We’ve talked about the benefits of standing, and how sitting for extended periods of time is detrimental to our health.  But until they make standing cars (!), long car trips make it pretty difficult to avoid extended periods of sitting.  I drove 16 hours over 2 days on my way to Keystone, and I’ll still drive 2 hours to Denver, 3 hours to my ranch, and 13 hours back home.  So, needless to say, a few ways to sneak in just a bit of movement throughout my days were welcome.

workout wednesday

For Workout Wednesday today, here are my Top 7 Ways to Fit Movement Into Long Car Trips.  Enjoy!

7 ways to fit movement into long car trips

  1. Exercise before you leave.  Yes, it can seem difficult to wake up early to fit in a workout when you’ll be spending a long, tiring day at the wheel.  However, it will give you more energy to complete your drive safely, not to mention improve your health.  Just get it in!
  2. Move around (safely) while driving.  This website has some simple road trip stretches that I utilized, and I always remember to shift around in my seat, just to make sure I’m not sitting too still for too long.
  3. At stop lights, take the opportunity to (quickly) put the car in park, lift your foot up and roll your ankle, roll your neck, and other things you may not be able to do while driving.
  4. Each time you stop for gas, food, or to use the restroom, make a few laps around the parking lot.
  5. Each time you stop, take a few minutes to stretch!  My hip flexors get especially tight while driving, so I always make sure to stretch them when I stand up from the car.
  6. Drink a lot of water!!!  This will make frequent stops more necessary, and will help you fit in #4 and #5 more frequently!
  7. Right before each meal, do a mini-bootcamp.  Of course, you don’t want to be dripping sweat for the rest of your ride, but if you do a quick 5 minutes of jumping jacks, squats, lunges, and some walking, you should reap the benefits of a bit of movement without wearing yourself out.

So tell me in the comments … How do YOU fit in some movement on long car trips?

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21 Comments

  1. I can just picture my husband’s face as he watched me jog around a parking lot at a rest stop. He already thinks I’m crazy. I may do it just to see his response.
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Girls on The RunMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Haha, Deborah, I think you should run around the parking lot just to see what your husband says :).

  2. Michael Anderson on May 21, 2014 at 8:04 am

    YES!

    Car trips are a definite challenge – and I think how I USED to approach them:
    – Sleep in so I wouldn’t be exhausted
    – Drink less so I wouldn’t have to stop
    – Fuel with caffeine and sugar (e.g. Diet Coke and M&Ms)

    But guess what – it didn’t work. I was dehydrated so I felt lousy, my system was messed up from lack of exercise, and I felt like crap from eating junk. All of that travel back and forth to Kentucky last year (sure it was mostly air travel, but still) helped me rethink my strategy.

    So for my recent trips (the occasional 2 hour trips to Rochester and Syracuse, and the trip back to Troy) I used a different approach:
    – Get up and exercise as usual. More energy!
    – Eat and drink well before leaving
    – Water bottles for the ride (not disposible one, of course!)
    – Good stretching at every stop, walk around the area.

    And it is amazing the difference it makes. Sure it is still a car trip, but coming out the other side I was energized and ready to attack the day.

    Great post!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…The ‘To’ and ‘From’ of RunningMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I love it!! What a great transition!! My family used to have stops planned out on our way to Colorado … McDonald’s for breakfast, Subway for lunch, Dairy Queen for mid-afternoon Blizzard, and Sonic for dinner. No, I’m not kidding! Safe to say that I feel much better now!

  3. Becky@TheSavedRunner on May 21, 2014 at 8:47 am

    These are all great tips! My in-laws live about six hours away, so we make some long car trips a few times a year, and I always hate sitting that long.
    Becky@TheSavedRunner recently posted…Shopping, Birthdays, BFF Time, and Why Haven’t I Started Packing?My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I hope you can use these tips next time, Becky!

  4. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine on May 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

    These are great ideas! My hips get soo tight when I sit in the car for a long time. I hate stopping because it makes the trip longer- but you’re right that it is a good way to stretch a little and get some movement in! I usually drink water throughout the ride as well as coffee.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Tips for Choosing a Sports Medicine ProviderMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Lisa, when I’m driving with my husband, I usually drink less water because he’s like you and hates stopping! I am super efficient, so I can pull over, run into the bathroom, and get back on the road in 5 minutes flat. That’s worth it for my comfort levels :).

  5. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on May 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Great tips! We have a long move coming up and with a HUGE moving truck and 3 animals I am going to have to use some of these. I have to add if you take your extremely energetic Sheltie on the road with you – she forces you to have to pull over and walk every now and then 😉 Hope you are enjoying your vacation!!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted…Tips for Running Easy and Primal Sport Mud DiscountMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Hey, that’s a great tip, Sara! Yet another reason I need a dog!!

  6. Gary on May 21, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I sometimes just put the car in neutral on those flat straightaways and push it for 20 or 30 miles. 🙂

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Now THAT would be a great workout, Gary! Even I might not be willing to go that far, though 🙂

  7. Hanna Camille on May 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Great post! A “mini bootcamp” would definitely provide a nice boost of energy during a long trip 🙂 Wish I had thought of that last weekend on my 10 hour road trip home!

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Bummer on the timing, Hanna! I hope it comes in handy for your next trip!

  8. Arman @ thebigmansworld on May 22, 2014 at 3:48 am

    Urgh, Megan. Once again, another post which would have been helpful a good 3 months ago 😉

    Great tips though, and epic driving for you! I would use my rest stops and walk around 15 minutes or so. Also, for trips around 8-9 hours, I would actually stop after 4 and rest for the day/night there and continue refreshed, incorporating a workout between!
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…I’ll let you PIN me if I misbehave….PinterestMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Yikes! Sorry on the timing, Arman! You’re smart to stop in the middle of an 8-9 hour trip … it kind of makes me re-think the whole 13-hour-trip-in-one-day thing, but I think I’ll power through anyway!

  9. Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner on May 22, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I definitely should had read this yesterday – I was on a 14 hour car ride all day long! Ha. Love your tips!
    Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner recently posted…Tropical Chicken Butternut BoatsMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Yikes – sorry for the bad timing, Morganne! Maybe it’ll be helpful on your way back 🙂

  10. Amy @ Long Drive Journey on May 22, 2014 at 9:24 am

    This is great, and since I’ll be taking a huge roadtrip soon, I am going to bookmark this post!
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…Ask.My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Yay for a big road trip! I’m excited for you!

  11. 7 Healthy Snacks for Road Trips on May 23, 2014 at 6:00 am

    […] that you’re all set up with your 7 tips to fit movement into long road trips, you’ve gotta eat, right?  Long car trips can be an “excuse” to overload on fast […]

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