Many people mistakenly believe that truck driving is an easy, undemanding job with no real challenges – those who ourave been on the road know the truth of the matter. Trucking is hard work and physically demanding, but one of the most difficult challenges of the job rests on the fact that much of it is accomplished while sitting in a confined space. New studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time is one of the worst things you can do for your body. So if you work as a truck driver, we encourage you to learn how to stay healthy on the road.
How to Stay Healthy on the Road
Make a Commitment
The most important step in learning how to stay healthy on the road is to get your head in the game. Make a commitment to do what it takes every single day you are behind the wheel. Write out a plan that covers all the bases: eating, sleeping, and exercising. Your goal depends on your ability to stay focused and mindful.
Now that you have made a commitment, you need to complete all the necessary preparations. Make sure you have everything you need for everyday life on the road as well as unexpected emergencies:
- Sun Protection: Your windshield protects you from the wind but not the sun. Always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, and pack a comfortable pair of sunglasses with UV protection for your eyes. Store the sunglasses near the driver’s seat for easy access.
- Clothing: Always pack the proper clothing for the weather conditions you will encounter. Wear layers, so that you can peel them off as the day warms up and put them on again in the evening. In addition, we recommend that you keep a warm hat, gloves, and a blanket in your truck at all times, just in case.
- Medication: If you regularly take any medications, be sure to pack an adequate supply. You may struggle to find a pharmacy in your insurance network on the road.
- First-Aid Kit: Keep a fully stocked first aid kit aboard your rig in case of emergencies.
If you want to know how to stay healthy on the road, take a long, hard look at your diet. Many truckers fail to eat a well-balanced diet on the road due to a lack of time or energy, so you need to prepare carefully before you drive off. Instead of giving in to the temptation to stop at fast-food joints along your route, pack a cooler with fresh foods from home or stop at grocery stores along the way. If you have room, you could even bring along a small propane grill, a single-burner stove, or a crock-pot to prepare home-cooked meals on the road.
We encourage you to embrace the following tips for healthy eating as well:
- Eat smaller amounts of food more frequently.
- Avoid fatty and sugary foods.
- Load up on vegetables and protein.
- Keep a few healthy snacks within reach.
- Drink plenty of water.
Keeping physically fit while on the road is tremendously important. Medical researchers claim that the negative effects of sitting can only be reversed by standing and doing some minimal exercise at least once every four hours. This is not always possible on long hauls, but if you make it a point to do some stretches and simple calisthenics, such as jumping jacks, sit-ups, or push-ups, every time you get out of your truck, it will go a long way toward maintaining your health. The following tips can also help you stay fit:
- Bring a dumbbell or kettlebell to do some lifts when possible.
- Always pack running shoes and workout clothes so you can exercise at truck stops or nearby parks.
- Sit with proper posture while driving.
- Use YouTube videos for on-the-go workout routines.
Finally, get a good night’s sleep every night (or day, depending on your schedule). Make the most of your required downtime. If you struggle to fall asleep (or stay asleep) in hotel rooms, bring along whatever you need to relax and unwind. For example, some people find that a particular pillow, a brand of tea, a fan, a good book, or a sound therapy recording (ocean waves, raindrops, white noise) helps them fall asleep at night.
Staying healthy on the road requires commitment and willpower. Temptations abound, from the glowing M of the McDonald’s sign to the TV in your hotel room. Keep the tips above in mind as you prepare for your next drive, and remember that your choices now will affect your health for years to come.
Are you interested in becoming a truck driver? You can learn everything you need to know at the Truck Dynasty Driving Academy, a professional truck driver training program that involves 160 clock hours and four weeks of professional driver training. In addition, current drivers can use the refresher course to sharpen and develop their skills. To get started, please give us a call at 417-831-8188, e-mail us at [email protected], or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!