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Driving top tips 

A lot of people drive for their jobs or when going away on holiday; this can be quite a distance. Long periods in the same posture when driving can cause cramping, stiffness, or even pins and needles. It can also exacerbate complaints such as sciatica and migraines, so having a correct driving position is essential!

Here are a few top tips about driving position and posture when you’re doing those long drives.

Seat height: Having an optimal seat height is important for the setup of where your arms and your lower body is in relation to the steering wheel and the pedals. It’s also important for your hips to be in line with your knees or higher. You should have good vision of the road so not having to move your head or bend your neck to see clearly. If you feel you’re still not in the correct position, a wedge cushion for your driving seat to boost you up can also help. It’s important to make sure your mirrors are at the correct height and position so you’re not straining your neck to be able to see the traffic behind you or around you.

Steering wheel and pedals: Your arms should not be locked out or completely bent. They should be in a nice comfortable position and your elbows should be roughly 120 degrees. Try not to hold the steering wheel one-handed at the top as this causes excessive rotation and overuse of the muscles in the shoulder. Adjust your seat so your knees aren’t getting locked out when depressing the pedals; they should be at a slight bend around 20 to 30 degrees.

Lower back: If your car has an adjustable lumbar support, set it so it suits you and feels comfortable. You should not be able to fit your hand between your back and the lumbar support. If you do not have a lumbar support, you can get ones that attach to your car seat. Some might fit better than others; it will depend on the design of your car.

Breaks: Take regular breaks while driving to reduce stiffness and cramping. This will also reduce stress and tension while driving. Also, after 2 hours of driving, concentration reduces, so you have slower reaction time to hazards on the road.

Here are a few great stretches to do in those breaks just to ease some muscle tension stiffness 

Child Pose

  1. Rest your stomach between your thighs and root your forehead to the floor. If placing the forehead on the floor is uncomfortable, rest it on a block or two stacked fists.
  2. Stretch your arms in front of you with palms toward the floor or bring your arms back alongside your thighs with palms facing upwards.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds with steady inhales and exhales of your breath.

Wall Calf Stretch

  1. Stand facing a wall, about one foot away. Place hands on the wall and dig your heel into the floor while your toes rest on the wall to gently stretch out the calf.
  2. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
  3. Alternate between calves.

Side Stretch

  1. Raise your right arm overhead and bend your upper body to the left in a reaching motion.
  2. Keep your upper body facing straight ahead.
  3. Don’t twist your torso to the side as you bend. Ensure you feel the muscles gently stretch all along your side from your lower back up to your shoulder.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Quad Stretch

  1. Stand on your left leg with one knee touching the other. If needed, hold onto a chair or the wall for balance.
  2. Using your right hand, grab your right foot and pull it towards your bum. Ensure your chest is pushed up and hips are pushed forward.
  3. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
  4. If you find it challenging, you can hook a towel around your ankle to hold onto.
Megan Thomas
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