Being a long-haul truck driver is a physically and mentally challenging job.
These over-the-road truckers not only have to travel long distances away from their homes, but they also have to handle big vehicles on fast-moving highways with the threat of accidents always looming on the horizon.
With a major portion of their lives spent on the road, truckers often suffer from increased health problems that can provoke shorter life spans.
Being away from home, they are often forced to lead an unhealthy without the ability to exercise or access home-cooked healthy food.
Using tools to estimate the driving time from location to location can help them save time, but sitting on the driver’s seat for hours and eating whatever is available on the wayside forces them into an unhealthy lifestyle.
Living an unhealthy life as a truck driver can get you involved in accidents that even truck accident lawyers may find difficult to handle.
For long-haul truck drivers who already live an unhealthy life, permanent lifestyle change is necessary.
Health and Fitness Tips for Long-Haul Truck Drivers
If you are a long-haul truck driver, adhering to these wellness tips will go a long way in keeping you fit and healthy:
1) Eating Right
Of course, it will not be possible for you to cook your own meals. However, instead of munching on junk food available on roadside kiosks, you can head for grocery stores located on highways.
To access these, you can even park further away and force yourself to walk a bit more. Regardless, you will be able to buy easy-to-eat nutritious food.
Your choice of food should center on fruits and vegetables and not on fat-laden fast foods that cause obesity and heart problems.
Your best choice is pre-washed cut fruits and vegetables. They are not only a great source of vitamins and minerals but are easy on the digestive system.
Eat at least five to ten helpings, if not more, on a daily basis.
You can also carry a portable grill for grilling chicken and turkey breasts that are healthy and a great source of protein.
Another convenient option is to prepare smoothies and drink them while driving.
2) Don’t Get Dehydrated
Since driving is a sedentary activity and the truck cabins are usually air-conditioned, you won’t often feel like drinking water. However, this can lead to dehydration without you even knowing it!
Furthermore, your body doesn’t signal thirst, until its already in a state of dehydration.
Dehydration creates many health issues, and maintaining proper hydration is one of the easiest ways to improve your health.
To counter dehydration, keep a bottle of water on the dashboard and take a sip every few minutes while you drive all day long.
Consume half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, drink 85 ounces of water per day.
This way you won’t need to wait till you are thirsty.
Buying the best quality bottled water can also significantly improve your mental alertness while driving and overall health. Look for water with a very high p.H. level.
Don’t be afraid to spend additional money on the best water possible!
3) Exercise While You are on the Move
We generally consider office work as sedentary, but your long-haul truck driving job is sedentary too.
Truck drivers often sit in their driving seat in a cramped cabin for hours on end.
If you are an OTR (over the road) driver, you can usually drive for 11 hours straight, take a break for 10 hours, and then continue again till you reach your destination.
This non-stop driving makes you sit in one position for hours- which plays havoc with your health. You can easily counter this by consciously taking up various forms of exercise when you have free time.
There are many ways of exercising your body while on the move.
You can carry your running shoes with you and go for a little jog whenever you get a chance. Jogging will invigorate you and work up your stiff joints and muscles.
You can also carry some weights and train your arms while driving.
Just take care to secure them safely, as you wouldn’t want them to roll under your acceleration pedal, brake, or clutch, and cause an accident.
Another option is to carry along a folding bicycle. You can use it in the rest area where you park your truck.
Also, buy a pedometer. It is ideal, not only for monitoring your progress but also to remain motivated.
4) Never Use Intense Stimulants
You can use mild stimulants such as coffee or caffeinated tea in moderation but never drive under the influence of psychotropic drugs.
Concluding Thoughts | Improving Your Health as a Long-Haul Truck Driver
For long-haul drivers, it is always difficult to stay fit and healthy due to the nature of the job.
But adopting a disciplined life and a healthy lifestyle can not only keep you healthy and energetic but also add years to your productive life in this challenging career.