Long-haul truck drivers spend the majority of their time driving or sleeping making exercise and time for healthcare very limited. Statistics show that over 85% of long haul truck drivers exhibit at least one risk factor for a chronic disease.
This puts the driver at great risk. A solution to this problem could be creating a small work out plan, meal preparation guidelines or joining a wellness program. This could greatly decrease the risk of a chronic disease.
Personal Wellness Program
Truck drivers have the convenience of eating at fast food restaurants and truck stops, however, rarely is healthy food an option. Everyday stressors of long-haul trucking and sitting for hours make exercise nearly impossible. Putting together a wellness program you can use in and around your truck while on the road could greatly reduce stress and the risk of other health concerns.
After being on the road all day or night, working out is probably the last thing on a trucker’s mind. However, taking 10-20 minutes to do some physical activity such as light cardio and stretching can help save your body.
Sitting for long periods of time is especially strenuous on the lower back and some simple stretching exercises can relieve the tension. There are many quick activities you can do to help your body recover from a long day. Plan these light exercises into times you pull over to rest or stop and fill up.
Often a driver will either drive all day or night with little to no downtime. Both have a tendency to have negative effects on a good sleep schedule. Most truck drivers only sleep about six hours at a time; which is often not enough. Your body requires sleep to repair itself and to be able to function properly.
Spending all day sitting in one place actually makes the body tired, so the first thing most do is grab a coffee or an energy drink. While these have a short-lived effect, they are counterproductive!
Some of the ingredients in energy drinks will give you a quick boost, then leave you with a crash feeling afterwards. Ultimately, leaving you wanting to drink another one. There are hundreds of empty calories in each drink. These open a door to potential health problems including obesity and heart conditions.
Energy drinks also have a dependency effect, which can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and drastic mood swings. Although water does not have sugar, taurine or other energy boosting supplements, being well hydrated can give you the energy you need! Taking care of your body and paying attention to what goes in it can really pay off in the end.
It is necessary to make sure you are eating and drinking for a purpose, and not for pleasure. Substitute one side of your meal with a healthy choice each day. Stay away from drinking artificial energy boosters and soft drinks, keep your body hydrated with water and electrolytes.
The key to a healthy lifestyle, no matter where you are, is to make sure your body is getting enough rest. With as much stress as truck drivers put on their body, you must ensure you are properly charging it for the long days and nights.
Exercise every day, no matter how strained for time you are. Just a few minutes can change how your body reacts to long periods of sitting.
Implementing these few suggestions as your own personal wellness program can help keep your body charged and in good health for the long haul.