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Positive Posture: Driving a Vehicle - by Will Galick

Posted on March 22, 2018 at 12:30 AM
The average commute in Canada is 20-30 minutes by car. With many workers going to work for 253 days in 2018, this means the average total commute time will be 168-253 hrs sitting in a car. That is 7-10.5 days spent stuck in the seated position this year alone (and that doesn’t even include the time spent sitting in the office or at home in front of a computer).

  • Commute time: 20-30 minutes
  • Work days in 2018: 253 days
  • Time spent driving: 7-10.5 days

With stats like these, many of us are ending up with chronic issues and pain throughout our body. Some issues from driving are:

  • Neck, back, leg and shoulder tension which results in pain
  • Poor circulation to the feet, legs and buttocks
  • Degeneration of the spinal discs

Many of these issues can be avoided by adjusting your body’s position while in your driver’s seat. With a few simple changes to your posture you could save yourself a lot of pain and grief.

Correct posture starts with the car itself and how you have it set up. Take the time to adjust your vehicle before you start your commute or road trip.

Adjust the seat to your body’s specific proportions:

    1. Adjust the seat forwards or backwards so your legs are slightly bent and can comfortably and safely reach the pedals. This will always depend on the make and type of vehicle you are driving.
    2. Adjust the backrest so your body is in a fairly upright position, but more importantly so your arms are able to comfortably and safely reach the steering wheel. If you find that you have to pull your upper back off the seat, or head off the headrest, you should tilt the seat forward.
    3. Keep the headrest at a height that supports the back of the head, and not above or below. If not adjusted to the proper height, the headrest could cause serious injury in an accident.
    4. If your car has adjustable seat height, the preference is to have the hips level with, or slightly above your knees when possible.

Adjusting your body to your newly set up seat is next:

    1. Sit your buttocks all the way back in the seat.
    2. Pull your chest up, place a slight arch in your lower back, lightly place the back of your head against the headrest and ever so slightly tuck your chin.
    3. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders before you extend your arms in front of your torso towards the steering wheel. You will want to place your hands around the 9 and 3, or 8 and 4 positions to keep your elbows slightly dropped and shoulders relaxed.

Lastly, you will now adjust your mirrors to your preferred and safe positions to optimize the view for driving. This is key to be done last as we do not want to adjust our body to the car once we are in. This is especially important if you share a car with other individuals. Do not adjust the mirrors once they are in place, if you cannot see out of them properly, it means you have moved from your perfect postural position.

This does not guarantee that you will not have any pain caused by driving, but this will at least help minimize the possibility.
 

Will Galick, B.Sc. is a Registered Kinesiologist
For more information, please contact him at fitkin.ca 


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