The busyness of life can certainly take a toll on an individual’s body in many different forms. Lack of sleep, stress and worry, too much coffee – all of these things result from a lifestyle of hustle and bustle. Weight gain is yet another symptom of a busy life that many people have a hard time controlling. You may find it hard to fit in a trip to the gym between work, school, taking care of the kids, grocery shopping, and any number of other things you need to do in a day.
But one thing that almost everyone participates in is a commute to work. For some that commute is via public transportation, but for many it is in their own car. So what if there was a way you could combine your commute with a workout, thus enabling you to stay in shape without carving out extra time for the gym? Well luckily there is such a way!
The important thing to remember with these exercises is: safety first. Driving is a task that requires your attention, as well as the use of your hands and feet. Some of these exercises you can do while the car is in motion, if you are very careful. But many of these you can do when your car is stopped, and most people that sit in 5 o’clock traffic or wait at excessively long stoplights know there is certainly time for that.
Squeeze and Release
This is probably the most simple and easy exercise to do in the car, and best of all it requires very little of your attention. These isometric contractions can be done with just about any part of your body, including your arms, legs, and stomach. The trick is to target a specific area of the body, squeeze and hold for a few seconds, and then release. Do this a couple of times moving up and down the body to different muscle groups. One area that people particularly see results in is the buttocks. You can alternate squeezing and releasing each cheek individually to get the best workout.
Strengthen Your Arms
Here is one way to strengthen your arms while driving, though it will only work when the car is stopped and if there is not someone in the front passenger seat. Start by rolling down your window and then extending your arms out to either side as straight as you can. Turn your left palm up and your right palm down. Keeping your arms extended begin twisting your arms, alternating which palms are up and down. Do this for fifty switches and then rest for ten seconds. Soon you will feel your arms begin to tone as just holding them out straight becomes difficult.
Strengthen Your Thighs
One way to strengthen your thighs is to place something, like a ball or small pillow, between your feet. Try to lift the item up off the ground and squeeze your thighs at the same time. Obviously this can be very dangerous if you need your feet to drive at a moment’s notice, so only attempt in standstill traffic. Another way to strengthen your thighs, and one you can do no matter where your car is, is to place the same ball or pillow between the thighs themselves and squeeze. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat.
Tighten Your Core
One way to tighten and tone your body’s core is to raise your arms up and place your hands against the roof of the car. Then you should simultaneously push with your arms and squeeze with your abdomen. Hold everything taunt for about ten seconds and then release. Repeat as often as you can. To activate your core even further you can lift one or both feet off of the floor.
This is a great way to engage your abs and burn some belly fat. While driving in your car pretend you are trying to zip up a pair of pants without getting your stomach caught in the zipper. This means sucking in and trying to pull your belly away from the pants and inwards towards your spine. Hold this position then release and repeat. To make the exercise more intense you can breathe out twenty times, contracting your abs more with each short breath.
Stretch Your Quads
This exercise works well for those who drive large cars like SUVs, though if you have a compact you may be able to accomplish it by scooting your seat back (but only as far as you can while still being able to reach the pedals). Once you have room simple extend one leg, hopefully far enough to straighten the knee, and squeeze your quadriceps. Count to ten then lower that leg and contract your other one. Continue to alternate until you feel the burn.
Curls are another easy way to get fit in your car if you are adept at driving with one hand or you’re stuck in post-work traffic. Next time you get in your car bring along a five pound dumbbell. If you don’t have this equipment than you can just use anything that has some weight, such as a full water bottle or your briefcase. Start with the weight in your left hand and curl up towards your left shoulder. Hold the weight there for ten seconds and then switch arms. Just know that the more weight you add, the bigger you will be able to build your biceps.
Steering Wheel Isometrics
These are a great way to tone your muscles, and they are safe since your hands will never leave the steering wheel! To work your chest hold the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock, palms facing in, and push your hands towards one another while also squeezing your chest muscles. To work your arms hold the steering wheel at 11 and 1 o’clock, palms facing up, and pull up on the wheel until you feel tension in your biceps. To work your back hold the wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock and pull the wheel toward your body while contracting your back muscles.
To do steering wheel push ups hold the wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock, flex your arms, and keep your back straight. Keeping your body where it is try to pull yourself towards the wheel for a few seconds, and then try to push away from the wheel for a few seconds. As you can see there are plenty of exercises you can do with just the steering wheel alone!