New year, new you: exercise in your car

- January is a good time to shed some excess pounds, but gym memberships can be costly and it can be hard to make time to go. Thankfully, in-car exercises can help get you back into shape instead.

Travelling during rush-hour usually involves being stuck in traffic jams, while longer journeys can take their toll on the body and the mind. Exercising in your car can be a productive way to pass the time or break up your commute. Modern technologies can also help take some of the stress away from driving, and in the future, cars could promote mental awareness and focus by delivering a customised multi-sensory experience.

Modern technologies can also take some of the stress away from driving and in the future cars could deliver a customised multi-sensory experience.

The following exercises are designed for stationary vehicles, for example while you wait at the petrol station or shortly before you start work. You should never do physical exercises while driving your car.

Neck exercises

Thanks to the rise in the number of desk jobs and our reliance on screens, neck pain has risen dramatically in recent years. Thankfully, there are a series of in-car neck exercises you can do to prevent this from happening, or to ease the tension if you do feel some pain.

For the first routine, turn your neck to one side, and hold for five seconds, before repeating on the other side. Repeat this up to five times. After you’ve done this, sit straight and look forward while titling your head to one side so your ear touches your shoulder until you feel the stretch on the side of your neck. Hold this for five seconds before repeating on the other side, and do this up to five times.

For the final neck exercise, sit upright and move your head down from your chin to your chest until you feel the stretch on the back of your neck. Hold this for five seconds and repeat up to five times.

Back exercises

Stretches for your back can prevent injury and ensure your back muscles remain flexible. For the first exercise, take a normal sitting position in the seat of your car, and slowly roll your bottom forward away from the seat, forming an arch in the small of your back. Hold this for five seconds and slowly roll your back flat against the seat. Repeat this process up to five times.

The second exercise helps work your glutes. To do this, shift your body weight to the right and lift your left buttock off the seat, then hold this for five seconds and lower it back down again. Then repeat on the right side. Once again, this process should be repeated up to five times.

Calf exercises

Place both of your feet flat on the floor of the car, and perform 20 heel raises with each leg, completing two sets for each. To increase difficulty, you should position a tennis ball under the ball of your foot. This will allow you to complete leg raises with a greater range of motion.

Chest and shoulder exercises

To work your chest and shoulders, start by placing a tennis ball between the palms of your hands, with your fingers gripping the top of the ball. Raise your elbows out to the side in line with your chest. Push your palms towards one another, and then release them. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions.