A car can be more than a driving machine – it can also provide you with a full body workout.
STARTED Pilates lessons at the beginning of the year. It was my last resort in an attempt to manage lower back pains, after having consulted an orthopaedic specialist and even a TCM physician. I’m hoping that Pilates will help strengthen my back muscles and thereby alleviate the pain.
I’m fortunate to have a Pilates instructor trained in orthopaedic rehabilitation. She was able to pinpoint my physical weaknesses and plan exercises to target those muscle groups.
I naively thought that it had to do with only the back muscles, but apparently, it also involves the trapezius, deltoid and rhomboid around the neck and shoulder areas, the pectineus at the top of the thigh, all the way down to the hamstring and more.
So I found my entire body being subjected to stretches and twists that made me feel like a human rubber band. I also discovered muscles that I never knew existed.
There are exercises that I’m supposed to continue at home in between sessions at the Pilates studio. To my surprise, it’s possible to incorporate many of these exercises into my daily drives.
My driving position is now a notch more upright, so that my shoulder blades press nicely against the top of the seat, thereby working my shoulder blades. When depressing the brake pedal, I try to initiate the movement from the hip instead of just moving my lower leg. Flexing my feet upwards helps to give the calf muscles a little stretch. I also make use of the time spent waiting at traffic lights to flex my inner thigh muscles and do some pelvic squeezes. When making a turn, instead of just swinging my arms, I try to engage the whole trapezius.
In this way, my four-wheeled machine has become a substitute for the gyrotonic and reformer. I get to incorporate some of my Pilates routine into my daily drive/ life. Doing these moves behind the wheel doesn’t hinder my driving and accelerates my Pilates progress.
The best part is that it helps to take my mind off trying traffic situations. Someone just cut me off? Instead of cursing, I say “Adductor magnus”. Stuck in a jam? No problem, I’ll just work my deltoid. Even the breathing techniques that I learnt at Pilates come in handy.
IF LYNN WERE TO PRESS ON THE HORN OFTEN AND HARD ENOUGH BECAUSE OF ANNOYING MOTORISTS, IT’LL BE A GOOD WORKOUT FOR HER SHOULDER MUSCLES.
The car can be a mobile Pilates studio for the woman who is always on the move.