Forgoing basic nutrition and health strategies can certainly take a toll on your figure during long car trips. Even more importantly, that kind of on-the-road neglect often have serious health implications. Not only might you give yourself lasting back problems and raised cholesterol from a fast food diet, but blood clots and other circulation problems are a serious concern for those who stay immobilized for hours on end.

Stock the Cooler

Staying hydrated and properly fed on your car trips will go a long way when avoid common road trip health problems. Potential pitfalls include weight gain and raised cholesterol from fatty foods, as well as increased blood pressure from salty snacks. Keep a cooler and/or snack bin in the car so that you always have access to nutritious food and bottled water (or even a thermos of chilled green tea).

Start your trip with some made-at-home goodies like veggie wraps and carrot-raisin muffins. Consider popping and bagging snack-sized portions of popcorn, which you can season with healthy herbs, spices and cheese-like nutritional yeast. For longer trips, be sure to include longer-lasting food like unsalted almonds, healthy granola bars and trail mix, string cheese, crackers, apples and baby carrots.

Keep it Pumpin’

No matter what your age or fitness level, if you’re on an extended car trip, blood clots are a real concern. If possible, stop every two hours and walk around for several minutes after grabbing that coffee.

When you just can’t get off the highway, flex your feet as much as possible. “Clenching” your core and holding that in-drawn-abs pose for about two seconds also helps; do 10 to 20 reps at a time.

Other circulation moves that passengers and even drivers — while at stoplights — can do include bringing your hands in a prayer position so that the tips of your fingers are level with your chin, and pressing your hands together for about two seconds, with 10 to 20 reps. Squeezing a towel between your knees for two seconds at a time, again for 10 to 20 reps, is another great circulation booster when you just can’t leave the car.

Don’t Strain Yourself

Walking like a crab after getting out of the car is a sure sign that your muscles haven’t been allowed to flex themselves as much as they need. Again, the best cure for this is to stop the car and move around more frequently. Touching your toes and raising your arms above your head will do a world of good during your rest stops.

And when you’ve got an endless drive ahead of you with no foreseeable breaks, adjust your seat position to change sitting positions, which gives new muscles a chance to take over.

Remember — every road hassle has a silver lining! Why not take advantage of traffic snarls to do neck rolls and arm extensions?

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