With the summer holidays in full swing, families across the country are looking forward to a fun-filled staycation. Whether you’re going to be spending some serious time behind the wheel travelling for a longer break, taking a last-minute weekend trip or heading for a day out with the kids, discover President of the British Chiropractic Association Catherine Quinn’s top tips to keep your back in shape.
Catherine Quinn’s holiday travel hacks
- The perfect position – If you share a car, start your journey off on the right foot by making sure the seat position is adjusted to suit you when you get in. The back of the seat should be set slightly backwards so that it feels natural, and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.
- Wheely nice – If your steering wheel is too high and far away from you, tension will start to build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it’s too low and close, the wheel may be touching your legs, which will reduce your ability to turn it freely, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back. Your hands should fall naturally on the steering wheel, with just a slight bend in the arms.
- Belt up – Your seat belt should always lie across the top of your shoulder and never rub against your neck or fall onto the top of your arm. Depending on your height, you may need to adjust the position at which the seat belt emerges from the body of the car to achieve this.
- Pedal to the metal – You can always tell if you’ve adjusted your seat correctly by how your feet fall onto the pedals. You should be able to press the pedals to the floor by mainly moving your ankle and only using your leg a little. I try and avoid wearing high heels or very thick-soled shoes when I drive, as these can make you overextend your ankle in order to put pressure on the pedals.
- BCA says relax – It can be easy to tense up when you’re driving, but it’s important to try and maintain a relaxed driving position to reduce stress on your spine. Take regular breaks at least every two hours if you can, to stop and stretch your legs. If this isn’t possible, exercise in your seat. Buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces, and shoulder shrugs and circles can all help.