In 2014 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study regarding the health and injury of long haul truck drivers.
26 % of those surveyed reported suffering from Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
69% are reportedly Obese
27% reported No Physical Activity for 30 minutes or longer
27% get 6 hours or less of sleep each night
According to the CDC the average lifespan for a long haul trucker is only 61 years of age.
The U.S. Economy and our way of life depend heavily upon the U.S. Trucking system. But what we sometimes fail to remember is how important the health and wellness of the truck driver.
Truck drivers sit for long periods of time, unable to get enough exercise, aside from the occasional leg stretch. The diet of the average American Trucker may consist of fast foods and any delicacy they may come across during the short visit to the local truck stop. Generally speaking this could be due to the quick timelines needed to get the product to its desired destinations, or it could just be lack of knowledge.
Lets’ discuss some of the possible healthier options available to truck drivers.
Ways to eat healthier:
Eat a larger breakfast, this helps to avoid binge eating on junk food all day long.
Skip the fast food restaurants. Stop at local supermarket instead. Supermarkets sell pre-packaged fruits and veggies that are perfect for eating on the go.
Eat higher protein and less carbs. Be especially careful of this at night. Carbs are a source of energy, and when you are unable to burn off the excess energy it can result in blood sugar spikes, excess belly fat, generalized fatigue and insomnia. You can still eat your favorite foods; just make sure you are adding more veggies to your plate. Eat the veggies first, then eat the fruits after that make your way to your food of choice. Soon you will find yourself filling on the veggies, therefore craving less of the not so healthy choices.
Of course the best way to ensure you eat healthy foods, is to avoid the fast food and make your own! At one time this was an impossible feat. However, with modern technology, this is no longer the case. There are several budget friendly cooking items designed for use on the go; some of which even plug into your vehicle charger.
Now that you have addressed your diet and decided to eat a bit healthier, lets’ talk about ways to get more exercise (Both in and Out of the Truck).
While in the truck:
Sit up tall. Engage core, bring the bellybutton to spine. Roll thighs toward each other and roll the shoulders back & down.
These actions will reduce low back pain, but more importantly they will help you build the low back muscles. This is also a great time to practice breathing exercises. Breathe deeply in through the nose, and exhale through the nose. This will not only help with stress reduction, but your overall health.
When you come to a stop light, maybe you try one of these next 2 exercises:
Outside of truck:
Take advantage of every opportunity when getting out of your truck.
When you stop to fill your tank, make some laps around the parking lot.
Try some standing push-ups. Place your hands on the grill of your truck, just in front of your shoulders. Take a 2 or 3 steps back. Slowly, bend the elbows and lower your torso towards the truck.
Don’t forget the squats! These should be done as a low lunge, or as a full squat. To do a full squat, simply place your feet a little wider than hips distance and lower the hips towards the ground. Be very careful if you have weak knees.
To take the pressure off your lower back, do a forward fold. Take the feet hip distance apart, very slowly fold the torso towards the ground. Let the spine decompress. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. When you are ready slowly bring the torso back to a neutral position. Repeat as much as necessary.
Most filling stations will have their pumps on a concrete pedestal. There are many ways to use this to your advantage.
With a few minor adjustments, you can increase your health, feel better, and enjoy the Semi-Truck Lifestyle.