Though I have yet to do a full-on high-school carpool, I do share a preschool carpool with a couple other gals in my neighborhood. The drive is less than 10 minutes but still enough time to throw a few good ab and glute exercises into my day. Of course these calisthenic-style moves can be done any time you’re in the car, whether you’re heading to soccer practice, the mall or on a road trip for spring break. In fact, they are also great any time you’re sitting for an extended period (e.g., conferences, meetings, church).
Let’s start with a really simple move that will help improve your posture while in the driver’s seat. I don’t know about you but I found myself slouching all the time while driving so I came up with this little move a couple weeks ago. While sitting in your seat straighten your spine so it’s nice and straight and roll back your shoulders. (You can also engage your abs for even better posture.) While all postured-up, adjust your rearview mirror so it’s perfectly in line with your rear window.
That little mirror is going to constantly remind you to sit up straight while cruising. Trust me—it works! While sitting at a stoplight I’d check my rearview mirror (to make sure the driver behind me was slowing down) and find I could only see out half my rear window. Why? Because I was slouching…yet again. I quickly straightened up and had a clear view of the driver (cell phone in hand of course) behind me. Every time I needed to change lanes and used my rearview mirror to do so, I realigned myself, shoulders back, spine straight. It’s still a constant battle but I’m improving little by little!
Now let’s talk abs. Here are a couple exercises you can do while driving to help tighten and strengthen your ab muscles ( and I’m not talking about reaching over and lifting up your Big Gulp from 7-Eleven):
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- Inhale deeply. As you exhale slowly, pull your belly button toward your spine and engage (tighten) your ab muscles. Hold for a good 10 to 20 seconds while taking short breaths. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- Like in the previous ab exercise, inhale deeply. As you exhale pull that belly button toward your spine and engage your abs. While engaged, sit up straight and slightly rock back and forth 12 times and side to side 12 times. (Don’t forget to breathe while doing so!) Repeat the set at least twice.
And let’s not forget those good ol’ glutes, nearly numb from all that driving busy moms do! Try doing this little move. It’s one of the simplest ones; I do it A LOT even when not driving (think conferences, meetings, church). Take those glute muscles, squeeze them together and hold for at least 10 seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
You can do a similar exercise for your thighs. Just like the glute move above, squeeze your thighs together as tightly as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
If you’re interested in some isometrics for your arms, “Isometrics While Driving” has a couple exercises you can do while in the car. Of course if you’re using your steering wheel to work your arms, PLEASE wait until you’re at a stoplight and/or the car is shifted into park. Seriously.
I love doing these mini exercises while driving. Nothing like burning calories while burning through yet another tank of gas!
Image byRichard Drdul, shared via Flickr.