Volkswagen Magazine

LIVE SMARTER

stay loose!

A spot on your back itches, your feet get tired, and your arm goes to sleep. At some point you begin squirming around in even the most comfortable seat. This means it’s high time to get out at the next planned stop! Fitness coach Heiko Czichoschewski’s exercises get you ready for the road again in ten minutes.

Text Heiko Czichoschewski
Illustration KB Infografik

Our expert.

Heiko Czichoschewski has been working as a fitness expert, group fitness trainer, and also as a Pilates, aqua trainer and personal trainer for more than 20 years. As the founder of »More to Move on«, an advanced training facility for fitness trainers, and as author of several books on the subject, he relies on functional training, combining trends in fitness with established methods.

The exercises here are taken from Heiko Czichoschewski’s book “fit at work. The Best Exercises for All Professions”, which has just been published by the Bruckmann Verlag.

1

Loosening the pelvis:
Figure of eights

Starting position
Use your car for support when doing this exercise. Stand sideways to it with your feet hip-width apart. Your feet are pointing straight ahead, the knees are slightly bent. Your torso is upright with an added stretch, your eyes are looking straight ahead. Tense your stomach and buttocks muscles slightly. Hold on with your left hand, place the right hand on your hip. Lift your right foot somewhat off the ground and stretch your leg out. Keep your shoulders loose and dropped down/back, the sternum is lifted.


Performing the exercise
With your leg lifted and slightly stretched, describe a controlled figure of eight in the air. Maintain the basic tension in the process and keep the supporting leg slightly bent. After 15 to 20 repetitions, perform the movement in the opposite direction, then switch to the other leg.

 

Repeat 15 to 20 times in each direction

2

Loosening and mobilising
the hands: tiger claws

Starting position
Take a standing position with your torso upright. Tense your stomach muscles slightly to keep your body’s mid-section stable. Lift the chest.

 

Performing the exercise
Bend your arms in front of your body so that the upper arms are still touching your torso. Palms are facing upward. Keep your wrists in a neutral position – i.e. keep the back of your hands and lower arms in a straight line. Now bend the fingers and make a loose fist, keeping the thumb resting outside. Then open the loose fist and stretch your hands and fingers. Carry out the movement gently, only stretching the hands and fingers as far as feels comfortable.

 

Repeat 15 to 20 times

3

Loosening and mobilising:
Shoulder circling

Starting position
Keep your back straight and lift the chest. Stretch your neck upward while looking straight ahead. The pelvis is upright. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides.

Performing the exercise
Start by consciously circling both shoulders slowly toward the back. First you push your shoulders forward, then lift them upward and then pull the shoulders to the back and downward. Emphasise the downward motion in particular. Try to make the movement flow smoothly. The torso stays in position throughout the exercise. If you wish to include the chest and neck vertebrae in this exercise, then bend your head forward when the shoulders move forward. Lift your head and look straight ahead again at the same time as rotating your shoulders up and back.

 

Circle both shoulders backwards simultaneously 10 to 15 times

4

Loosening and mobilising
the feet: Point and flex

Starting position
Stand beside your car or a wall with your torso upright. Tense your stomach muscles slightly to keep the body’s mid-section stable. Hold lightly onto something for support with your right hand to keep your balance better. Lift up your left leg to the front, keeping the supporting leg slightly bent.

 

Performing the exercise
First bend your foot up toward the shin bone (flex). Then stretch the foot again toward the front (point). Try keeping your movements smooth during this exercise. Switch to the other leg.

 

Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side

5

Loosening and mobilising
the spine: Far East

Starting position
Stand with your feet about hips-width apart. The knees are slightly bent. Lift your left arm in front to shoulder height, with the palm facing up and the thumb on the outside. Bend your right arm and pull the elbow far back, keeping it close to your body. Your right palm also faces up. Your torso is turned to the right. Look back at your elbow. Keep your shoulders relaxed and dropped.

Performing the exercise
First push your right arm forward, stretching it out in a flowing movement. At the same time, bend your left arm and pull it back, keeping the elbow close to your body. Meanwhile turn your upper torso and head to the left, looking at your left elbow. While turning, imagine you are poking the fingertips of the forward hand into a pillow. Do the same with the left arm when turning to the right. Keep the pelvis and knees stationary while moving, with the hip bones always facing the front.

 

Repeat 15 to 20 times, alternating sides

7

Leg/calf stretch

Starting position
Place your feet in a long step position. The legs are parallel but placed one in front of the other to ensure a secure stance. Knees and toes are pointed forward. Brace yourself by putting your hands on the thigh of the leg in front. Push your sternum forward/upward and keep your shoulders far away from your ears.

Performing the exercise
Stretching the upper calf section: keep your back leg stretched and press the heel firmly into the ground. Now push your pelvis and weight a bit farther forward. Make sure that you are still keeping your front leg at a 90-degree angle. Make a diagonal line from the back of your head all the way down to the heel. Both hip bones should be facing forward.
Stretching the lower calf section: to stretch this part of the calf, bend the back leg at the knee joint, but leave your heel on the ground. Alternatively, these stretches can be carried out next to a wall, column or banister.

 

One time per side – hold the stretch position for about 30 to 40 seconds

6

Back stretch:
Hug a tree

Starting position
Get into a standing position with your feet parallel, placed at hip or shoulder breadth. The knees should be kept slightly bent in the process. Interlock your fingers. Lift your arms to the front up to sternum level and form a circle with your arms, keeping the elbows out. Imagine that you are hugging a big tree. The backs of your hands are facing away from your body.

Performing the exercise
Move your chin towards your sternum while really curving your upper back toward the back. Actively pull your shoulders down and back. Feel how far the shoulder blades are from the spine. Keep breathing calmly and evenly while you hold the stretch position. Feel the stretch in the shoulder and upper back area. Hold the stretch for 30 to 40 seconds. Slowly move the spine back into an upright position and bring the arms back down.

 

Do this exercise one time – hold the stretch position about 30 to 40 seconds

Relaxation

Head massage Place all ten fingertips to the right and left of the crown of your head. Keep your torso upright and relax your shoulders, letting them drop downward. Start massaging your scalp with circular movements, and vary the pressure intensity during the procedure. Exert only as much pressure as feels pleasant to you. Afterwards, gently tap your head from back to front and then from the top down to the sides, pampering your head and scalp while doing so.

Temples Place your index and middle fingers on your temples and move them in small circular movements, keeping your throat and neck area relaxed all the while. Closing your eyes will heighten the relaxation effect! You can reinforce the positive result with aromatic oils. To do so, place a drop on your middle finger. Take care that you don’t touch your eyes afterwards. Camomile and lavender have a calming and relaxing effect. Fresh lemon grass and orange are good for lifting your spirits. Mint oil can be helpful against headaches.