Getting to see the country from outside your truck window is an opportunity unlike any other. However, with being a semi-truck driver, you have to be aware of the potential health outcomes that come along with a full-time driving career.
Siphiwe Baleka, former Prime Driver and creator of the Prime Driver Health and Fitness Program, has been quoted as saying that truck driving is “the most unhealthy occupation in America.” As with any job that requires sitting down all day, truck drivers are at risk for numerous health conditions as a result of their job conditions.
This doesn’t have to be the case, though. By making some minor lifestyle changes, truck drivers can easily sustain healthy lives. Read more and learn how you can keep yourself healthy even while working over-the-road.
The dangers of inactivity
For anyone, sitting around with no physical activity can be incredibly detrimental to your health. Due to the nature of over-the-road driving, truck drivers are at a higher risk for a number of health issues. One report found that 21% of truck drivers left their careers due to health issues, worsening the already growing shortage of truck drivers in the U.S.
A joint study by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found several more alarming statistics about the health of truck drivers:
- Increased rates of obesity and morbid obesity
- Drastically increased rates of current cigarette smoking
- Increased rates of self-reported diabetes
These health issues can lead to further problems down the road, like heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea and other diseases. In order to avoid these outcomes, it’s important to consider your health needs and truck driver fitness goals.
How can I stay fit?
Though the statistics may seem grim, many truckers are living healthy, productive lives. You can start by prioritizing some simple changes in your daily habits, like the ones listed below:
- Full workouts aren’t necessary. Not only that, full workouts probably aren’t reasonable for you. When you’re out on the road, you may not have two or three hours to find a place to exercise, pick a routine, shower and be on your way. Truck driver workouts should focus instead on getting 15 minutes of high intensity exercise a day. It’s suggested your heart rate stays at 75-85% of its maximum capacity during the duration of your exercise.
- Stick with healthy snacks.Before you head out on the road, pick up some snacks that won’t be a diet-killer. While candy bars and chips are easy to grab while on the road, consider pre-packaged fruits and vegetables or protein bars. You should snack once every three hours to encourage your metabolism to keep working.
- Low carbs, high protein.By lowering the amount of carbs you take in and raising your protein, you encourage weight loss and muscle building. Put this into practice by getting double meat instead of extra bread on a sandwich, for instance. This small change can help your body to stay full for longer and process food better.
- Get some sleep.Sleep deprivation has been connected to numerous health problems, including weight gain. While trucking can be a job where you’re working down to the wire, know that you have to stop at some point and sleep in order to be productive.
What are some exercises I can do?
There are several truck driver exercises that can help you stay fit even when you’re only working out for fifteen minutes. You may go for a jog around your truck, do some pushups in your cab or grab a jump rope from a supermarket for some quick cardio. These exercises, though brief, help give your metabolism the kick-start it needs.
Before going out and buying new exercise equipment, consider what you have around you. By using your body weight as resistance, you can create an easy truck driver workout that doesn’t cost a dime. Short workouts mean that time isn’t an excuse either.
Being a truck driver doesn’t have to mean having poor health. You can achieve a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a simple routine that improves your quality of life.
If you’re looking for a company that prioritizes the health of our truck drivers, contact Prime today or complete our online application.
Our recruiters will reach out to you shortly and discuss Prime’s many health initiatives to keep our truckers healthy and happy.