On the road again – healthy tips for the drive to work

Accordinintense driving iStock_000042594526_Smallg to the 2013 RAC Foundation report 15 million of you drive to work each day. On average each commute is a 20 mile round trip although many of you drive much longer distances for meetings with prospects, current clients or to catch up with scattered team members. Time spent in the car varies wildly dependent on location but as most of you will spend between 25 and 90 hours per year stuck in congestion is it any wonder that you often find yourself arriving at your destination cramped, crumpled and somewhat cross.

So what can you do to ensure you step out of your car and into your business meeting alert, focused and ready for action?


Know exactly where you’re going and leave ample time to get there. Better still aim to arrive early so that you can enjoy a short, brisk walk to get your circulation going and your body and mind prepared for the tasks ahead.

 Sit properly

steering wheel iStock_000004098221_SmallAdjust your seat, back support and steering wheel to avoid leaning too far back or having to stretch to reach the wheel or pedals. Correctly position the side mirrors before you set off so you don’t have to twist awkwardly to see.


Shallow chest breathing can result in unnecessary tension both in the body and the mind. Practice deep belly breathing fully engaging the diaphragm to increase oxygen exchange, relieve tension and promote an overall sense of well being.

bottle of water iStock_000016591511_SmallStay hydrated

Sip water throughout the journey to preventing the onset of lethargy and irritability.  These may occur when experiencing gentle yet nagging symptoms of low level dehydration, and can also include an indefinable discomfort, slight nausea or loss of appetite.  You may also be forced to take regular comfort breaks to keep tiredness at bay. I’m guessing it’s a while since you checked your Highway Code but the recommendation is to take a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours.


Yes, there really are some exercises you can perform whilst driving. Try these each hour during long car commutes:

  • Quad squeezes – tighten the muscles in the front of your right thigh, hold for three seconds and release. Repeat 25 times and then do the same with your left thigh.
  • Glute squeezes – tighten the muscles in your right buttock, hold for three seconds and release. Repeat 25 times and then do the same with you left buttock. Time your squeezes to the beat of your favourite tunes to maintain a steady pace!
  • Shoulder shrugs – simple raise your shoulders as high as possible and then lower them to help relieve any tension in your neck.

If you get caught up in a big jam try a couple of sets of steering wheel push ups.Exhausted driver yawning and driving  car

Driving for business whether it’s through a gridlocked city or out on the open road can easily result in fatigue and muscle strain. Avoid the mental and physical creeping tension of a long distance drive by following the advice above. You’re guaranteed to arrive at your destination supple, relaxed and ready to do business.

© Extravitality 2015

Author: Julie Dennis
Julie Dennis is a fitness coach specializing in weight loss and body transformation results. She is a level 4 skilled personal trainer and a qualified member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). Julie also holds a UK Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness qualification. Prior to training as a fitness coach and establishing herself in the health & fitness industry, Julie spent over 20 years behind a desk in London employed in a variety of roles in the management consultancy, executive search and mining industries. Whilst working as part of a global team at Rio Tinto Julie experienced first hand the challenges of incorporating fitness and wellbeing into an international travel schedule. A keen marathon runner she often found running whilst on a long a haul trip an ideal reliever for jet lag.

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