In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) interviewed more than 1,200 truck drivers to assess their risk levels for various health and medical conditions, injuries, and workplace safety issues. The results were released in 2014 and highlighted some serious health concerns, including:
- Truckers were twice as likely to become obese and smoke than other workers in the U.S.
- 3 out of 4 male truckers and 4 out of 5 female truckers did not exercise for 30 or more minutes a day.
- Truck drivers were twice as likely to have diabetes than other U.S. workers.
For anyone familiar with the lifestyle of many truckers, this isn’t shocking news. Unfortunately, a diet of high-fat truck stop meals and a largely sedentary lifestyle sets many truckers up for health conditions that could put their livelihoods on the line. Medical card renewal gets more and more difficult the further a driver’s health deteriorates.
5 Ways Truckers Can Stay Health on the Road
1. Walk for at least 30 minutes every day.
That may sound impossible when you’re racing across country to reach your next destination, but every trucker can commit to just a half hour of movement each day. If necessary, break it up into 10- or 15-minute walks throughout the day. Each time you stop at a rest area, take a walk. When you fuel up, take a walk. Eating or showering? Get those feet moving.
2. Eliminate sugar as much as possible.
Sugar heightens your risk for diabetes and obesity. It’s also bad for your teeth and can leave you in an energy slump. There are a variety of sugar-free foods on the market right now, including zero sugar sodas. If you really want something sweet, go for fresh fruit because it contains natural sugars plus a lot of healthy vitamins.
3. Put down the cigarettes.
Research has proven that vaping is healthier than smoking and may help many people give up tobacco. If you go that route, keep in mind that vaping isn’t entirely healthy due to the chemicals inhaled into the lungs. If you can find another route to stop smoking, it will improve your overall health if sustained.
4. Drink more water to improve hydration.
Many people are dehydrated but don’t realize it. You may think you’re hungry at times, but the real problem is dehydration. Drivers can improve everything from the condition of their skin to regularity in the bathroom by drinking more water. One strategy for success is to drink a bottle of water for every soda, juice, or other drink consumed. There are many flavored waters that make this health goal easy today.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
This one is easy to achieve because most truck stops now sell fresh fruit in addition to candy bars and chips. Drivers should focus on using fresh fruit as snacks and adding vegetables to their meals as often as possible.
Every little lifestyle change will contribute to a healthier body that looks and feels lighter and more energetic. Let’s take off the pounds and feel better, drivers!