Truck drivers, especially those who drive for days and weeks at a time, can face health problems due to their job. They spend hours a day sitting in a truck, dealing with the stressors on the road. They may not get enough sleep, especially if they are just sleeping on the side of the road. After time, all of this can really affect a person.
That being said, not only are you dealing with health issues, you may be facing a problem that could hurt your chances to continue driving. For this reason, it is important to know about different health risks that you are prone to so that you can take good care of yourself while you are out on the road.
Obesity and Low Physical Activity
Many truck drivers don’t get enough exercise because they spend hours behind the wheel. Some of them even sleep in their truck, so they can spend days in their commercial truck without a break. They may only get out of their vehicle a few times a day for short periods of time. Because of this, they aren’t getting enough exercise and may quickly put on some weight.
What does this mean for you?
Though obesity itself is a problem, the truth is that it can cause a lot of other problems. Sedentary truck drivers may also be facing the following health concerns due to their lifestyle:
- Problems with your heart
- High cholesterol
- Trouble sleeping
- And much more
What can you do about it?
Truck drivers do not have to be sedentary and overweight. Here are some ways to stay healthy on the road.
- Stay hydrated. Too many truck drivers live on caffeine and energy drinks. However, this isn’t healthy. You need to carry water with you at all times and make sure that you turn to water instead of soda when you are feeling thirsty.
- Eat a balanced diet. Truck drivers are also known to eat on the go, stopping at fast food joints, convenience stores, and small diners to get their nourishment. However, you should do your best to carry healthy food and snacks with you. You can carry fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy snacks, instead of potato chips.
- Find ways to get out of your commercial vehicle during the day. If you don’t have time to get a good walk in, you are going to have to find ways to incorporate exercise into your life. When you are sitting at a truck stop, get out and walk around. Use this time to get your blood flowing through your whole body. If you are fueling up, take a few extra minutes to walk around your truck and trailer a few times. If you are sleeping on the road, try to find a safe place where you can at least move around a little bit before you call it a night.
- Try to get enough sleep. Though it can be hard to sleep on the road, it is important that you get between six and eight hours of sleep a night. You need this to stay focused to get yourself through the day.
Smoking is quite common in commercial truck drivers. Many smoke to combat fatigue on the road. They say that smoking helps to keep them focused while they are driving.
What does this mean for you?
Smoking increases your risk of:
- Cancer. Though you may think that they are more likely to have lung cancer, the truth is that smokers are at a higher risk for many types of cancer, including bladder, cervix, colon, kidneys, and much more.
- Heart disease
What can you do about it?
The first thing that you should do is quit smoking. Here are some tips to help:
- Don’t do it alone. People who have support when they are quitting smoking are a lot more successful than those that do not. Make sure that your family and friends are behind you. You may need to distance yourself from those who smoke around you. Joining a support group can also be very beneficial.
- Get rid of all temptations. You need to get rid of your last cigarettes, so you aren’t tempted to grab them in a moment of weakness. If you typically smoke while doing something (like hanging out with certain friends or while drinking), you may have to distance yourself from that for a while.
- Find new ways to deal with stress. Many people pick up cigarettes when they are stressed, so you are going to have to find something else. Take a walk, call a friend, or scream into a pillow. You just need to find something that works for you!
If you smoke to keep yourself focused while on the road, you may also want to try the following:
- Get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, nothing will keep you awake and focused.
- Eat smaller meals more often. Eating one or two big meals can affect your metabolism, making you tired during the day. If you eat more often, you can help your blood sugar stay steady.
- Keep the cab cooler. If you are too warm, your body is going to want to go to sleep. Crack your windows open to bring in fresh air. In the summer, you may want to crank the air conditioning, so that you are colder and more likely to stay awake.
- Turn the radio up. If you find yourself getting sleepy, you may want to turn the radio up. It may also help to pick music that is faster. Some drivers do better with music that they can sing along to.
- Call someone. If it is late, and you find yourself feeling groggy, you may want to call someone to talk to while you drive.
Many truck drivers deal with health problems due to their sedentary lifestyle. They may also pick up smoking to stay awake and to help them deal with all the stress that they deal with on a regular basis. However, if you know about all of this, you can find ways to stay healthy and deal with stress, while living on the road. Eat as healthy as you can and take breaks to walk around to get your blood pumping. Quit smoking if you already have this habit. If you are struggling to stay focused, you may need to crack the window or turn up the AC. You might even want to call someone to help you stay awake.
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