Stay Fit for Driving
For the majority of the population, driving is an essential part of everyday life. Quite often it is something we don’t even think about, we simply get in the car to get to where we are going and don’t think twice.
When people lose the ability to drive, whether it is due to age, injury or other factors, it can be very inconvenient and worse, remove independence. It is important to stay fit for driving as long as possible.
Being in a country area, we depend on driving to get to work, picking kids up from school and getting to medical appointments. Therefore, it is important that we keep our bodies in check so we can continue to drive with ease.
Here are some key areas that are important to keep healthy and mobile for safe and comfortable driving:
Having a good range of motion in our necks and upper back is important. We need to perform head checks, check mirrors frequently and watch for oncoming traffic. As we become older, the neck and spine can begin to become stiff and restricted, so it is a good idea to maintain as much mobility as possible in order to continue to safely drive.
Lower back injuries or degeneration is very common and will quite often cause discomfort and pain when sitting for long periods of time. This can become hard when travelling on long trips in the car.
It is important that we take regular breaks; every 2 hours, or every 30 minutes to 1 hour for people with lower back problems. When you take a break, it is best if you go for a 5-minute walk, do some shoulder rolls, as well as gentle neck and lower back stretching. This will reduce the likelihood of pain and stiffness getting any worse.
It is also essential to have the seat set at the correct height, and also to ensure the seat is not leaning too far backwards. Ideally, we should be able to comfortably rest our hands on the steering wheel without having to stretch, reach or hunch over.
Also see our Ten Tips for Back Care article for other great tips.
Knee and Ankle
The knee and ankle joints are very important in driving, as we use our legs to break, accelerate and change gears. Keeping good strength and flexibility in the knees and ankles is important.
Staying fit for driving can help you keep driving for longer.