It’s no secret that a major part of being a truckload carrier are the long hours behind the wheel. We often focus on how to maximize this time — staying awake and alert to safely deliver the goods and materials to the final destination.
However, there’s a byproduct of this unavoidable work condition. Long hours spent sitting can have a wide range of negative health effects:
- Sore back
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
- And more
These can become quite serious and have very noticeable impacts on a driver’s life. The good news is that it is possible to work as a truckload carrier and mitigate these negative health effects that come as a result of long hours behind the wheel.
Here are six ways truckload carriers can diminish the negative health effects from sitting for long periods of time:
- Sit Up Straight While Driving
- Stretch During Stops
- Exercise When Possible
- Eat Well
- Avoid Smoking
- Get a Good Amount of Sleep
1. Sit Up Straight While Driving
Back problems are one of the main drawbacks to sitting in the seat of a truck for long periods of time. However, a little attention to your posture will go a long way to prevent the development of chronic back pain issues.
Many people find themselves hunching toward the steering wheel as they drive. This puts your spine in an unnatural shape and creates issues over time.
Likewise, you shouldn’t be leaning too far back either. Try to sit with your shoulders centered over your hips. Placing a pillow, blanket, or even a sweatshirt between your lower back and your seat can help align your spine in the driver’s seat.
2. Stretch During Stops
Long hours are going to be rough on your body even if you hold the best possible posture throughout the drive. Use your time out of the truck to condition your body and help reduce the negative effects of these long hours.
You don’t need to do a full yoga routine in the parking lot of a truck stop, but any stretching can help alleviate back pain. Pay attention to where the pain is located and try to find a movement that addresses that area.
- Touch your toes
- Bring your knees to your chest
- Keep your hips still and rotate your torso
- Roll your head in a circle to stretch your neck
3. Exercise When Possible
Back pain is not the only risk you run with long hours on the road. Obesity creates a large amount of potential health issues, and sitting all day long is the perfect condition for weight gain.
Your time outside the truck should also be used to get your heart rate up. Try jogging around the parking lot. Bring a jump rope along with you and put some time in while you fuel up.
Try to get a half hour of exercise every day. Even fifteen minutes of exercise would be beneficial, but a half hour would be ideal. This will not only reduce your likelihood of contracting the many illnesses associated with weight gain, it will also make you feel better.
4. Eat Well
The other side of that same concern is your diet. It’s very easy to fall into negative eating habits on the road — snacking throughout the day, unhealthy meals, and so on. However, these small moments of enjoyment from eating unhealthy foods will add up to long-term issues.
Prepare for this by bringing healthy food choices along with you. If you feel the need to snack, eat some fruit. And when you stop off for a meal, try to make the most health-conscious choice you can.
It will be tempting to retreat to comfort food, but healthy food will fuel you throughout your day instead of weighing you down — figuratively and literally.
5. Avoid Smoking
Truckload carriers have a lot of time to kill on the road. And some view smoking as an activity they can do while in the truck. We all know about the health risks associated with smoking, but that’s not always enough to keep us from doing it.
Sitting in your truck all day already has a host of potential health risks. And smoking makes all of these health risks even more dangerous. It’s best to simply avoid adding this to the risks associated with long hours spent sitting.
6. Get a Good Amount of Sleep
It might seem weird, but the amount of sleep you get at night has a huge effect on your overall health. Your body needs this rest to efficiently carry out its daily processes.
Make it a point to get eight hours of sleep every night. And if that’s not possible, shoot for a minimum of seven hours. Click here to read our tips on how to get better sleep while out on the road.