Tips to Stay Healthy On the Road
Life on the open road can be a thrilling profession. But, if you’re not careful, it can also suck you into an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, it’s been estimated that truck drivers typically live a decade less than the average Canadian.
So, how do you beat the odds and stay healthy? Here are our top ten tips.
1. Cut the smoking habit.
You’ve already been told smoking causes lung cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease. But, did you know smokers typically die about ten years sooner than non-smokers? The long hours on the road can motivate truckers to reach for a cigarette; instead, choose a healthier method of stress relief.
2. Say no to daily fast food.
Grabbing a Big Mac at the next truck stop may be all too tempting, but making this a daily habit can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other health issues. A little bit of planning ahead can prevent this. For example, stock a mini-fridge with healthy meals or plan to stop at a grocery store to grab food for dinner. You might not get that temporary satisfaction of biting into a Big Mac, but your long term health and happiness will definitely increase.
3. Take an exercise break.
It’s estimated that obese people sit for 2.5 hours per day more than non-exercising lean people. The trucking lifestyle certainly doesn’t help your case. To fight against weight gain, make sure to walk around on all your breaks. Take a daily exercise break; if a gym isn’t available, lift hand weights, do cardio activities such as jumping jacks, or go on a run.
4. Choose healthy snacks.
Long hours of driving lead to boredom, and boredom leads to eating—even when you’re not hungry. Eating frequent snacks does keep your mind alert and your stomach satisfied, but choose healthy portions of nutritious snacks, like nuts, fruits and vegetables, and whole wheat crackers.
5. Maintain good posture.
Truck drivers are one of the most likely groups of people to experience back and neck pain. Although it may be tempting to slump in the driver’s seat, instead, keep your shoulders straight, your head upright, and your neck, back, and heels aligned.
6. Drink water.
Diet variety or no, soda is notoriously unhealthy. One 12-oz can of Coca Cola contains 140 calories and 39 g sugar—that’s almost twice the amount of sugar as a Ben & Jerry’s pint-sized ice cream! To quench your thirst, drink cold, refreshing, natural water. Water keeps you from overeating, energizes muscles, and helps all your body parts work correctly.
7. Stay in touch with family.
Don’t neglect your emotional health. If you’re worried about leaving your family for long periods of time, make sure to stay in touch through the phone, Skype, or Google Chat on your break times. Tell your family about your travels and ask your kids to look up pictures or information about the places you’ve been.
8. Get enough sleep.
A good night’s sleep doesn’t only help your focus on the road, but it also helps you feel healthier over all. A Stanford study found that college football players who slept 10 hours a night improved sprint time and experienced less fatigue.
9. Maintain your normal life habits.
The things that make you happy when you’re home can also make you happy on the road. Bring along hobbies with you, such as woodworking or crossword puzzles. Stop and go to church if that’s a normal practice for you (some truck stops even have chaplains available).
10. Keep your mind occupied.
Long hours can cause not only boredom, but also stress or anger. Instead, listen to books on CD, both fiction and nonfiction, and occupy your mind with new educational opportunities.
Finally, don’t let minor concerns get in the way of your peace of mind. If you find yourself in need of a new truck part, we’ll find it for you. Call us at 1-800-663-6460 and we’ll make your long trip a little easier.