A woman stands by her car, stretching her arms in the air
Road trip

Five stretching exercises to do at a rest stop

A mini workout you can do on the road to keep those aches and pains at bay and help you stay focused.

By Shell on Mar. 15, 2022

Regardless of where you’re heading in Australia, two things are pretty much guaranteed about a long drive – Instagram-worthy scenery and a collection of sore, aching muscles courtesy of a lot of time spent sitting behind the wheel. The muscles that are typically most affected? Ones located in your back, neck, shoulders and legs.

The good news is there’s a simple fix as far as those aches and pains are concerned – stretching. In fact, not only can performing a few well-timed stretches soothe your muscles, research shows it can also give your brain function a bit of a pep talk, too. And that’s ideal when you consider that driving can also make you sleepy thanks to the natural vibrations cars make, which naturally affect concentration and alertness.

So, given that the official recommendation when you’re on a long drive is to take a 15-minute break after every two hours spent behind the wheel, it makes sense to use that time to squeeze a few stretches in – and this five-step routine is a good one to have up your sleeve.

Whenever you stop for a break, jump out of the car and, starting from a standing position, run through these stretches, spending 20 seconds on each stretch and repeating the whole sequence two or three times.

1: Upper-back stretch

  • Squatting slightly, lean forward and, with your eyes looking downward, grab the outside of your left knee with your right hand, and the outside of your right knee with your left hand, so that your arms are crossed in front of you.
  • Tuck your chin in towards your chest and, with your hands remaining on your knees, curl your back upwards towards the sky, using your hands and arms to create some resistance. Hold for 20 seconds before uncurling.

2: Lower-back stretch

  • Position your feet so that they’re hip-width apart and place your hands on the small of your back, with your fingertips pointing downward and so that they meet in the centre of your spine.
  • Bend slowly backwards at the waist as far as you comfortably can, using your hands for support and taking care to keep your knees straight. Hold this position for one or two seconds before returning to the start. Repeat 10 times.

3: Neck stretch

  • Standing tall, look straight ahead and allow your shoulders to relax.
  • Keeping your shoulders down, tilt your left ear to your left shoulder so that you feel a gentle stretch down the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.

4: Shoulder stretch

  • Standing upright, raise your left arm out in front of you until it’s parallel with the floor.
  • Keeping your arm straight, reach across your chest towards your right shoulder. Use your right hand to support your left arm, pulling it closer towards your chest to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.

5: Calf stretch

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, transfer your weight to your left leg and step your right foot back and out behind you, lowering the heel of that foot to the ground.
  • Bend your left knee slightly, while keeping your right leg straight. Hold for 10 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.