It is summer time and the cottage awaits, the beach awaits, the campgrounds await, the backcountry awaits for us all to make the long and nerve racking trip up the highway, amid the traffic, and through the construction until we finally reach our destination and breathe deeply.
That first awesome deep breath of “get away” air that is so often followed by an “ouch” and a groan as we attempt to stretch out the stiffness in our legs and low back, neck and shoulders from too many hours sitting in one posture, stressing over the the speed of the cars around us (fast or slow) and wondering which lane is the best lane to be in to get us to our destination the fastest.
As a family that travels long distances very often to get to campgrounds, cottages and family here are a few tricks we have learned to keep the kinks, creaks and nerves out of the drive as much as possible.
First reduce stress of the mind; by reducing your mental stress it allows you to relax the muscles of the body and keep some of the tension from key problem areas:
- play games (passengers only; but the driver is often entertained by the battle of observation and wits going on)
- The Alphabet Game – where you search road signs for the letters of the alphabet in order; first one to “Z” wins!
- Road Trip Scavenger Hunt – either with a pre established list (you can buy them!) or one you make up at the beginning of each game; each player establishes 2-3 items to search for along the way and adds them to the list, then the play begins!
- listen to books – if there are two of you in the car, one can read while the other drives; or borrow books on tape from the library
You will be amazed by how much a little entertainment can reduce the stress of your drive and help the time go by.
Secondly reduce the stress of the body:
- drink water – so often road trips start with a stop to grab a coffee but then that’s it; water consumption is important even when we are sitting in the car. Take a bottle (or 2) of water with you and drink it. The car can be a hot place especially if the sun is out in full force, even with air conditioning, so keep you muscles hydrated and they will will be in better shape at the end of the trip
- schedule in a couple of stops – I know everyone is eager to “just get there” but the time spent on a break from driving and the chance to stretch your body makes a huge difference when you arrive at your destination and don’t have to spend 20 minutes or more “unwinding” from the drive. As someone with three children whose bladders never seem to co-ordinate I can tell you that stopping twice on a long drive has never set us back more than half an hour and we are all in better shape when we have reached our goal. Prescheduling the stops can be helpful and if you are really keen create a 5-10 minute yoga or stretch routine, then hit the bathroom, grab another bottle of water and you are back on the road refreshed and ready for the next leg!
Wherever you are headed this summer from all of us at Kura safe travels and have a great time!
Michelle Kudelka, RMT