift yourself into the car (and it is in front of you, not on the ceiling), hold with both hands and pull yourself. Repeat 10 times. (Or you can do this with one hand at a time).
4) Place your arms at your sides, elbows bent and hands forward making a right angle. Bring your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
5) Place your arms at your sides and bring your shoulders up in a shrug. Then roll your shoulders forward, then backwards.
6) Interlace your fingers in front of your body, then turn your hands “inside out” so your palms are facing out. Bring your shoulders forward, hold for 15 – 30 seconds and feel a stretch in your upper back.

Looking for other ways to get more movement in your life?  Give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

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