If only we could put all of the time we spent in the car and use it to exercise, we would be a much fitter nation. You can make those hours count for something; start behind the wheel doesn’t have to be time spent completely sedentary.
There are some abdominal-strengthening exercises you can do while driving. Hollowing, bracing and pelvic tilts are three maneuvers to cary out safely behind the wheel. And while doing these exercises alone won’t give you six-pack abs, they can greatly improve the tone of your abdominal wall.
- Although these exercises don’t need a great deal of concentration, it’s a good idea to get familiar with them before trying them while driving. “Driving under the influence of exercise” is not a known offense, but safety behind the wheel comes first.
Imagine that someone is about to give you a hard poke in the stomach with the end of a baseball bat. Can you feel your middle contract and stiffen to prepare for the impact?
You can hold it for as long as you can and you’ve got abdominal bracing. You experience this same feeling when doing plank. Bracing engages all three layers of the abdominal wall, causing them to bind together. It’s also been shown to thicken the abdominal muscles.
- Abdominal Hollowing
Abdominal hollowing is actually a matter of contracting the stomach deeply into the lumber spine. Exhale when initially carrying out the maneuver, and breathe lightly while you’re holding the pose.
You contract the stomach slowly, and avoid movement in the pelvis and chest. This exercise is also referred to as “stomach vacuum” and the “drawing-in maneuver.”
With hollowing, you work an oft-overlooked muscle called the transverse abdominus, which acts like a corset, keeping your organs tucked safely inside of your abdominal cavity and adding to spinal support. Weakness in the transverse abdominus is linked with lower back pain.
Hollowing also operates the external and internal obliques, which support the sides of your abdominal wall. A study in the April 2013
READ ALSO:WHAT ARE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
- Seated Pelvic Tilt
Pelvic tilt exercises activate the rectus abdominus and external oblique muscles and can assist improve posture. Do a seated pelvic tilt by first exhaling, then using your lower abdominal muscles to press your lower back into the vehicle seat.
Hold this position on briefly. Inhale and tilt your pelvis forward, producing an arch in your low back and widening the space between the low back and the seat. Hold this position for one to two counts and then return to the starting position.
- Driving for long periods of time can also add to postural and back problems. The University of Maryland Medical Center [advises](http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/back-pain-and-sciatica) that you position your vehicle seat so that you are not bending forward when your hands are on the wheel. Recline your seat no more than 30 degrees, and if possible the seat bottom should be tilted slightly upward in front. Don’t lift anything heavy immediately after you get out of the vehicle.