Whether you're a travel nurse or just a traveler, follow these tips to keep fit and stay alert on long car trips.


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If you travel much by car, staying fit can be a challenge. What can you do? Try to avoid sitting in the car for more than a couple of hours at a time. Take a break at rest stops and go for a short, brisk walk. This will help you stay alert while stimulating circulation and alleviating any stiffness or pain.


While in your car at a rest stop, try these simple exercises:


* Pelvic tilt. This exercise may help prevent or relieve any lower back discomfort and will work your abdominal muscles. Sit up tall in your seat and place your hands behind you at the small of your back. Now press your back into your fingers by contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. After doing this a few times, try holding the contraction longer.


* Quadriceps contractions. Using one leg at a time, straighten your knee and contract your quadriceps. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and do this several times.


* Upper-body stretches. Tilt your head toward one shoulder, then the other. Do shoulder circles in both directions. Clasp your hands together on the steering wheel and round your shoulders and upper back.If the weather cooperates, get out of your car for these exercises:


* Full-body stretch. Clasp your hands together and reach above your head, stretching yourself as tall as possible.


* Calf stretch. Step one foot behind the other and press your heel down. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.


* Squats and lower back stretches. Stand beside your open car door and support yourself by holding onto your open window. Squat down to a 90-degree bend in your knees, then stand up. Do this 10 to 15 times. Stretch your lower back by bending at your waist and stretching away from the door.



You can do several of these exercises while refueling your car. They can really make a difference in how your body feels while traveling. Give them a try; you'll be glad you did.