Because I am a very lucky human being, I don’t drive much. When I do end up spending a lot of time in the car, either as a driver or passenger, I get to—appreciate?—afresh what driving does to the body.
We are not made for sitting for long periods. Without constant vigilance, our spines slump, our heads fall forward, our shoulders round. Our hips feel tight from the constant flexing. And all of that happens without accounting for the tension of traffic.
Nothing makes me miss my Pilates equipment more than a road trip. However, even without spiffy, expensive, bulky equipment, it is possible to be kind to our bodies.
One way is to use a couple of cheap tools. A hook-shaped “point-pressing stick” from the dollar store can help release tension in the shoulders and promote world harmony. A tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or yoga tune-up ball under one side of the behind at a time can release hip pressure.
Regular attention to stretching/yoga/Pilates in the rest of our lives also helps. Our strong cores and long muscles not only prevent a lot of the postural chaos of driving, they train us to relax almost automatically by stretching when we arrive if not on the journey.
Also: breathing. If deep breathing doesn’t come naturally, we can turn up the radio and start belting it out. At the very least, it will make us laugh, which is probably the best tension reliever ever.