It’s that time in the road trip: The kids are cranky and in need of a break from the car seat, but you just wanna get to your destination. Try these in-car exercises and games to work off a little energy, pass the time and tone those arms during family travel.
How to Exercise in the Car
Long road trip can leave everyone feeling cranky and creaky. All that time strapped into seat belts or car seats and sitting for long periods is a recipe for unhappiness. Yes, it’s important to stop often for rest stops to let everyone walk or run around. But it’s also possible to keep moving while you’re in the car with these simple exercises.
Ideally, two adults and one or more kids equals increased fun. The two adults can take turns working out by taking turns with the driving. (Scroll down for some easy exercises the driver can do, too.)
As the number of kids increases along with their age, the movement can become more challenging. However, one adult (a voice of encouragement) and one child is all you need to get started.
Three of our favorite road trip exercises for the whole family:
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
It might not be full-in cardio, but this simple song can lead to all types of movement and plenty of laughs. Just as the song implies, begin with the head and then move your hands from your head to your shoulders, knees, then toes.
To make it more fun, give each person a turn singing the song — in any order. For example, try toes, stomach, nose or knees, toes, waist, shoulders, head. The faster you sing, the more movement and energy everyone will use, until you all dissolve into the giggles.
Water Bottle Challenge
This road trip exercise requires those refillable water bottles you already have in the car. Instead of drinking from them, use them as weights to get those arms moving. The movements can be done while safely strapped in your seat belt and even by little ones in car seats. Perform each activity two to three times to equal a set. Turn on your favorite music and begin.
- Holding the bottle parallel to the car floor, bend the bottle toward the chest.
- If there is enough room in the car, stretch the arms out to the sides and bend at the elbow.
- To work the triceps at the back of the arms, lift the bottle overhead. Bend the arms to a 90 degree angle, return to original position.
- To rev up the interaction, take turns passing the bottle back and forth stretching the arms while reaching for the bottle. This will also add some waist movement.
Change the weight by how much water is in the bottle. For safety, the bottle should have ridges to allow for a good grip and the lid should be securely tightened. Choose waterbottles with locking spouts to prevent little inquisitive hands from opening the bottle and spilling the contents.
Did you know your face has more than 50 muscles? Often neglected, exercising the face by making silly faces is fun and stimulating. Perform each activity 10 times. Even the driver can do this one!
- Begin with a smile, but a really pronounced smile, one that stretches the skin and tingles your cheeks.
- Move your mouth left to right, hold the stretch on each side to feel the tension and stretch the muscle.
- Fill your cheeks with air, then relax your cheeks.
- Pretend you are blowing a bubble in the air.
- Crinkle up your nose, and then relax.
- Gently, bend your neck to the left and to the right.
Movement stimulates the endorphins, which are hormones that just make you feel good. After a few rounds, two to three sets to your favorite music, everyone will be happy, limber and content for a few more miles.
Easy In Car Exercises Drivers Can Do
If you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam, you can join the family fun. But when traffic starts moving again, we don’t recommend joining a rousing game of head, shoulders, knees and toes.
Instead, it’s time for some isometric exercises.
Arms and shoulders: Grab the steering wheel tightly and squeeze using maximum strength for 15 seconds, relax and repeat.
Glutes: Sit up straight in the driver’s seat. Tighten your tush muscles. Hold for 15 seconds, relax and repeat.
Lower abdominal muscles: Pull your belly button in toward your lower back. Hold for 15 seconds, relax and repeat.