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  1. Introduction
  7. Conclusion
Part 4, Section 8
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DRIVING & Torso/Legs Relationship

Cécile Raynor November 23, 2021
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Driving is not a very demanding activity on your body when you know how to use your body the natural way. You sit there and the car takes you places around the corner or far away from your home.

This being said, as you now understand, if you bring to driving your habitual way: 

  •  to move your head with your neck,  
  • to initiate your arm movement with your shoulder blades, 
  • to grasp the wheel with your hands and arms muscles, 

Then, your driving becomes an opportunity to stress your body even if, for the most part, you feel quite comfortable while driving because it has become familiar.
The way you use your legs in relation to your torso is directly linked to how you use your torso in relation to your seat. So, first, let’s review the importance of: 

  • your skeletal structure to be supported around the coccyx area by the back of your car seat as the first step to naturally stay upright. 
  • your torso to be balanced above your sitting bones without leaning your upper back against the back seat in your car. 
  •  your upper back to stay upright using a wedge, if need be, to fill the open space created between your upper back and the car seat when you are balanced above your sitting bones. (The wedge becomes a necessity only in some car situations, especially when the seat still leans back quite a bit.)

Like in the above picture, when a car seat leans down from under your knees to your sitting bones and the back seat does not straighten up much, using an upper back wedge prevents you to slouch while driving.
Supporting the skeletal structure in the ways mentioned above is more efficient than the usually recommended use of lumbar support against the curve of your spine around the waist area. The lumbar support feels good for your muscles but, eventually, it also reinforces common habits about posture that do not serve your body. Of course, until you know better, it is better to use lumbar support than slouch or hold yourself up.

Now, let’s see how the torso relationship to the legs works for you when in your car.

Of course, being too close or too far is not serving your body as a whole. It is more common however to be too far than too close. And this has to do with the way you are used to sitting in other environments. How can you tell if you are using your legs efficiently in relation to your torso? 

SIgns that you are sitting too far,

  • your foot is making a muscular effort to reach the pedal and your leg stretches to accommodate the foot. As a result, the hip joint in that leg gets overstretched and rebels by tightening.
  • you are likely to be slouched in your seat and your arms are quite extended when it is better to have some bend in them.
  • you are likely to be tired after extensive driving because your body has to work extra and you may even feel pain in the muscle or joint that has done too much work
  • your hip joint, sciatic nerve or quads may complain when you are not driving although your driving is feeding the tension while driving.

When you are efficiently using your body while driving:

  •  you use your bones more, the muscles go along for the ride mostly. Necessary muscle tension works with the skeletal structure and excess tension is not needed.
  • your heel is supported by the car floor so you can rock your foot from the heel bone instead of overusing your ankle joint
  • your muscles and joints can be relaxed
  • your posture is dynamic rather than slouched.
  • you can drive long-distance and not be tired when you get there
  • driving can become a meditation of sorts as you use peripheral vision to drive

Click the button below to access the section on electronics and your torso leg relationship.