Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on June 06, 2012
Dori Ricci, Master Personal Trainer
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Dori Ricci, Expert Personal Trainer: Today I'm going to demonstrate some exercises you can do to alleviate stress while you're driving… You certainly don't want to do anything that's going to distract you from driving… but there are some relaxation techniques that you can use to help you relieve stress when you're at a traffic light, or when the car is not moving. The first thing that you can do is a technique that's used in yoga classes and meditation classes…and all you're going to do is contract and release different muscles… Starting with feet: You'll contract the muscles in your feet and then focus on relaxing. And then your calves…and then your quads—the front of your thighs and your hamstrings…and your glutes and then relax… And then you'll contract your abdominal…and completely relax…Your back, chest and shoulders and then relax…and your arms and relax…and then your hands and relax… And the muscles in your neck and then release…and the muscles in your face and then release… And then you can spend as much time as you like doing this…as much time as you have at a traffic light or when you're stopped. The next thing you can do is some deep-breathing exercises. You would take a deep breath—fill up your diaphragm, hold it for a couple of seconds and then completely exhale. You could do that two or three times. Also, when you're under a lot of stress and you're in traffic, there's a tendency to squeeze the steering wheel, hunch your shoulders forward and even grit your teeth. And you can reverse that posture by placing your hands behind the seat and your head back against the headrest. So those are some things you can do to alleviate stress while you're driving (NAT) Once you reach your destination you may have a lot of tension in your lower back…your upper back, your shoulders and your neck… and there are some stretching exercises you can do to alleviate more tension once you get out of the car… The first exercise for your neck and shoulders…you would place one arm on your back and pull your head to the opposite side. and then looking down at the ground, placing your hand behind your head and look down at your opposite foot. And of course you want to do that on the other side as well…first to the side…and then looking down at the ground to the opposite side… Another stretch you can do for lower back would be to place your ankle on your knee—hold on to something… and then lean forward and that stretches your glutes and your lower back…and those muscles get very tight when you drive and sit in the same position for a long time… And you also want to do the other side…and those are some things you can do to make your travel a little less stressful