Truck drivers face a grueling schedule in many cases, and they’re more in-demand now than ever before. That means it can be a great career, but if you’re in trucking and you regularly drive long distances, you probably also realize how important it is to stay healthy.
When you work on staying healthy, you can reduce the risk of fatigue while you’re on the road. Driver fatigue often stems from a lack of sleep, medical conditions, and general poor health.
You’re also just going to feel not only physically better but mentally better as well if you’re mindful of your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 69% of truck drivers are obese, and 17% are morbidly obese. It’s estimated that 22% take cholesterol medicines, and 14% have diabetes. These statistics indicate the need for truckers to be more aware of their health.
Of course, staying healthy when you work in trucking isn’t without its challenges, and the following are some things to know to help you along the way.
When you eat clean, you’re cutting out fake sugars, preservatives, excessive gluten, and so many other processed and packaged foods that aren’t good for you.
While it can be tough to eat clean on the road, it is doable.
First, consider meal prepping if you have a refrigerator. Even if you have a cooler, you might be able to do some meal prepping.
Then you have home-cooked items wherever you go, and you don’t have to rely on fast food or unhealthy snacks from the convenience store.
Along with meal prepping, bring items like pre-washed and cut vegetables when you head out on the road, so you have something close by when you are feeling hungry.
Even if you are at the convenience store picking something up, go for a bag of nuts or a piece of fruit versus something like a candy bar.
When you eat clean, you’ll have a steadier stream of energy instead of ups and downs.
Move Your Body
Being a truck driver is an incredibly sedentary job, but that’s not exclusive to this field. Most modern jobs are sedentary.
Being sedentary is one of the biggest chronic disease risk factors, however, and it can just make you feel generally unwell.
Commit to exercising when you’re on the road.
You can do what works for you, but think about bringing a pair of running shoes wherever you go so that you can hit the pavement when you have the chance.
You can also bring weights with you, or for something even easier, bring resistance bands on the road.
A pedometer is something you can use to measure the number of steps you get each day.
Take a break often so that you can get out, stretch your legs and move your body.
When you’re feeling tired, moving is a great way to wake yourself back up. Just doing some stretches can even go a long way.
Work Your Mind When You’re On the Road
Your mental and physical health are intrinsically linked to one another.
You have opportunities even on the road to strengthen your brain and improve your mental health.
For example, listen to audiobooks or language tapes. These will keep your brain stimulated, and they will help you stay more actively alert.
You can also try listening to some music that’s outside the norms of what you would normally choose. For example, you can listen to classical music.
Drink plenty of water when you’re on the road to reduce dehydration. Sugary sodas, caffeine and even some types of juice are actually more dehydrating than they are hydrating.
Try to have eight glasses of water a day.
If you have a hard time remembering, keep water beside you all the time.
A note about stimulants too-a cup of coffee is probably fine, but relying too heavily on caffeine can be detrimental to your health.
When you have too much caffeine, along with being dehydrating, it can artificially boost your energy for a short period, and then you can crash again.
Finally, good sleep habits are essential for your health.
Try to get eight hours a night and set a regular bedtime for yourself as well as a regular time to wake up.
If you have a hard time falling asleep, create healthy habits that relax you even when you’re on the road. For example, maybe you read a book and have some chamomile tea before bed.