Research by David Lloyd Leisure and Jeep has shown that DVT (deep vein thrombosis) following car journeys could become a thing of the past with Traffic Jam Aerobics.
DVT, more usually associated with air travel and extended periods of immobility, can just as easily occur during a long car journey and with traffic volume increasing by up to 25% during the school holidays, it is likely that many holidaying motorists will experience lengthened journeys.
Diana Banks, senior personal trainer from David Lloyd Leisure said: “We teamed up with Jeep to see if we could develop some exercises that anyone can do in a typical family car like a Jeep Cherokee. In addition to the general benefits of exercise, DVT is an issue particularly close to my heart as I suffered from it twice prior to taking up exercising.
“The results of our experiments were a series of simple stretches and exercises that the whole family can do while driving - or sitting in the inevitable summer traffic jams.”
Top 10 tips for the journeyThe recommendation is to stop after two hours of driving and improve blood and respiratory circulation by getting out of the car and walking around. However, with traffic congestion playing a part in amending even the best laid plans, it is wise to adopt the following. Whilst the exercises are aimed at preventing muscles from tightening up, reducing the possibility of developing DVT and helping motorists feel less tired on their journey; they also play their part in keeping the children occupied and in good humour.
- Foot Roll: Take your shoes off and roll your feet into balls, then spread your toes out as wide as possible. Roll your feet from heels to toes on the floor, getting first the toes and then the heels up off the floor as high as possible to give the feet a good stretch.
- Ankle Rotations: Still with your shoes off, lift your feet up off the floor as high as possible and circle each ankle five times in both a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. You could vary this for the ‘are we there yet?’ brigade in the back seat by asking them to write the letters of the alphabet in the air with their toes.
- Downward Foot Press: Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor and raise your heels to increase the blood flow in your legs. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Shoulder Rolls: To ease the tension of sitting in one position for too long, lift the shoulders up towards the ears, roll the shoulders backwards and then down in as big a circle as you can manage. This will help to release tension in the upper back and neck, so is especially good if driving for long distances in stressful traffic.
- Shoulder Press: (Not for the driver unless totally immobilised by a traffic jam!) Lift the arms to touch the car roof, take the arms outwards and back down, and repeat.
- Simple Simon Says: Keep the children occupied with a quick game of Simple Simon. Raise the hands up from the shoulders in a shoulder press, take the hands in front of you in a chest press, take the arms out to the side from the shoulders and straighten the arms back down. Start with four of each, then doubles, then singles. Now for the big finale, try single, alternate arms and see who goes wrong first!
- Elbow Circles: Place your fingertips on your shoulders and draw circles in the air with your elbows. Another great move to help release tension in the neck and upper back.
- Super Stretches: Have a go at these stretches – it’ll increase and improve your circulation and relax your muscles at the same time.
- Toe to nose… do you need any more instructions?
- Arch your back to relieve all the muscles around your mid-section that have probably been taking a good rest whilst you sit in the car. Now sit up straight and ‘engage’ your abdominal muscles, and take a small side stretch over to the left and right. Repeat as required until you’ve woken up those abdominal muscles!
- Now point your toes to stretch the muscles at the front of the lower leg and bring your toes back towards you to stretch the calf at the back.
- Yoga in the Car: Backward prayer to stretch chest and shoulders. Take your hands around your back and place fingertips and then palms together. Now see if you can keep your palms together as you raise your hands further up your back in this classic yoga pose.
- After doing all that hard work, reward yourself with a drink of water and continue to rehydrate regularly during your journey.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler and Jeep said: “These traffic jam aerobics, together with regular breaks and a correctly positioned seat can help us all have a safer and more relaxing journey to our holidays this summer.”Published 31 July 2005