According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 70% commercial drivers are suffering from obesity.
Obesity, in turn, leads to numerous other health-related problems, including sleep apnea, diabetes, fatigue, and high blood pressure. Life on the road makes it difficult for commercial drivers to eat healthily and take care of themselves, but it is something that can’t be ignored for long.
Commercial driving is one of the toughest jobs, and drivers are more prone to health-related issues than people in other occupations. According to a survey by FMCSA, truck drivers are 2x more likely to suffer from obesity than the average working adult in America. Moreover, 14% of truck drivers have self-reported diabetes, and 38% of them are not covered by any health care insurance.
It’s a dangerous situation to be in.
The long hours spent on the road often lead to several health problems, such as:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Extreme fatigue
Fortunately, these issues can be prevented in time. In this blog post, we share a few tips that would help truck drivers stay healthy.
The same survey conducted by FMCSA reveals that approximately 51% truck drivers smoke cigarettes.
Since commercial driving can be a hectic and stressful job, drivers often resort to smoking to take the edge off. However, of course, it does more harm than good.
If you want to get healthy, you’ll have to quit smoking. During your breaks, instead of smoking, do a short exercise routine to take off the stress. You can do many workouts quickly, without the need of any fitness equipment. Even a brisk walk would help your body a lot.
Whatever you can do to keep yourself away from smoking would be a recommended option at this stage.
Say No to Candy Bars and Soda
The lack of easy access to inexpensive and healthy food is one of the biggest challenges drivers face. Truck stops have lots of items with high calorie and high sugar, such as candy bars and sodas. Stay away from them.
These are just items that are high in calorie and sugar, which only deteriorate your health and increase the probability of obesity and diabetes.
Never Skip Your Breakfast
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between obesity and skipping breakfasts. Approximately 22% people who skip their breakfasts get obese at some stage of their lives.
Eating breakfast jump-starts your day. If you are a commercial driver, it becomes all the more important for you to consume healthy breakfast that can fuel you for the rest of the day. You require energy to maintain the required level of attention and to keep fatigue and drowsiness at bay.
Start Your Day with Exercise
Starting your day by exercising is a healthy and recommended practice. Not only physical activities and exercises give you the perfect, energetic start you need for the day, they also prevent numerous diseases and set you towards a healthier lifestyle.
You may not even need to go to the gym. There are several exercises that you can do without any professional equipment.
Establish a 30-minute workout at the start of the day to keep yourself fit and healthy.
Pack Your Meals
As mentioned earlier, finding inexpensive and healthy food is one of the biggest challenges faced by commercial drivers on the road.
Instead of running out of options and buying junk food at truck stops, it is highly recommended to pack your own meals. Packing your food would help you keep track of how much you exactly eat every day. Since it’s a routine, it will help you be consistent.
More importantly, packing meals ensure that you do not eat junk food that has too many calories and sugar in them. There are numerous online resources that provide meal plans for free. Here is a quick rundown of what you can eat.
- Breakfast: whole-wheat bread toast with peanut butter, sliced bananas, and chia seeds.
- Snacks (on the road): apples, roasted almond nuts, baked sweet potatoes.
- Lunch (on the road): grilled chicken (preferably breast) with broiled french beans and potatoes. You may prepare a vinaigrette as your healthy sauce.
Making sure that you’re fit and healthy is the first step towards a long and fulfilling career. As commercial drivers have to be very responsible and alert on the road, a healthy mind and a healthy body have become essential aspects of the trucking job.
If you eat the right food that gives you energy, you won’t feel fatigued or drowsy while on the road — which is crucial because driver fatigue is often a major reason for road accidents. The core objective of the upcoming FMCSA’s ELD mandate is also to combat against driver fatigue and reduce road accidents.
Driving within your Hours-of-Service limit is another way to avoid driver fatigue. Download the KeepTruckin free elog app on Android or iOS to make sure you never go beyond the HOS limit. With alerts for upcoming HOS violations and e-logging your Hours of Service, you can focus on what you do best — driving.