Making your living as an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver can be a great way to see the country. Imagine enjoying the scenery alongside the freeways across the great expanse that is this beautiful nation. Of course, as with any job, this too has its risks. Keeping a healthy lifestyle over the road can be challenging.
Though you might assume the biggest risk over the road truckers face is an accident, it’s actually the toll of sitting for hours on end takes on your body that is the biggest danger. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, the following stats showcase the health risks you might fall into by being a truck driver:
• 14% of truck drivers have diabetes. This is twice the national rate.
• 27% of truck drivers don’t get even six hours of sleep at night.
• 88% of truck drivers have obesity or hypertension. The rest of the nation is 54%.
• 54% of truck drivers smoke.
• 69% of truck drivers are obese.
• 22% of truck drivers have high cholesterol.
What Can You Do?
Now that you know that your risk factors are very real for health problems as a truck driver, what can you do? Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep yourself healthy on the road and enjoy all the benefits of this amazing job. They are as follows:
How to Stay Healthy as a Long-Haul Truck Driver
1.) Eat Right: This is difficult when you are living off fast food and gas station fare. However, if you are flexible, you can transform the way you eat, even over the road. Go to the grocery store, there is usually adequate parking, and pick up fruit, veggies, etc. If you want to grill your own meat, invest in a portable grill you can take with you. Also, keep in mind, that virtually every restaurant, even fast food these days provide healthier options. Choose grilled over fried foods and substitute a salad or other form of veggies for your fries.
2.) Exercise: Again, due to the confines of riding for hours at a time, exercising can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you get moving even while on the road:
• Explore truck stops for workout centers, some provide equipment to truckers. If you find one that has a workout center, allow yourself enough time to get at least a quick workout in during your stop.
• Bring along small weights. Sometimes, just getting your blood pumping will help, and lifting even light weights during idle periods is a good idea.
• Take a walk. Even a short 10-minute walk at a rest stop will prevent your muscles from cramping up and get your blood pumping throughout your body.
• Use an app. There is an app for everything and exercise is no exception. Track your heart rate and/or steps during your workout to make your exercise more effective and keep yourself on track.
• Make it a priority. Experts recommend you workout at least two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes. Though this might seem excessive or impossible, by making exercise a priority, you should be able to work it into your schedule.
3.) Get Enough Sleep: This is for sure easier said than done. However, in order to reduce your risk of the health problems listed above, you must get enough sleep. Make sure your cab is outfitted with a good mattress and pillow in order to get the most out of each hour of sleep you can squirrel away. Also, make sleep a priority. Remember, not having enough can cause health issues and endanger you as you drive as well.
Truck driving is a great profession. Enjoy the open road and these tips. Keep up a healthy lifestyle over the road. Safe travels.
Get more tips on staying healthy on the road: Top Healthy Diets for Truck Drivers