Truck driving has a lot going for it; the pay can be good, and there’s nothing like the freedom of the open road. It does have its drawbacks, however. Being stuck in a cab for hours on end, eating fatty foods, and enduring periods of loneliness can all take a toll on truck driver health.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to stay healthy while driving a truck, including:
1. Regular exercise – This, along with a proper diet, is crucial to preventing obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other ailments that commonly affect truck drivers. Of course, truckers rarely have access to gyms or exercise equipment – although more and more truck stops are beginning to add them. But that need not stop you from doing basic exercises that will keep you in good overall health.
2. Muscle strengthening – Pushups require very little space, and you can buy special handgrips that make them easier on your wrists. A lot of drivers do a daily regimen of pushups, sit-ups, and squats/deep knee bends. Those three basic exercises, which most of us did in high school, can be all you need to stay strong and fit. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
3. Aerobic exercises – Of course, in order to get the maximum benefit, you should add some form of aerobic exercise to the mix. This can be more difficult to accommodate than muscle-building exercises for long-haul truckers, but with a little creativity, it can usually be accomplished. Several minutes of swift walking around the property of a rest stop may be all you need. Find out which truck stops have treadmills or exercise bikes and make a point of refueling there when possible. If all else fails, running in place offers great benefits as well.
4. Proper diet – What tastes better than a plate of chicken fried steak smothered in gravy, followed up by a giant slice of your favorite pie? The answer is simple: nothing. Let’s be honest, fatty foods taste delicious. But if we overindulge in them, there’s a heavy price to pay in terms of one’s waistline, cholesterol levels, and even life expectancy. Fortunately truck stops offer items like salads, low-fat soups, grilled chicken dishes, and others that taste wonderful, yet are lower in saturated fat and calories. Another option is to enroll in one of those meals-through-the-mail programs advertised on TV. The food gets shipped to your house, there’s no need for mixing or measuring, and in many cases a microwave is the only cooking device involved.
5. See a health care professional – This can be difficult when you’re a thousand miles from home, as most doctor’s offices don’t offer parking for tractor-trailers. The good news is this situation is changing – thanks to the trend towards opening clinics in department stores, pharmacy chains, and other locations that truckers can access. These clinics are staffed either by physicians, doctor’s assistants, or highly trained nurses, and they are equipped with a full range of medical equipment. Plus, it’s easier than ever for health care workers to see your medical records, since more and more of them are being converted to electronic formats. And of course, some of the larger truck stops have dentists, chiropractors, and even doctors on site nowadays to help ensure truck driver health. So take advantage of these services while on the road.
6. A healthy mind and a healthy body go together – Unfortunately, long-distance drivers often pay a price in terms of loneliness, depression, or low self-esteem. If you find yourself feeling lonely or depressed while on the road, the first step is to get an examination. You might benefit from antidepressant medication. There are also toll-free numbers you can call to speak to counselors, as well as websites where you can talk with one over the Internet. If you are a religious person, hundreds of truck stops hold services for drivers every week. Some even have a full-time chaplain on staff. Use these options if they will help you to feel better.
It’s very improtant to live healthy as a truck driver.
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