After long periods of sitting behind the wheel, it’s vital truckers take time to stretch and loosen their muscles. A stop at Waspy’s is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.
Why is sitting bad for you?
Sitting for long periods of time can have negative effects on the body including:
- Muscle stiffness and imbalances: When you sit for extended periods, certain muscles can become stiff and tight while others become weakened or elongated due to inactivity. This can lead to muscle imbalances, affecting your posture, movement, and overall comfort. Stretching helps to alleviate muscle stiffness and restore balance to the muscles.
- Reduced circulation: Sitting for long hours can impede blood circulation, particularly in the lower extremities. Poor circulation may contribute to issues like swollen feet, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and varicose veins. Stretching exercises, especially those that involve leg movements and ankle pumps, can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of circulation-related problems.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease: Sedentary behavior, such as prolonged sitting, is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure. Regular stretching and exercise can help mitigate these risks by promoting heart health, improving blood pressure, and enhancing overall cardiovascular function.
- Back and neck pain: Sitting for long periods, especially in a poorly supported position, can strain the back and neck muscles, leading to discomfort and pain. Stretching exercises that target the back, neck, and shoulders can help relieve tension and reduce the risk of developing chronic pain in these areas.
- Reduced flexibility and range of motion: Lack of movement can cause the muscles and joints to become stiff, leading to reduced flexibility and limited range of motion. Stretching helps maintain or improve flexibility, allowing for better mobility and reducing the risk of injuries, especially when performing physically demanding tasks.
Why should you stretch after driving?
Stretching not only feels good, but it’s also beneficial to your health. When truckers arrive at Waspy’s, we encourage them to take a few minutes and stretch. Stretching can:
- Relieve muscle tension: Stretching after sitting for a long time can help relieve muscle tension, especially in the lower back, hips, legs, and shoulders. It promotes blood flow, which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping them relax and recover.
- Improve circulation: Stretching exercises stimulate blood flow, which is beneficial after prolonged periods of sitting. Increased circulation can help reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
- Enhance alertness and focus: Stretching increases blood flow to the brain, which can help improve mental alertness and focus. This is particularly important for truckers who need to stay attentive and focused while driving.
- Maintain flexibility and range of motion: Regular stretching helps maintain and improve flexibility, which is crucial for truckers who often need to maneuver in tight spaces or perform physical tasks related to loading and unloading cargo. It can also help prevent injuries when reaching, lifting, or twisting.
- Promote overall well-being: Stretching not only benefits the body but also contributes to a sense of well-being. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, and provide a much-needed break from the sedentary nature of long-haul trucking.
Simple stretches for truck drivers
Here are some simple stretches that drivers can do when they get out of their truck:
- Neck stretches: Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. You can also do forward and backward head tilts, as well as gentle neck rotations.
- Shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders forward and backward in a circular motion several times to release tension in the shoulder area.
- Upper body twist: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips, and gently rotate your upper body to one side, then the other. Repeat this twisting motion for a few repetitions.
- Chest stretch: Place your hands behind your head and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together, feeling a stretch in your chest. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
- Back stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your lower back, and gently lean backward, arching your back slightly. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
- Hip flexor stretch: Take a lunge position with one foot forward and the other foot back. Keeping your back straight, gently shift your weight forward, feeling a stretch in the front of your hip and thigh. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Hamstring stretch: Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. Reach toward your toes or the shins of the front leg, feeling a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 15-30 seconds per leg.
- Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall or another sturdy object, place your hands on it at shoulder height, and step one foot back while keeping it flat on the ground. Lean forward, bending your front knee, and feeling a stretch in your calf. Hold for 15-30 seconds per leg.
- Ankle rotations: Sit on a chair or stand, and rotate your ankles in circles, both clockwise and counterclockwise. This helps to improve ankle mobility and prevent stiffness.
- Full body stretch: Reach your arms overhead and interlock your fingers, palms facing upward. Inhale deeply as you stretch upwards, lengthening your entire body. Hold for a few seconds and then release.
Remember to perform these stretches slowly and gently, without any bouncing or jerking movements. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the stretch and consult with a healthcare professional. Additionally, it’s important to customize your stretching routine based on your individual needs and limitations.
Waspy’s can meet truck drivers’ needs
At Waspy’s, “We’re More Than Just A Truck Stop.” With locations in both Audubon and Templeton, Iowa, we can meet your trucking needs, from offering certified scales to having free laundry and showers for truck drivers. Our Audubon location includes Audubon Diesel for all your repair needs as well as our Tire & Service Center and Waspy’s Truck Wash.
This post was written by Waspy's Truck Stop