(NewsUSA) - Road trips can provide a great source of tunes, good conversation and relaxation throughout any travel season. However, long hours on the road can often result in body aches, poor nutrition and other challenges for drivers stuck behind the wheel.
To avoid such pitfalls and make the experience a bit less taxing on the body, champion Porsche race car driver Patrick Long has developed a set of guidelines for drivers everywhere. Long, an American Le Mans Series race car driver who can be in his car for up to 12 hours at a time, recommends these tips for any kind of distance driving:
Fuel-Up: If you pack a small cooler with water bottles and healthy snacks like fruits and veggies, this can deter the temptation to reach for non-healthy items on the road.
Stability: Stability should be your number-one concern when taking a long road trip. Many people stick pillows behind their backs for lumbar support, but the main goal is to always have your spine straight. Sit with the seat fully contacting your back; allow the structure of the seat to do its job in supporting your spine.
Body Positioning: Maintain proper posture by not leaning one way or the other in the seat. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Authority, a driver's hands should both be placed on the outside of the steering wheel on opposite sides. Long recommends the "9 and 3" hand position. Having proper position in the car is also relative to the pedals -- if you're too close you're cramped. If you're too far away, you'll end up slouching down to reach them. Sit close enough to the wheel so there's a slight bend at your elbows and keep your arms relaxed.
Take Frequent Pit Stops: For longer-distance road adventures, take frequent pit stops in order to stretch your legs and improve the blood flow in your body. To prevent a sore lower back experienced after driving, focus on core stability and strength exercises. Long suggests planks, leg lifts and crunches on an exercise ball to strengthen your core.