Anyone who’s ever taken a road trip knows that staying healthy on the road can be a challenge. When your life is the road, staying healthy may feel next to impossible. Irregular schedule, unpredictable traffic, long hours, extended periods of inactivity, and limited meal options make living a healthy lifestyle a challenge. While it’s tough to accumulate Fitbit steps when you’re buckled in, we have a few common-sense tips and resources to help you stay well and focus on the road ahead.
Our economy depends on the essential work that long-haul truckers perform. Think of it this way: if our roads and highways are the nation’s arteries, then truckers are blood that flows in those veins, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the country’s body. With that in mind, consider this sobering information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Truck drivers have a greater chance for many chronic diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity compared to U.S. adult workers. In 2012, the rate for nonfatal injuries in heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was three times greater than the rate for U.S. adult workers.”
10 Great Health Tips for Truck Drivers
Tip 1: Drink Lots of Water
Believe it or not, truck drivers should drink more water than the average person. Rather than guzzling your 64+ ounces in one or two stops, consider sipping your intake throughout the day. This will help level out bathroom stops and reduce the urge to drink sugary, calorie-laden beverages.
Tip 2: Ditch the Soda
Those convenient Big Gulp-style soda containers that are so ingeniously shaped to fit into your cup holder? They’re pretty awful. Those 28-ounces may be packed with caffeine, but they’re also weighed down with 91g of sugar. That’s more than three times the recommended maximum for women and more than double the maximum recommended amount for men. Grab an unsweetened cup of coffee and load up on water instead.
Tip 3: Make Time for Yourself and Your Community
Take some inspiration from a 72-year-old trucker, Ron Kline. With 52 years of service and perfect attendance under his belt (that 18,980 days, in case you were curious), the outgoing driver for Mansfield plumbing has been married for 52 years and, according to American Trucker, has been “actively involved in his community his entire life. He coached basketball and softball at the high school level for decades and is a member of the Mohican Area Community Fund.”
Tip 4: Listen to Your Body
Earlier this month, the industry broke the tragic news of a young trucker, Vadim Kondratyuk Anatoliyevich who died from a tooth infection that spread to his lungs. When your body speaks, listen!
Tip 5: Avoid the Drive-Through
This one shouldn’t be too tough since it’s hard to cruise through a drive-through when you’re behind the wheel of your commercial truck, but you get the idea. Instead of relying on fast food for each and every meal, pack some simple, homemade easy-to-eat sandwiches, grain bowls, healthy pastas, and lots of pre-washed fruits and vegetables. Not only will you save serious cash, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your new diet becomes your everyday lifestyle. If you’re used to eating Dunkin’ in the morning, the King at lunch, and ringing the Bell for dinner, plan on replacing just one meal a day. Easy does it.
Tip 6: Not All Fast Food is Created Equal
No one’s going to deny that McDonald’s makes a mean burger and that Arby’s curly fries aren’t off the hook. But they’re gut bombs. Instead, check out the Market Fresh sandwiches at Arby’s, the chicken burrito bowl at Chipotle, or the turkey and avocado sub at Subway. It takes some willpower, but just say no to the value meal option and pack some bananas and apples in your cab.
Tip 7: Exercise Every Single Day
Don’t be a prisoner to your truck. Instead of parking as close as you possibly can to the rest area’s doors, park as far as you possibly can. Walk briskly to your destinations and take an extra lap or two around the travel plaza. Or, each time you stop for a break, touch your toes a few times, do some sit-ups, and crank out 25 jumping jacks. There’s nothing wrong with old-school calisthenics. Every little bit helps.
Tip 8: Start Snacking
Pack lots of celery, carrots, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, apples, oranges, pears, almonds, and pretzels. Eating fiber-rich foods every couple of hours not only passes the time, but it keeps your metabolism going, is great for your heart, teeth, and bones, and prevents you from overeating when you do stop for a less-than-perfect meal.
Tip 9: Sleep!
It can be hard to develop sleep habits when your schedule is irregular and unpredictable. If you can, try to squeeze in 8 solid hours every day. Don’t be afraid to pull out the stops: earplugs, night masks, and white noise machines can be lifesavers and be sure to limit screen time before bedtime.
Tip 10: Toss Back a Multivitamin
If you access to a varied diet is limited, consider a high-quality supplement. Look for one that’s gender-specific and high in Vitamin C, D, B vitamins, and omega-3.
Contact Beacon Transport to learn more about joining our team or to share your tips for on-the-road health.