Essential Stretches for Long Trips

Do you often turn down travel plans because you hate spending time in the car? Fatigue and stiffness from a long car ride or an airplane trip can be avoided by keeping your blood movin’ and groovin’. Perhaps you have noticed that you start your trips out feeling delightful but arrive feeling stiff and sluggish? Small stretches and breathing techniques can ease shoulder, back and neck pain; practice them often to arrive at your destination feeling dynamic and vibrant.


Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground or onto the car floor.
Lengthen the crown of the head, lifting up toward the sky, creating an space in the vertebrae of the spine.
Focus on your breath, inhales should be deep and through the nose, allow the air to create friction on the back of the throat. As you inhale, focus on where your breath goes into your lungs, start at the diaphragm, pull air into the belly first, fill the ribs and finally the chest.
Exhale, allowing the air to release first from the chest down to the ribs then from the belly as the belly sinks back towards the spine.

The below exercises should all begin from this grounded starting position.

  • Neck & Shoulder Rolls

The Pose: 
Inhale, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the right ear to the right shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest.
Inhale, lifting the left ear to the left shoulder.
Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest.
Repeat five times with the eyes closed.
Inhale, roll the shoulders forward and up to your ears.
Exhale, rolling the shoulders back and towards the floor, allowing the shoulder blades to slide down the back.
Repeat five times in both directions.

Benefits: Lubricates and stretches the neck joints; relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

  • Seated Cat and Cow

The Pose:
Clasp the seat of the chair, palms down and fingers pointing towards the floor.
Inhale, bring the chest forward and draw the shoulder blades together, taking a slight back bend in cow position.
Exhale, bring the belly towards the spine allowing the shoulders to fall forward into cat position.
Repeat five times, concentrating on coordinating each movement with an inhale and an exhale.

Benefits: Warms and elongates the spine, relieves back tension, oxygenates the blood.

  • Chair Twists

The Pose:
Inhale, lengthen the head towards the ceiling.
Exhale, twist to the right side bringing the left hand to the outside of your right leg. Place the right hand on the left side of the upright seat back. Allow the head to follow the twist of the spine and allow the eyes to gaze beyond the back of the chair.
Inhale, come back to center and repeat on the other side.

Benefits: stretches the spine, shoulders and hips; relieves lower back, neck and sciatica pain; aids in digestion; massages internal organs which pushes out toxins and allows the organs to refill with the freshly oxygenated blood.

  • Eagle Arms

The Pose:
Inhale, stretching the arms out to the sides.
Exhale, bringing your left arm under your right arm. Cross both arms at the elbows, point the elbows towards the floor and fingers up towards the ceiling. Try to place the palms of the hands together.
Inhale, try to raise your elbows to 90 degrees, shoulder height while moving the fingers as far forward from the face as possible.
Exhale, slowly draw up and down circles with the elbows in one direction and then the other. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Firms upper arms and stretches the upper back/shoulder muscles, aligns spine.

  • Seated Child’s Pose

The Pose:
Inhale, lengthen the spine toward the ceiling and root your hips, pulling them toward the floor.
Exhale, fold forward placing the chest on the thighs. Allow the arms to drop to the floor and your chin rests on your knees.
Breathe deeply and relax for 30 seconds.
Inhale, engage the abs and raise the upper body to a sitting position.
Repeat 3 times.

Benefits: Rejuvenates the body; stretches the spine; massages the abdominal area.

* Turtle pose: While in child’s pose, open the legs to hip distance. Thread arms between the legs and around the calves. Attempt to grasp the outside of the foot with the hand.
* Hands Clasped Behind the Back Pose: While in child’s pose, reach the arms behind the back and clasp the fingers together, to protect wrists focus on keeping the palms together. Pull the hands toward the head.

  • Ankle and Wrist Rolls

The Pose:
Roll ankles and wrists in clockwise circles.
Repeat counter-clockwise.

Benefits: Lubricates ankle and wrist joints; promotes blood circulation, eases Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Honor your own comfort zone. Do only what works for you and always drive safely. There is no single best option, and it may take some effort and trial and error on your part to find what works best for you.

legal disclaimer: The author and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage, injury or ailment caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information on this page. Any liability, loss or damage resulting from the performance of the exercises or the advice and information given here, is expressly disclaimed. 



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