I love working with clients and getting their posture in alignment at my Brookvale Pilates Studio and when I’m driving around the Northern Beaches, I find myself looking at other drivers and their posture. This makes me think about all the good we do during their Pilates sessions, only for them to get into their car or sit at their work desks. So its great to give good tips clients can take into their everyday life. This is one of my favourites as it affects nearly everyone and is a very easy habit to implement and change for the better. If you are driving to commute to work or on a day trip, you may find that you have a sore neck or headache by the time you get to your destination, and its not just because of the traffic.
This is mainly because our posture is at a disadvantage. Most people have seats that are leaning backwards causing slumped spines with a tucked under pelvis. This changes the alignment of our head, making our neck poke forward putting strain on the muscles and nerves to hold the weight of the head in front of our centre of gravity. Did you know that the human head weighs about 5-6kgs. That’s a lot of weight reaching forward and pulling on your neck and spine. Some people also have their seats either too far away or too close to the steering wheel, which can cause poor circulation and fatigue.
So follow these tips and arrive at your destination more upright and smiling.
At every red traffic light you should check-in with your posture – I put a post-it note on my steering wheel for 3 weeks to set the habit:
- Firstly make sure your seat is upright – about 90-100 degrees, not leaning back too much
- Pelvis should be back against the seat, not tucked under
- Legs should have a soft bend at the knees, not locked out reaching nor fully bent causing cramping at the hips
- You should be able to control the foot pedals by moving the foot and lower leg easily
- Arms should have a soft bend in the elbows and directly in front of your armpits
- Head is against the head rest, not poking forward
- Steering wheel is at a height you can easily see over and that your arms can rotate the wheel without using your chest muscles
We are lucky these days that most of the cars we drive have great ergonomics so they are very easily adjustable. So take the time to setup your seat and wheel to suit your dimensions.
Enjoy the ride.