Aching hamstrings. A throbbing back. Sore neck muscles. Every road tripper has felt the pain of sitting in one place for hours at a time. The good news: your body doesn’t have to hurt! The addition of semi-frequent stops and easy stretches to travel plans will help your muscles stay loose and pain-free. We’ve combined some gentle yoga poses with stretches done by athletes to help ease the pain of traveling on your body. Make sure to get out of the car every two to three hours to walk around a little and do some of these stretches. It will help prevent persistent and nagging pain, and make your trip a lot more enjoyable! And don’t forget: as with any physical activity, make sure to listen to your body and go slowly to prevent injuries.
Take a seat, either in a car, on a bench, or on ground. Stay on the edge of the seat and put your left hand behind you and your right hand on the ground or your knees. Take a deep breath; as you breathe out, turn your torso to look behind your left shoulder. Hold the pose for ten seconds. Return to the center, then switch hands and repeat on the right side. Do this one more time on both sides.
Palm Tree Pose
Time to stand! Put your left hand on your left hip and raise your right arm in the air. Gently bend your torso to the left side, stretching your right arm over your head. Hold this for ten seconds, and then return to an upright position. Switch hand and repeat on the right side. Do this one more time on both sides.
Arm, Back, and Leg Stretch
Start by standing upright and interlacing fingers together behind your back. Then, slowly bend to put nose to knees, or at least as close as you can get! (Don’t worry about keeping your legs straight; bend them as much as you need to.) As you bend your legs, move your arms up so they are straight up in the air over your head, fingers still interlaced. Hold this for ten seconds, and then return to an upright position. Repeat one more time.
Modified Warrior Pose II:
Stand with legs spread in a wide V with both feet pointing the way you’re facing. Then, shift your right foot ninety degrees so it points to the right. Extend arms parallel to the ground for balance. Gently bend your right knee; try to get it close to a ninety degree angle, but don’t let it go over your toes! Hold this gentle lunge for ten seconds, and then switch to the left side. Repeat once more on each side.
Stand in an upright position with feet together. Then, separate feet into a wide V with toes still pointing forward. Slowly begin to bend your right knee into a ninety degree angle; this will be a deeper lunge than the modified warrior pose. Keep hands on your hips to help with balance. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, and then switch to the left leg. Repeat once more on each side.
Stand near a wall, a car wheel, or even a tree. Lift up your right foot and rest your toes against the wall or other surface. Gently push forward as if pushing a gas pedal to stretch out your hamstrings. Hold for ten seconds, and then switch to the left foot. Repeat once more on each side.