I spend a lot of time on the road. During the summer and fall of 2014, I drove through all 48 contiguous states and flew to Alaska and Hawaii. It was my wellness 101 50 State Challenge, playing golf in all 50 states and promoting wellness in all 50 states. One of the most valuable lessons I learned early in the trip was how to maintain my fitness and safety while driving. Here are 10 important lessons I learned:
1. Hydrate 8 ounces every hour. When you’re on the road water is the best thing you can drink for sustained energy.
2. Eat smaller meals and snacks like almonds and trail mix that contain ingredients that help your brain focus. Large meals will bring on drowsiness.
3. Get out and go for a 5-10 minute walk every 90 minutes to two hours.
4. Carry a yoga mat and an acupressure mat and alternate use of each of them for 5-10 minutes every stop. If weather permits use them outside and enjoy the view and fresh air.
5. Flex your muscles often, especially the muscles in your legs and feet. If you have cruise control use that to free up your right leg for the exercises.
6. Either keep the windows open or run your air conditioner so that the oxygen levels stay high and stay fresh. This will help to keep you awake and alert.
7. Sing! If you’re in the car alone or with other people it’s the perfect time for karaoke! Have some fun with it, let loose and don’t care than the people in the car next to you are staring at you. You’ll probably never see them again anyway.
8. Make a new friend. you’re not the only one behind the wheel for hours in relative solitude. When you are pumping gas or at a rest stop, don’t be afraid to chat someone up, learn a few things about them and share stories from the road. You may just make a new friend.
9. If you have a hands-free device, catch up with some old friends that you haven’t spoken with in a while. This is a great time to reconnect without office distractions (as long as you can talk and maintain proper focus on the road). It’s probably not a good time make business calls that require spreadsheets, websites and other things to be open while you’re driving.
10. You can also use your hands free device to dictate that article or letter that you been having a hard time finding time for. I wrote this entire article using my “notes” app on my iPhone 6 while driving from Maryland to Florida.
And yes, I put all of these suggestions into action during my drive.