Long drives can be tough on both mind and body. Many professional truck drivers and others who drive for a living frequently report aches, pains, and, in some cases, more severe health problems. At least some of these issues are caused by sitting in one position for long periods.
Fortunately, you can do things to offset the consequences of being at the wheel for hours on end. One option is starting a stretching routine: Taking a few minutes each day to stretch can make a significant difference in how you feel.
The stretches below are suitable for truck drivers and anyone who spends a lot of time in a vehicle. These routines address specific conditions that often afflict professional long-distance drivers, do not require any special equipment, and you can perform several of these in your vehicle.
Of course, you should always speak to your physician before starting any exercise routine, including regular stretching.
1. Wrist bend: Healthy hands and wrists are essential to safe driving. You can reduce joint aches with wrist bends, which can be performed using your steering wheel.
How to do it: Brace your fingers on the steering wheel and then begin to bend your wrists backward and forwards. This stretches both the wrist and the forearm. From there, you can also bend back each finger in turn, creating a more effective stretch.
2. Neck rotation: Drivers are prone to shoulder and neck tension. This can lead to headaches and back problems. A neck rotation loosens the muscles, improves flexibility, and can help prevent chronic pain and discomfort.
How to do it: Reach over your head with your right arm and grab your left ear (gently!). Pull the ear (again, gently!) toward your right shoulder. Repeat with your left arm and right ear.
3. Calf stretches: Tight calves are uncomfortable and can even lead to painful nighttime leg cramps. The calf stretch below can be done anywhere there is a wall or other sturdy surface for you to press into. You can even use your truck door.
How to do it: Stand in front of the outside door of your truck. With both feet on the ground, move one foot in front of the other (about one to two feet). Hold onto the door and lean forward so the front knee bends. Hold the position, then bring yourself upright. Repeat on the other side.
4. Arm rotation: This exercise helps stretch your arm and chest muscles, reducing tightness and discomfort.
How to do it: Put your left palm, fingers pointing upward, against a sturdy surface, such as a wall or the front or back of your vehicle. Your arm should be extended, but slightly bent, at the elbow. Begin to rotate your body away from the wall with your palm remaining in place. Repeat with your right arm.
5. Stretch across: This is another effective shoulder stretch that can be done just about anywhere.
How to do it: Lift your left arm and place your left hand on the top of your back, just under your right shoulder. Your elbow should be bent in front of you. Use your right hand to pull back on your left elbow. Hold the stretch, and then repeat on the other side.
6. Chest pull: This simple exercise can be performed anywhere and offers relief for a tight neck and chest muscles.
How to do it: Place both hands at the top of your chest. Lift your chin up and your head away from your hands. Pull your head back and hold the position.
You can also increase your comfort and reduce driving-related health risks by taking breaks that allow you to stretch and walk around, making use of fitness centers in hotels, and establishing healthy eating habits. Looking for hotels that have fitness centers? The CLC app can help you locate lodgings that meet your needs. You can also check in more quickly with the CheckINN+ card, a business travel solution that helps streamline hotel bookings and payments while controlling costs.