Long car rides are uncomfortable—but they don’t have to be. This year, 43 million Americans will be traveling to destinations near and far to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. While that figure includes all modes of transportation, the vast majority—around 88 percent—will be taking a good old-fashioned American road trip. Anyone who’s ever spent a long period of time in a car knows too well the discomfort of car travel. (Like, the kind you feel after being trapped at your desk all day, times a billion.) But with a little effort, life on the road isn’t so bad.
Aside from being stuck in a small space with only podcasts and playlists for entertainment, other aspects of traveling can mess with your body, like relying on fast food due to the minimal choices on the road and trying to fall asleep in a strange bed. To make sure you feel top-notch throughout your road trip, you need only to stretch it out. Car exercises and stretches combat aches and pains, and promote good digestion.
The best car exercises and stretches for long road trips
1. While you’re driving
If you’re getting antsy while driving, there are some exercises you can do that can help you loosen up safely without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel. And when you’re a passenger, there’s even a cardio sequence you can do right in your seat. (Apologies in advance to you road trip buddies.)
2. After you get out of the car
After you’re done driving for the day, take the time to do this sequence of stretches that will loosen up the cramped muscles that have fallen asleep from spending hours on the road.
3. When you get to your destination
It’s not uncommon for your neck and shoulders to get tight and sore after traveling, whether that’s due to awkward, uncomfortable headrests or the general stress of being on the road. After you get to your destination, this soothing yoga flow will help relieve pent-up tension.
4. After you eat on the road
If you’ve had one too many fast food stops over your drive and your stomach isn’t having it, take the time to do these yoga stretches that help ease bloating and benefit your digestion. You can even do some of them in the backseat of your car at a rest stop.
5. To help your back, shoulders, and immune system
If your back and shoulders are sore, try these seated stretches that can be done right in the car as a passenger. Since traveling can be draining to your body, yoga instructor Grace Flowers also recommends taking the adaptogen astragalus and drinking ginger with hot water (pack a fresh nugget!) to boost your immune system while you’re on the road.
6. When you’re constipated (you’re welcome)
One of the worst parts of travel no one talks about? Constipation. Aside from drinking plenty of water and eating fiber (pack some fresh veggies and apples!), the Cleveland Clinic also recommends moving your body as much as possible. If you’re experiencing constipation, try these stretches that promise to “help you poop.”
These are all the tips you need to master stress-free travel, no matter how you’re getting from point A to point B this weekend. And if you’re flying, make sure to utilize some of these reader-approved hacks before you jet off.
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