Car Exercises for Long Road Trips $0.00

Car Exercises for Long Road Trips

By: Morgan Gotthardt |
Car Exercises for Long Road Trips

Long car rides can be uncomfortable, causing aches and pains. Help your patients stay comfortable and active during long road trips whether they’re visiting relatives or going on vacation.

To help reduce driver fatigue and stress, teach them how it’s important to comfortably position your seat and follow proper ergonomics while operating a vehicle. Because car rides allow little to no movement, encourage your patients to also engage in stretches and exercises in or outside the car during pit stops.

Whether traveling across the country or just a few hours out of town, these tips and exercises will help your patients stretch their legs and burn some serious calories along the way!

Ergonomic Tips for Driving

Stress and discomfort while driving is often caused by poor posture due to seat height, seat angle, backrest angle, steering wheel and armrest positioning. It is important to achieve proper ergonomics while seated in the car. Make small adjustments to your driving posture every 30-60 minutes in addition to stretching. Try these driving techniques to help reduce joint stiffness and pain!

  • To decrease the amount of back flexion, raise the seat until your hips and knees are aligned
  • Set the backrest recline to an angle of 100-110 degrees, reducing disc pressure in your lower back
  • Lower the steering wheel and move it towards you to reduce strain on the neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Position the seat so that you can use the foot pedals without moving from the backrest

Car Dashboard

What Exercises Can I Do Inside the Car?

A long drive can be trying for your body. Your patients can’t work in a cardio routine behind the wheel but they can do a few stretches to ease the stress. Remind them to not perform these physical exercises while driving a car - wait until the vehicle is stopped. Have your patients use these movements to work off a little energy, pass the time, and tone those muscles!

Seat Pushes and Tricep Pushes

If you are the driver, seat pushes can help exercise your triceps. Hold the steering wheel at 10 and 2, gripping tightly with your elbows loose and bent. Straighten your elbows and push against the steering wheel, pushing your back into the seat.

If you’re a passenger, you can also exercise the triceps with tricep pushes. Sit-up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Position your hands on the sides of your hips, flat on the seat with your elbows bent. Straighten your elbows to lift your butt up off the seat. Repeat for a desired number of reps. Don’t forget to only exercise when the car is stopped and abide by all traffic laws.

Seated Side Bend

Sit tall, with your hands behind your head and your fingers clasped. While keeping your spine straight, slowly bend to the right. The more you bend, the deeper the stretch on your side. Hold for a short increment of time. Coming back into a neutral position, switch to the left side. Repeat for a desired number of sets.

Calf Raises

Position both of your feet flat on the floor. Raise your heels high, putting your weight in the balls of your feet while contracting your calves. Rock back on your heels to stretch the shins. To increase difficulty, use a tennis ball under the ball of the foot for a greater range of motion. Repeat for a desired number of reps.

What Exercises Can I Do Outside the Car?

Sitting for long periods of time can cause joint stiffness, tight muscles, and achy bodies. It’s important to stimulate blood circulation and activate your muscles during every pit stop. In just a few short stops, your patients will have a full workout under their belts!


Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. While engaging your core, step forward with your right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so the heel hits the floor. Lower your body until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. If mobility allows, lightly tap the left knee to the floor while keeping weight in the right heel. Press into the right heel to come back up in a starting position. Switch to the opposite side and repeat for a desired number of reps.

Bumper Push-Ups

Place your hands shoulder distance apart on the car’s bumper and step your feet back into an elevated plank. Bend your elbows 90 degrees as you lower your chest. Exhale as you push away from the car. Repeat for a desired number of reps.

Rear Enders

With your chest lifted and core engaged, lift your knees high to tap your toe to the bumper of your car. Move quickly, alternating each leg. Keep tapping your toe to the bumper for a short increment of time. Repeat for a desired number of sets.

Travel Workouts

Travel Workouts Requiring No Equipment

Traveling can be a good excuse to abandon the daily workout routine. However, a vacation can still be a great opportunity to exercise!

Remind your patients to maintain their cardio endurance while having fun by engaging in a variety of activities that offer a great workout without feeling like exercise. These activities include walking on the beach, volleyball, swimming, bike riding, golf, skiing/snowboarding, surfboarding, and hiking.

Instead of using the elevator in the hotel, suggest they try using the stairs! And tell them to avoid using a luggage cart when they pull up to the hotel lobby.

To strengthen the core, your patients can follow these exercises while staying in the hotel room!

Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunches

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed against the mat
  2. Cradle your hands behind your head with elbows out of your peripheral vision
  3. Position your legs at tabletop position, ankles in line with knees
  4. Tighten your abdomen and lift your head so that your shoulders are hovering off the ground
  5. Straighten the right leg while turning the upper body left
  6. Bring your right elbow towards your left knee
  7. Twist at the ribs, leading with your shoulder and not your elbow
  8. Switch to the opposite side for a full rep count



  1. Start on the floor on your hands and knees
  2. Position your hands directly under your shoulders
  3. Step your feet back, one at a time, with feet hip-distance apart
  4. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor
  5. Tighten your abs, quads, glutes, and hold for a small increment of time
  6. Repeat for a desired number of sets

Boat Pose

Boat Pose

  1. Sit upright with a long, tall spine and bring your knees into your chest with your toes lightly touching the floor
  2. Keeping length in your spine with your chest lifted, lean back and engage your core muscles
  3. Extend your arms in front of your chest and extend your legs outward and upward
  4. Hold this position for a short increment of time
  5. Release and repeat for a desired number of reps

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

  1. With your back facing the chair, grip your hands on the front edges of the chair
  2. Hovering in front of the seat, bend your legs with thighs parallel to the floor
  3. With feet planted flat on the floor, straighten your arms
  4. Lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles
  5. Engage your triceps to press back to the starting position
  6. Repeat for a desired number of reps

Looking for more hotel room exercises? Grab a TheraBand CLX and get started by following along with this video!

Hours on the road don't have to affect your patient’s workout routine or rehab exercises. Whether inside or outside the car, they can still stretch those achy joints, keeping their extremities loose. Remind your patients that making the most of the time they have available to exercise will make the trip more fun, giving them a boost of energy and helping them feel better as they do some good for their body. Safe travels!



Medical Disclaimer: The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images and other material, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.