Over the road truck driving jobs lets you see the world through your windshield. Yet it also means that you are sleeping, eating and relaxing in your big rig. As a result, truck driver fitness often takes a backseat. It becomes all too easy to slip into the bed sleeper after a long day of driving with some truck stop takeout for dinner. If this sounds like you, then consider these steps on how truck drivers stay fit on the road.
Health Concerns of Truckers
Truck driver fitness: The workday of a trucker includes a lot of behind the wheel time, sitting in a seat. This sedentary workplace is detrimental to your health and to truck driver fitness. For starters, you aren’t able to get up and move anytime you want. Instead, you are sitting for hours at a time due to the rigors of your delivery routes. Add to this a lack of healthy food options for truck drivers.
When you are short on time for a snack or meal, it’s simple to grab something from a convenience store or fast food chain. The combination of a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet leads to several dangerous health problems. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease…these are chronic health conditions that run rampant in the trucking industry. Here are the facts about long-haul truck driver health, according to a study in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- 69 percent were obese and 17 percent were morbidly obese
- 14 percent had diabetes
- 22 percent took medication for high cholesterol
Additionally, more than half of drivers had two or more chronic health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and sleep loss. So what can you do to avoid being a statistic? Focus on two basic areas of truck driver fitness—your diet and activity level.
Start with changes in your diet. Most truck stops have healthy dining options at restaurants, fast food chains, and in delis. However, an even better way to eat healthily is to preplan and pack your food before you leave for the road.
Stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy snacks and ingredients. Prep a few meals that you can eat in a hurry. To give you some ideas for healthy meals and snacks check out “Healthy Eating for Truckers” by Livestrong, or watch YouTube videos on truck drive meal prep plans.
The CDC reported that more than one-fourth of truckers had no moderate or vigorous activity, aka exercise, in at least 30 days. While the work environment does make truck driver fitness a challenge, it is not impossible. Go for a walk during your off-duty hours. Some truck stops including TA Petro locations offer walking trails just for truckers. Others, like Pilot Flying J truck stops, offers a health and wellness program and over 600 travel center gyms nationwide, to help you stay healthy on the road.
You could also carry a foldable bicycle along in your cab, to use for rides after you shut down for the day. These weigh less than 45 pounds and are well suited for truck drivers. Another option is to carry a small set of hand weights and do basic stretches and exercises. Again, YouTube offers tons of free videos of exercises by truckers, for truckers.