Our bodies are very adaptable to the demands of our lives. Over time, our muscles and bones stubbornly settle into the positions we place ourselves in during long bouts of work. If you drive eight or more hours a day, this may lead to a “hunched” upper back and forwardly rounded shoulders, tight neck, chest, and hip muscles that can remain even when you’re not on the road.

Steps to Take to Undo Poor Posture from Extended Sitting

A good first step to take in undoing poor posture while driving is becoming aware of good habits.

  • Do not lean forward.
  • Do not slouch in your seat.
  • Keep ears aligned with mid-line of your shoulder.
  • Have good support for your low back and/or bottom.
  • Make sure your pedals and steering wheel are positioned so you can maintain upright sitting posture.
  • Follow service guidelines for drive time and breaks as per state and federal laws.

Stretch during breaks and at the end of the day! Even a few minutes stretching can help unwind your body from long hours stuck in the same position. The following stretches are specific to the tight muscle patterns most drivers struggle with.

T.R.U.C.K. Activities for Drivers

T: trunk flexion stretch (two options to un-hunch your back)

  • This lengthens your low back.
  • If seated, bend as far forward as comfortable until a good stretch is felt in the back.
  • If standing, start upright in front of a counter or table a few feet away. Place your hands flat on the surface, bend knees slightly, keep your back flat, and reach your hips back.
  • Hold 15-20 seconds, repeat 1-2 times daily.

R: rows or scapulae retraction isometrics (to pull shoulders into alignment)

  • Use a resistance band if you have one.
  • Anchor the band in front of you at waist height.
  • Bend elbows, slide wrists straight back, and squeeze shoulder blades together and slightly downwards.
  • Move slowly, as this builds strength.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 reps 1-2 times daily.
  • If you do not have a band, do this one.
  • Stand or sit upright.
  • Bend elbows, hold palms up, and point thumbs behind you.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades back and down.
  • Hold 5 seconds and do 5-10 reps 1-2 times daily.

U: upper trap stretch (get those shoulders out of your ears!)

  • Hold onto the edge of your seat or grab your wrist behind you.
  • Move your head towards the side of your body opposite the side the anchored hand.
  • Switch the anchored hand before stretching the opposite side.
  • Find a comfortable stretch and hold 15-20 seconds, repeat 1-2 times daily.

C: chest stretch (to relax pecs)

  • Place hands and forearms on a doorframe.
  • Walk forward slowly until a comfortable stretch in the front of the chest/shoulders is felt.
  • Hold 15-20 seconds, repeat 1-2 times daily.

K: knee bend stretch (for shortened hip flexors)

  • Bend one knee and place on a raised surface in front of you.
  • Move hips forward (see arrow) until a comfortable stretch in the front hip is felt.
  • If this causes low back discomfort, try tucking your pelvis under (tilt hip bones back) and decrease how far forward you lean until there is no pain and only a comfortable stretch.
  • Hold 15-20 seconds and repeat 1-2 times daily.

Keeping your body in good shape is the key to a long and sustainable career in trucking and transportation. Poor posture and pain can prevent you from putting in all the miles you need to. Let us help you maintain good alignment and keep you strong for those long roads ahead. Call us to schedule your next appointment. Drive safe!