Living a healthy lifestyle in the trucking industry is no easy task. A conducted survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that more than half of long-haul truckers are smokers and 70% are obese. Many truckers get very little physical exercise and less than 6 hours of sleep. Because of this lifestyle, truckers are at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. To reduce the risk of chronic health problems, truckers should incorporate some healthier habits into their daily routines.
One of the challenges drivers face is the lack of easy access to healthy food options. Because of limited parking space at most restaurants, truckers are forced to rely on truck stops for most of their meals. Truck Stops tend to offer a wide variety of candy, potato chips, and supersized sodas. Their restaurants typically serve foods that are high in calories, fat, and sodium. While eating healthy on the road may seem impossible, developing healthy eating habits is achievable. Here are a few tips for healthy eating on the road.
- If you have access to a mini-refrigerator in your cabin, keep it stocked with healthy food items such as fruits, veggies, hummus, and dark chocolate.
- Prepare meals ahead of time using a crockpot is another option to curb your urge to grab quick, unhealthy options at truck stops.
- Swapping soda for water as often as possible is an important step. When you drink sugars rather than eating them, your body thinks it is still hungry. Water will help you stay full longer so you’re less likely to reach for that king-size candy bar later.
- Pay attention to proportion size. Eating 5 small meals a day is more beneficial than eating three larger meals. Eating smaller portions more often helps drivers stay awake and alert. Large meals can make you feel sluggish and tired and less likely to pay attention to the road and your surroundings.
Adding physical activity into your day may also seem challenging while on the road. Regular exercise increases energy, improves mental function, and can reduce health risks. Here a few things truckers can do to increase the amount of physical activity each day.
- Walking is an easy exercise include cardio into your daily routine. While waiting to pick up loads, take a walk. Park further away from truck stops and facilities to add extra steps each day. Every step counts!
- Smaller exercise equipment such as Dumbbells, Kettlebells, and Resistance bands can be used easily inside even the smallest truck cabins.
- Increasingly, truck stops are adding fitness centers in their terminals. When possible, locate one of these locations on your route and take advantage of their fitness equipment during breaks and time off.
These tips can not only improve the health and fitness of truckers but can also increase driver alertness and improve safety on our roadways.