Truck drivers exert tons of effort during their long shifts. They work long-haul jobs, travelling lengthy distances with sometimes limited breaks. As such, the nature of their job can cause an unhealthy lifestyle that gives them little time to take care of themselves; including time for them to eat, exercise, or take a long rest.
Drivers need to stay healthy – not only for themselves, but for their career and families. Balancing sleep, exercise, and eating is possible. It just needs proper practice and discipline. Here are some tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the job.
Moving around and keeping your body fit can be quite a challenge for drivers, especially if you’re doing long distances. However, sitting down for long hours at a time can cause a strain on your health such as increased blood pressure, excess fat around the waist, high blood sugar, and even increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Additionally, several studies have found that sitting down for hours on end can have as many risks as smoking and obesity.
Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can perform. You won’t need any equipment, just your joggers. When time allows, you can go on a brisk walk for 20 minutes and do some stretching, so you can avoid neck and back pain when you get back on the road.
If you are able to bring small equipment with you, small weights can be used for simple arm exercises. Just make sure you are able to store them properly whilst travelling.
It’s important to not skip meals, especially breakfast. When you’re working for hours on end, you might not have the luxury of eating regularly. As a professional truck driver you will try to find a fuel station or snack stop to catch a break, and end up eating meals with excessive calories, fat, and sodium. That doesn’t mean you can’t decide what to eat.
Before you get started on your shift, you can whip up a few simple meals for the entire trip, and bring them along while you work. Example:
Breakfast – you can make whole meal toast filled with peanut butter and bananas or hard boiled eggs, or pack oatmeal, fruits, and low-fat yogurt.
Lunch – you can make yourself a tomato and avocado sandwich or a veggie burger.
Dinner – you can prep pork chops, barbecue chicken, or a beef stew.
Getting sufficient sleep is a challenge for drivers. They can spend over half of an entire day working, and the remainder catching up on rest and other activities they might have missed during their shift. Before starting the trip, make sure you’ve planned your routes ahead of time as it can be hard to find rest stops. When you plan the routes you’re taking, as well as the estimated time of arrivals per stop, you can find decent places to stop and rest up when you can.
Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow. For long-haul drivers, your truck can be your second home (if not your first), so making the sleeper cab as comfortable as possible will help.
You can be alone for days, weeks, or maybe even months. Driving can take a toll on your mental health, whether you recognise it or not. When you’re away from your loved ones for long periods of time, you can become quite distracted, homesick, and even emotional. This can be the most difficult part of the job.
It can be dangerous to lose focus on the road. Listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts while driving. Similarly, make time to call your loved ones when you’re on your break, and check on them from time to time.
Before you begin your trip, you can pack some things that remind you of home. This can come in the form of family photos, tiny objects that hold sentimental value like knick-knacks and small decorations to remind you who you’re doing this all for.
Driving is hard work, especially with its toll on your exercise, eating habits, sleep, and mental health. But that doesn’t mean maintaining a balance of these habits is impossible for truck drivers. You can achieve a healthy lifestyle by following these helpful tips when you’re on the road.
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