A Long Day of Driving: Now What?
The amount of miles we've already put on our RV, "Lance" since we picked him up a few months ago is almost embarrassing to admit. We've put on over 7,000 miles already, and I'm far from proud of it. As fitness people who preach slowing up, stopping lots, driving less, doing more...well, we should be the last people with that many miles under our belts.
Here's a perfect example. A few weekends ago, we were invited to participate in a fun Kansas City cycling event, the Northland Nightmare. It was a costume-themed biking fest, with activities for people brand new to cycling all the way up to 62 mile rides for more seasoned cyclists.
After the biking festivities, there was live music, drinks, food, and camaraderie. James and I rolled in pretty late the night before after driving 8 hours, camped right at the event's start, and rolled out around 3pm after the event, and drove another 6 hours that evening. We were in Kansas City with enough time to sleep, ride 62 miles, eat some fajita salads, meet some cool Kansas City people, and get back in the RV; next stop California (or bust). So, you can get a feel for how those 7,000 miles came to be.
It's funny what a long drive can do to you, isn't it? Even though the RV wheels are turning, your own wheels? Not so much. You aren't doing anything difficult or strenuous, yet you feel pretty tired and sluggish from all the sitting, the zoning out. Your energy wanes, and all sorts of stiff, sore, achy spots pop up, too. And ironically, when you reach your destination, it can be really hard to find any motivation to do anything, except more sitting. Despite all the long drives we've done lately, James and I do have a few habits to help combat those ill-effects. Here are a few things we do, and you can, as well, to help your body and your mind recover after a long drive:
1. Don't Sit More.
While you might be tempted to set up the lawnchair and just sit the rest of the day away, resist! Get yourself moving right away once your long drive is over. Get the RV hooked up, set up your camp, putter inside the RV preparing your next meal or straightening up.
If your long drive is the end of a trip, do the RV unloading immediately, don't wait. Do anything you can directly after your long drive BUT sit.
2. Take a Walk.
Exercise is the best way to get your body regulated after a long day of sitting and driving. Not only will you increase your circulation, walking will clear your head and get you thinking sharper. It's also one of my favorite things we RVers can do...taking a walk and exploring new and unknown destinations.
You can see some pretty amazing things once you lace those athletic shoes up and head out the RV door.
Your muscles and joints were made to move. When they don't for long periods, it can cause stiffness and inflammation in the body. Stretching after any drive is a smart habit, because it counteracts the lack of movement during the drive.
If you're interested in 5 stretches specific for RVers, you can watch my video here.
4. Drink a Big Glass of Water.
Water helps energize your muscles. Your muscles get fatigued when cells don't maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes, and let's face it. We tend to drink less driving to avoid lots of pit stops. Long durations of sitting also slows all the body's systems, including fluid regulation. Drinking water directly after a long drive will help get your body balanced and back to its normal healthy state. You can make your water even more interesting with some fruit and herb ice cubes like these.
5. Do Some Self-Massage.
James and I always travel with a massage roller. Self-massage reduces stiffness and increases your circulation, but there's more to it than that.
Self-massage creates a feeling of greater clarity and energy...two things greatly lacking after a long drive. Since it also reduces stress and improves your mood, self-massage is a nice way to relax after so many hours on the road.
So there you have it...5 healthy tips to recover after a long drive. Hopefully, you're RVing much smarter than us, though, and driving much less. One thing we all should remember: slow down. After all, there's so much more to see.