With the UK weather currently hotter than the Bahamas, who needs to jet off to find some summer sun? Stay-cations are on the rise – according to figures from Visit Briton, there were 47 million domestic holidays in Britain last year, a five per cent increase on the year before. However, that might still mean a long drive before the summer fun can start. To make sure you reach your destination in the best shape to make the most of your time away, we asked race car driver and fitness fanatic, Rebecca Jackson for some quick and easy stretches to help you on your way.
Having taken part in endurance races, and as a world record holder for long distance driving, Jackson is no stranger to neck and back ache after a few hours of driving.
“Multiple hours sat at the wheel can cause a lot of stress to your body. Without regular stops to stretch your legs, drivers are likely to experience pain and stiffness in their necks, shoulders and back – as well as eye strain which can lead to a headache and swelling in the lower legs. Taking regular breaks is key, (any excuse to stop for a Starbucks) but before you get back in the car, try a couple of the moves below to stop you stiffening up at the wheel:”
1: Ankle Rolls: Boost circulation to feet and banish lower leg swelling
- Hold on to something with one hand (the car door will do) to stop yourself from toppling over, and put your other hand on your waist
- Lift your right leg and rotate at the ankle slowly in a clockwise direction
- After 8 or so rotations, change direction and rotate your foot anti-clockwise
- Swap feet and repeat with your left ankle
- Leg stretches: Eliminate stiffness in legs and thighs
- Place your right foot on your car’s front bumper and straighten your leg
- Bend forward as far as possible and touch your fingertips to your toes
- You should feel the stretch at the back of your knee. Hold for eight seconds
- Swap legs and repeat
- Calf Stretches: Ease stiff legs and boost circulation
- Place toes on your car’s tyre, keeping your knee straight and heel up
- Push down until you feel the stretch behind your toes and on the arch of your foot
- Hold for eight seconds. Swap legs and repeat
- Waist Twists: Wake yourself up while stretching out arms and back
- Find some space away from other people or objects (within reaching distance)
- Relax your arms by your side and bend your knees slightly
- Twist at the waist allowing arms to follow the movement of your upper body
- Repeat for 16 counts, eight each way
- Back Arches: Soothe an aching back
- Stand two- three feet away from your car, facing away
- Lift both arms above your head and bend backwards towards the car until you feel the stretch in your back and shoulders. Hold for eight and repeat
- Shoulder Rolls: Relieve stiff shoulders as well as neck and upper back pain
- Stand up straight, feet hip width apart
- Roll shoulders backwards for eight rotations, then forward for eight. Repeat
- Neck Rolls: Ease a stiff neck and boost circulation to the upper back
- Relax your neck and allow your head to gently fall forwards
- Roll your slowly in a clockwise direction for eight rotations.
- Change direction and rotate anti-clockwise eight times
- Eye Rolls: Avoid eye strain and brain fatigue
- Keeping your head still, look up and blink slowly four times
- Look right and blink four times
- Look down, left and up again, in each direction blinking four times
- Repeat in all four directions then close your eyes for ten counts
“If you have had a particularly stressful journey so far, take a tip from mediation and try taking a few deep breaths in through the nose, hold for three, then let the breath fall out of your mouth. Repeat. Pick a quiet spot and try to relax before hitting the road again. If you are feeling particularly exhausted, try to find somewhere nearby to stay for the night.” According to road safety charity, Think! almost 20 per cent of accidents on major roads are caused by driving tired.
Jackson is the face of Pertemps Driver Training, Road Safety Partnership. Pertemps Driver Training builds Road Safety Partnerships with like-minded businesses and charities across the UK to promote road safety within the Logistics and Transport sectors. With an aim of reducing road risk, enhancing Driver skills and improving Driver behaviours, Pertemps Driver Training have built partnerships with these organisations to tackle road safety in a proactive and preventative approach.