- Stand straight, breathe deeply and stretch your arms into the air. Lean back slightly, arching your back to really stretch your abs. Lying on your back on the exercise ball will also stretch your abs.
- With your right hand on your hip, lean over your right side and reach your left hand in the air, toward the right. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat and then switch sides. This stretch works your oblique muscles, or the abdominals on the side of your torso, as well as your back.
- Lie on your back, legs outstretched and arms over your head. Breathe in deeply and stretch your arms and legs as far as they will go, feeling your hips and shoulders stretching. Then relax and repeat.
These stretches are a great way to warm up before exercise or to relieve tension after a long day, but any exercise should be combined with cardiovascular work and a healthy diet. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Portable in-cab exercise equipment
A folding bicycle is a good way to pack a lot of exercise into a small space. Most models unfold in seconds, and they can weigh as little as 19 pounds, perfect for the limited space of the truck cab. Prices range from about $300 to as much as $3,000, depending on the bike you want. Folding bikes come in every style from city cruiser to mountain bike. The Better Bicycle Company’s Dahon Jack ($399.95, www.dahon.com) is a rugged 7-speed city bike that folds in five seconds. Montague’s CX Comfort Bike ($449, www.montagueco.com) is a full-size bike with a wider seat, and it features the same folding mechanism and frame as the company’s military paratrooper bike. Bike Friday’s Pocket Tourist ($698, www.bikefriday.com) is a simple touring and city bike that weighs less than 27 pounds. Check out the websites for more information on how the bikes fold and where to buy them.
Balls and Mats
For alternative exercises and a great way to stretch, exercise balls are the way to go. The stability balls usually range from 30 cm to 75cm and larger, depending on your height. Exercise balls may vary depending on the store, and if in doubt, bigger is better. You should be able to sit comfortably on the ball with your knees and hips making a 90 degree angle or higher. To purchase a ball and coordinating stability ball programs, check out the Resist-A-Ball website at www.resistaball.com. To purchase a ball and a lot of other fun recreation equipment, go to the Shape Up Shop at www.shapupshop.com, click on “Fitness” and then click on “Exercise balls.”
A soft yoga mat creates a comfortable area to stretch and exercise. Check out the Shape Up Shop online or any major store like Target or Wal-Mart.
Weights and Resistance Bands
On top of daily cardiovascular exercise, weight training is important to strengthen muscles and increase your metabolism. A set of free weights and several resistance bands are portable and easy to use on the road. For weights, buy one set of dumbbells with adjustable weight plates that are easy to slide on and off. For resistance bands, buy two or three different colors that indicate varied resistance for a light or heavy workout. You can find both weights and resistance bands at any large store, or shop online at Amazon or the Shape Up Shop at www.shapupshop.com.
Jumping rope is one of the best cardiovascular exercises around. Just a 10-minute jump every day can give you more energy and a better disposition. Invest in a strong jump rope made from a material other than plastic, such as real rope, because plastic has a tendency to break. Plus, plastic will really hurt the first few times you mess up and slap yourself in the shins.
The Truck Gym
This piece of equipment attaches directly to the passenger seat or driver seat of your truck with no drilling, just simple screws that snap into place. The Truck Gym comes with resistance bands that allow you to do leg, arm and abdominal workouts with 30 pounds of resistance. For purchasing information, go the Truck Gym website at www.thetruckgym.com.