Whether you’re on a jaunt to the cottage, heading to your favourite campground, or embarking on an across-the-province adventure, you want to arrive at your destination with energy and without unnecessary stiffness.
So, if you’re heading out on a family road trip this summer, try this simple set of stretches when you stop for food or for one of your (many!) bathroom breaks to combat the physical effects of a long car ride. Your body — and your mind — will thank you.
Stand with your feet together pressed firmly into the ground. Place your right hand on your right hip and reach the left arm up into the air. Lengthen the left side waist and bend over to the right. Hold for five breaths, then switch sides.
Benefits: Stretches the entire side of the body from the legs, up through the torso and into the arms.
Stand beside a car, picnic table or a tree. Step your right foot forward and balance your weight evenly between both feet. Bring both arms to your right, holding on to the car/table/tree and twist to look over your right shoulder. Hold for five breaths, then switch sides.
Benefits: Releases tension in the spine and opens the chest and shoulders.
Stand with the feet hip-distance apart. Interlace the hands behind the back and roll the shoulder blades towards one another. Bend the knees slightly, drop the chest towards the thighs, and let the arms come up and over the head. If you are more flexible, you can straighten the legs.
Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the lower back, the hamstrings, the chest, upper arms and neck muscles.
Lift your right leg and place the outer right ankle just above the left knee, allowing the right knee to splay out to the side. Bend the left knee, and let the tailbone sink downwards. You can place your hands on your hips or hold onto a sturdy structure for balance. Hold for five deep breaths, then switch legs.
Benefits: Stretches the gluteal or buttocks muscles, especially the piriformis. This stretch is especially helpful for people who suffer from sciatic pain or low back pain during long drives.
Step your right foot forward and your left foot back. Bend the right knee into a lunge (without allowing the right knee to go beyond the right ankle). Push back through the left heel. You can either place your hands on your hips or extend the arms and hold onto the side of your car or a tree for balance. Hold for five deep breaths, then switch legs.
Benefits: Stretches the hip flexors, quadriceps and calves.
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