Some of us literally work out of our vehicles, having to get in and out several times during the day. If I count for a “busy day” I may get in and out of my vehicle up to 24-26 times a day. That may not sound like much, especially when you think of repetition and exercise, but a lot of times this may exacerbate other factors.
For instance, when you get in and out of a car, you primarily use one leg to enter and exit, dependent if you’re the driver or passenger. By using that one leg repetitively, and not the other, this can cause pain or tension such as sciatica symptoms, a pelvic rotation, or muscle imbalance therefore, changing your posture and walking pattern.
The shoulders and neck are also affected when sitting in a car. Your neck is most likely forward, along with your arms holding onto the steering wheel. By placing your body in this forward, rounded position decreases the core and postural muscles to engage, increasing neck and shoulder issues.
So, how do we prevent this from occurring? Here are few tips:
- Pivot your body so both legs can “push off” when entering and exiting the vehicle.
- While sitting for periods of time, do gluteus squeezes, reposition often, and pump your ankles to promote circulation.
- Retract your neck and shoulders back, do shoulder squeezes by pulling your shoulder blades together to maintain posture. Slumping and “forward neck” posture is a primary cause for neck and shoulder pain.
- Press your head against the headrest to elongate your spine and prevent compression.
- Hold your stomach tight! “Suck it in, like zipping up tight pants”. When your tummy muscles are engaged, the low back is protected and supported.
What to do at home:
1) Wall stance: stand against a wall, place your heels, gluteus, shoulders, and head against the wall trying to touch all points. Hold for 1 minute, and attempt to maintain this position when moving. This is correct posture, opening your chest wall, and engaging your back muscles.
The most weak areas of our body are the muscles of the “back side” of our body including gluts, hamstrings, shoulder retractors, and low/upper back. Since, everything we do involves doing tasks in front of us, those are areas become weak.
2) Controlled squats: Stand in front of a chair, slowly descend to where your bottom barely touches the chair and then rise up. Do 15-20 reps, 3 sets.
3) Prone cervical, shoulder, and hip extension: Lie on your stomach, with arms by your side and extend your neck, shoulders, and legs. This may be difficult, so modify as you can tolerate. Attempt to hold 5-10 seconds, performing 8-15 times.
These 3 exercises can save you from unwanted pain, discomfort, and weakness. Not only are they beneficial for injury prevention, but preventing postural and low back issues for the future.
Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions 🙂