Diamond

A wheely good workout

20/03/2009

For many of us, finding time to exercise is a struggle. Busy lifestyles, time spent travelling and probably a hint of laziness all means getting healthy can fall by the wayside. 

Research by women's car insurance expert Diamond has revealed 84% of motorists spend up to 80 minutes a day commuting to and from work*, so they have compiled a workout to help pass the time and ease some of the guilt when you are stuck in traffic.

Diamond worked with Dr Karianne Wasley Backx, an Exercise and Sport Physiologist from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and came up with 10 simple exercises that are suitable while you are sat stationary in traffic queues.

  1. Improve posture - Sit tall with your weight evenly balanced on each buttock. Lengthen your spine, keeping your shoulders relaxed, pull in your stomach muscles and lift your ribcage. Adjust your rear-view mirror so that you have to sit up straight to use it.

  2. Facial exercises - Raise your eyebrows into a surprised expression, and then pull them down into a frown. Repeat 10 times.

  3. Neck exercises - Slowly and carefully turn your head to look left then back to the centre to look straight ahead and then turn to look right. Keep the back of your neck long and your shoulders relaxed. Repeat 5 times. Do the exercise again, but instead of looking straight ahead when your head is in the centre, move your chin towards your chest.

  4. Shoulder circles - Sit tall. Bring your shoulders up towards your ears and circle them back downwards. Repeat 5 times. Then lift your shoulders towards your ears and drop them back down. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Arm exercises - Stretch out your arms to the front, to the side and towards your back pulling your shoulder blades together. Repeat 5 times.

  6. Hand and wrist exercises - Grip the steering wheel very tightly for a few seconds, release your hands from the steering wheel, making a clawing motion by curling your fingers, and finally stretch your fingers as wide as possible. Repeat 5 times. Circle your right hand, keeping your arm as still as possible. Make ten circles in each direction and repeat with the other hand.

  7. Buttock exercises - Sit tall. Balance your weight evenly. Clench your buttocks tightly. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times. Ensure that you have nothing in your back pockets, sitting on for example a wallet can cause numbness and increase the risk of sciatica.

  8. Pelvic floor exercises - Kegel exercises: without using your buttocks draw up the pelvic floor muscles, while also drawing in your belly button. Repeat 10 times.

  9. Calf exercises - Make sure your feet are not in contact with the pedals. Keep your weight even and your feet flat. Push up onto your tiptoes, hold for a count of five and relax. Repeat 5 times.

  10. Ankle exercises - Again, make sure your feet are not in contact with the pedals. Keep your weight even. Circle your left foot, keeping your leg as still as possible. Make ten circles in each direction with each foot.

Diamond managing director, Sian Lewis said, “Sedantary lifestyles are doing nothing for our physical fitness. All too often when driving in the UK, and especially going to and from work, we find ourselves stuck in traffic queues. These exercises are easy to do while you are at a standstill for any length of time and are great for easing the stress too.

“Make sure you are stationary and in a safe place before giving them a go, and don't be surprised if you get some funny looks when carrying out the facial exercises!”

*based on Diamond research of 3,000 people in the UK.

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