If you’re a professional truck driver who spends the majority of your time on the road, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. According to a study performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), long-haul truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese compared to the majority of the working population. The study also pointed out that truck drivers are “more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease.” An unhealthy lifestyle can impact a truck driver’s overall performance, which is risky business when behind the wheel of something as large as an 18 wheeler.
In an attempt to help improve driver health in the trucker community, Tracey & Fox Law Firm has put together an infographic. Here’s a fleshing-out of their recommendations:
Start Eating Right
The first step towards a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a balanced diet. When traveling, it’s important to pre-plan healthy food stops along trucking routes to help you avoid fast food and other unhealthy snacks. Apps like Food Tripping are designed to help you locate alternatives to fast food while you’re on the road. You can also visit sites like TheHealthyTrucker.net, which provides healthy, cost-effective recipes for truckers.
Exercising and staying active are essential to keeping your body in shape. If you have trouble putting together workout routines, mix things up by using your truck as your personal gym. Try exercises like forearm slams and squats against the trailer, knee kicks against the tire, resistance bands attached to the door, or even dips between the driver and passenger seat. Getting your truck involved can make workouts exciting rather than monotonous and frustrating.
Become More Social
Becoming more social will help encourage you to stay healthy. Communicate more with your family on hands-free devices or at truckstops and fill them in on your goals toward a healthier life. Interact with others through positive forms of social media like trucker specific Facebook groups such as Truckers Helping Truckers or trucker forums like the Truckers Report. The more people you have on your team, the more likely you’ll stay committed towards your goals.
According to the NIOSH study, about 54 percent of truckers smoke. The habit is not only bad for your health, but it can also become a distraction while driving, which can increase the likelihood of an accident. By kicking smoking to the curb, you can keep your attention on the road and your health.
Visit a Doctor
Visiting a doctor is essential for identifying risk factors or problems before they become serious. When sickness is caught early, treatment is usually more effective. There are roadside clinics around the country that are committed to the health and wellness of truck drivers. Organizations like Team CME list out specific locations and have even designed an app to help truckers locate designated clinics. Regular checkups can keep you on the road and healthy.
Get Adequate Sleep
Although the new Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations reduced maximum working hours for truck drivers, crashes and accidents continue to occur due to driver fatigue. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 26 and 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep per day. To ensure that you’re getting the necessary amount of sleep, start building a sleep regimen by setting a consistent sleep schedule, creating a bedtime ritual, and maintaining a comfortable bed in your cab by investing in a high quality mattress, blanket, and pillow.
By implementing these helpful tips into your daily routine, you can improve your overall health, increase your life expectancy, and perform at your highest ability. Dedicating your life to becoming healthier is an influential part of improving safety on our roadways.