Simple Pilates-based tips to improve driving posture is one of my favourite take-home prescriptions, as it affects nearly everyone and it’s an easy habit to implement. Driving around the Northern Beaches, I find myself noticing drivers and their posture behind the wheel. This makes me think about how the benefits of their Pilates sessions extend to daily tasks like driving and sitting at work.
When driving, if you find that you have a sore neck or headache by the time you get to your destination, that’s most likely from poor posture behind the wheel.
This is mainly because our driving 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 the head, making your neck poke forward which places undue strain on the muscles and nerves to hold the weight of your head in front of the ideal centre of gravity.
Did you know that your head weighs about 5-6kgs?! That’s a lot of weight pulling forward on your neck and spine. Some people also have their seats too far or too close to the steering wheel, which can cause poor circulation and fatigue.
Pilates-based tips to improve driving posture and arrive at your destination upright and pain-free.
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:
- 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.
Written by Catherine Giannitto, Director of Polestar Pilates Australia.