Tense, stiff and sore muscles do not have to be a part of driving and traveling long distance! One rule to always remember is posture, posture, posture. Sitting in proper posture will make a significant difference in how you feel during and after hours in the car or on a plane. Following a few basic principles will also help.
Take regular breaks. Taking a “stand-up” break every two hours will decrease muscle soreness from decreased circulation.
Change or shift your position often. Obviously, this is limited when seated. However, you can reset your posture often. For example, slide back in the seat if you’ve scooted forward. Sit up straight if you’re slouching.
Move your extremities often. That means wiggle your toes in your shoes, move your fingers, and circle your wrists and ankles if you’re able. Break up the monotony of sitting motionless for hours on end.
Stretch. Try the following upper body stretches to relieve muscle tension caused by traveling long distance. The following exercises may be done standing or seated. Hold all stretches for 10-30 seconds. Make sure you’re breathing comfortably through each stretch. Stretch to mild tension, not pain. As always, consult your physician before beginning any exercise.
Lace your fingers behind your body. Pull your shoulders down and back; slowly extend your elbows pulling your hands toward the floor, and then pull your shoulder blades together.
Reach both arms straight up overhead. Keeping your weight centered, slowly reach to your right, then reach to your left.
Lace your fingers behind your head, pull your shoulders down and back pinching your shoulder blades together; and then pull your elbows wide.
Pull your shoulders up toward your ears, then release.
Pull your shoulder blades together, then release.
Pull your shoulders down, tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder. Release and repeat, tilting your left ear toward your left shoulder.
Pull your shoulders down; rotate your chin toward your right shoulder. Release and repeat by rotating your chin toward your left shoulder.
Make a loose fist with both hands, slowly extend your fingers.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.