Simple Stretches to Ease Pain on Road Trips3 min read

Road trips are an excellent way to see far-flung sites affordably, but it’s important to ensure your body doesn’t pay a hidden price. According to a recent OnePoll study, 78% of travelers suffer soreness after five hours. Road trips are often longer than that, for multiple days in a row. 

Don’t worry—here are some easy stretches you can work into your road trip routine to combat that soreness. It’s great to do these exercises more than once: before you leave, between rest stops and even while riding in the car (if you are a passenger). Just make sure to listen to your body and only stretch as far as feels good. This is not the time to push yourself too hard. If a body part is in serious pain, skip the stretching and plan to see a doctor. 

Stretches for Passengers

1. Shoulder Stretch

Sit tall so your back is straight and your shoulders are above your hips. Reach your left arm out across your chest. Touch your left hand to your opposite shoulder. 

With your right arm, gently draw your left elbow farther to the right, closer to your chest. Hold for half a minute. 

Repeat with opposite arms. You should feel the stretch along your shoulders and upper back. 

2. Seated Cat/Cow

Begin by sitting tall with your back straight. 

Exhale and move into cat pose, where your back curves toward the back of the seat, your belly moves toward the spine and your head moves down. 

Then, on your inhale, move into cow pose. Your chest and sternum should move forward and up and your head should move back as far as is comfortable. 

Move in a controlled flow from cat to cow several times. This should stretch your hips and lower spine. 

Stretches for Rest Stops

3. Wrist Stretch

You can also perform this exercise in the car as a passenger, but we’re including it in the rest stop section as it’s especially important for drivers whose wrists can clench at the wheel.

Stretch your right arm out in front of you, as if signaling for a car to stop. Use your left hand to gently stretch your fingers toward your body. You should feel your muscles stretch in the underside of your arm. 

Now point your right-hand fingers down toward the floor. Use your left hand to pull your fingers further toward your body. You should feel this stretch on the top side of your forearm. Switch arms and repeat. 

4. Leaning Plank

Find a low wall or picnic table to lay your hands on, palms down. 

Lean forward with your arms and back straight until your back is in a plank position and you are looking at the ground. Hold in place for several seconds. You should feel this stretch in your arms and chest. 

5. Calf Stretch

Stand with one leg in front of the other facing your car or a different flat surface. Place your arms on the surface in front of you. 

Bend your front knee and lean forward. Keeping your back leg straight, drive your heel down until you feel your calf stretch. 

Hold for ten seconds, then switch legs. Repeat several times. 


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