How to exercise in the car on road trips

Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Summer weather and time off work – for many, this means road trips to the campsites and visiting relatives. We all know these long road trips and heavy traffic can be uncomfortable and leave the body stiff and aching. The good news is this does not have to be the case because there are plenty of exercises and activities that you can do while on the go in the vehicle and at pit stops!

Did You Know?

During long car rides your body is at risk for deep vein thrombosis, where blood clots in a deep vein. After 4 hours of sitting still, blood flow decreases greatly in the legs. If this clot breaks loose, it can block flow to essential organs. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent this from happening!

Get Your Blood Pumping

There are some great ways that you can get blood flowing while on the move. The following are some cardio exercises that will reduce the likelihood of blood clotting in the lower legs, the best part, they can all be done in the passenger seat on the road! But remember, at any pit stop walking around for a few minutes can be great for circulation as well. 

While In Motion

During all of the below exercises be sure to practice proper form by maintaining a straight back and engaging abdominal muscles:

  • Raising your toes with your heel planted on the floor, 5-10 times every 20 minutes.
  • Press feet into the floor
  • Cross your arms in front of you, then 'run' in place, bringing your knees up to your arms. Reenacting a high-knee running drill, alternating feet as quickly as possible - similar to that of a football player training.

Strength Training

Strength training in the car? You bet! Lifting weights is not the only way to push for muscle strength; you can actually activate your muscles without much movement through isometric exercises. Remember that if you are the driver, take care to be safe while performing the following:

  • Work pectorals by firmly grasping the steering wheel at 9 and 3 and squeezing your hands inwards on it as shown in the picture.
  • Clecning the gluteal muscles independently or together.
  • Tightening the core by pulling the belly button upwards using only the abdominal muscles.


If you are less interested in getting sweaty working cardio or muscle, there are also many yoga poses that you can do in the comfort of your car! 

Use the images below to stretch within your seat. Remember to focus on breathing and posture, maintain a straight back and exhaling to increase the range of motion through the stretch.

​Eagle Pose

Prayer Twist

Pigeon Pose

Seated Sun Salutation

Get the Kids Involved

If this is a family road trip it is a good idea to get the kids involved, there are some activities that the kids will find entertaining.

The Water Bottle Game

Fill a bottle with water, sand, anything. Work the core by passing it between passengers, doing this as fast as possible adds for an entertaining twist. 

Water Bottle Competition

See which member of the car can hold the bottle out in front of them for the longest. Or if there’s enough space and two bottles hold one in each hand and hold both arms out to each side like the image to the right suggests. This may sound simple but if space allows, your arms to be outstretched it will be tricky within minutes!


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