Seven Tips for Truck Drivers to Stay Healthy on the Road
Staying physically healthy is important for anyone’s overall well-being, but as a truck driver it can be hard to balance hours on the road and prioritizing your health. We’ve rounded up seven tips for staying healthy on the road:
Get enough sleep.
A great day starts with a good night’s rest. A study by Harvard Medical School indicates that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. A sleep-deprived person has the inability to focus – making driving long distances difficult. Every body is different, but try getting the optimal 7-8 hours of sleep each night to keep your body healthy. Having trouble falling asleep? Limit your caffeine intake before bedtime to make falling asleep easier. In addition, a white noise machine or the right pillow for your sleeping style can make all of the difference in the world.
Eat the right foods.
As the saying goes: “you are what you eat.” Eating less processed foods and more fruits and veggies can help you lose weight, boost your immune system, and sleep more soundly. Instead of fast food, try packing healthy snacks or meals. However, sometimes eating out is the only option. In that case, Driving Healthy has fast food guides and other resources to help you make an informed choice.
Drink plenty of water.
Switch out sugary drinks for water. Your body needs water to stay healthy. Having a reusable water bottle that is big enough for you to sip throughout the drive is a great way to get water in throughout the day. Drinking water can help regulate your body temperature, cushion your joints, and helps flush your body of toxins. Water can also come from some hydrating foods, like watermelon, celery, and cucumbers. Not a fan of tap water? Try sparkling water to make the switch from soda pop and sugar drinks easier.
Your body needs to move to stay healthy. While you probably don’t have a weight room on the road, sneaking in some exercise every day will contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Try walking around a rest stop for 30 minutes or doing some quick bodyweight exercises. Physical activity helps control weight, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and strengthens muscles. If you are just starting to exercise, consult your doctor and start small, then build up to longer times and higher intensity. Sitting for long periods of time can strain your muscles, so make sure to stretch at every stop.
Reduce your stress.
Being on the road long hours and sitting in heavy traffic can be very stressful, especially when you’re trying to make a deadline. The American Psychological Association has found a link between chronic stress and physical health. Chronic stress can lead to disease or bad habits such as overeating and smoking. Try some relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation or indulge in some relaxing foods – green tea and honey are shown to reduce stress levels. Here’s some easy ways to relax.
Talk to your friends and family.
Physical health is not the only important thing – you also need to be emotionally happy to be healthy. Being on the road for long periods of time can leave you missing your loved ones back home. Make sure to dedicate some time to giving your family a call and when you’re home, make an effort to spend time with your friends. Strong social connections not only give you an emotional support system to rely on, but it also can boost longevity. Most smart phones now also allow you to video phone (e.g. Skype, FaceTime) so you can see your loved ones in addition to hearing their voices. As always, be smart and stay safe: Don't use your phone while driving.
Wash your hands.
As simple as this one seems, it's important to remember, especially when you’re on the road using the same public facilities thousands of other travelers have used. If someone has the cold or flu, it can be easy to catch. Washing or sanitizing your hands regularly can be the difference between having a miserable runny nose and feeling great. Have bottle of hand sanitizer in your truck for those times when the soap dispenser is out of order.
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