There’s lots truck driver health advice floating around out there.
In fact, I’m sure most truckers are saturated with everyone giving their two cents worth what drivers SHOULD be doing to stay healthy.
Life on the road can become an all consuming lifestyle. Sadly, this lifestyle often reflects a lack of care for one’s own health. Truck drivers on average, due to their lifestyle, statistically have more health problems and shorter life spans than people in other careers.
Everything from lack of exercise, cramped work space to lung disease from diesel fumes are now proven to be connected to the lifestyle of a trucker.
Enough research is now confirmed about the health hazards of a trucking career to take preventative steps.
It often looks overwhelming and too difficult, so many don’t start or give up too soon…… Staying healthy and fit is very important for the trucker, but it must be a ‘permanent’ life style change.
In order for the change to be permanent, the ‘new habits’ must be formed slowly, within a comfort range for the individual.
For long term, permanent results, pick one or 2 things about your habits, lifestyle or diet that you’d like to change, and work on them.
When you feel you are making progress with them, then work on changing something else.
DON’T GIVE UP!
The following health tips and advice for truck drivers, are practical and easy to implement. Read each tip and think about a way to get as close to the goal as you can. Be creative!
My best advice is DO NOT GIVE UP and DO NOT GET FRUSTRATED.
Be proud of your health accomplishments, no matter how little they are. DO NOT compare yourself and goals to those of anyone else. You are unique and so are your needs, so set the bar for YOU! Do the best you can.
Here are some tips for the best truck driver health, that will benefit you for life.
Truck Driver Health and Wellness Tips
1. Drink water. So many health issues arise from dehydration. The body doesn’t give signals to ‘drink’ until it’s already in a state of ‘dehydration’… that’s when you are thirsty. Try to sip at your water all day long, rather than just drinking when you are thirsty. Drink the best ‘quality’ water you can find.
How much water to drink daily? Consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Eg. weight 170 lb. = 85 ounces….drink approx. 10 1/2 cups of water each day. Sounds like a lot, but work up to drinking this amount if you’re not already.
Tip: Keep a container with you always, to sip away throughout the day.
2. Eat Fruits & Vegetables. Eat as many as you’re able throughout the course of EVERY day. Not only do they contain lots of great vitamins and minerals for overall health, they help digestion, too. 5-10 per day is good, more is better.
Best nutrition and benefit: #1 Raw #2: Frozen #3Canned
Tip: Make a ‘shake’ or ‘smoothie’… an awesome way to get lots of ‘stuff’ you need into you!
3. Avoid Stimulants. Use of stimulants in our industry was once wide spread and commonplace. Time revealed stimulants took their toll on the health of professional drivers. Stimulants can range from coffee to energy drinks to cocaine. Avoid these substances. Their function is to give your mind and body short term artifical boosts of energy and alertness. Your body knows when rest is needed. Don’t try to bypass that need with stimulants.
4. Eat ‘Less Meat’. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but a ‘meat focused diet’, isn’t healthy. Find other protein sources such as certain vegetables, legumes and protein drinks. Tip: Gradually add ‘other protein’ sources to your diet.
5. Eat ‘Fewer Fatty Foods’. Ease up on the ‘junk’ like potato chips, chocolate bars, fries, burgers etc. They’ll plug up your arteries and cause lots of other problems too….fatty foods are a big reason for poor truck driver health. Find other healthy things you like to snack on. Tips: Walnuts, almonds, apples, whole grain crackers are decent snacks.
6. Take a ‘Green Shake’ daily. This is an excellent thing for truckers who don’t always have good restaurants for fresh fruits and veggies, and it’s super easy to do.
If you’ve never taken ‘greens’ before, start with just a very little amount and increase your daily dose up to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In a cup with a lid, add at least 8 oz+ of good quality water, your ‘greens powder’ and a scoop of protein powder too…. an EXCELLENT meal substitute when you simply don’t have the time to eat properly. This shake will give you energy and essential nutrients. (I’ll post a few recipes for these)
7. Sleep. Get sufficient sleep every night. 8 hours/night, regular bed time and rising times are a good idea. Proper rest is vital: regenerates the body and helps keep the mind sharp. Tip: Sleep in a ‘dark room’ or with a sleep mask to keep melatonin levels high.
8. Supplements. Take a high quality ‘multi-vitamin’ and vitamin C daily, at minimum. See a nutritional expert or naturopath for more specific supplements suited for your needs. Tip: Supplements are especially important for truck driver health, since it’s difficult finding good quality foods when on the road. Try to budget for supplements if you’re able.
9. Healthy weight. Find out what your weight should be and stick as close to it as you’re able. Being the right weight for your body type, height and bone structure is important for numerous reasons. Body composition is important too. Find a naturopath who can determine your water content, bone, fat and muscle composition. You can be an ideal weight, but perhaps be lacking in water and muscle.
10. De-stress, Relaxation Find ways to really relax and ‘de stress’ each day. This could be some favorite exercise or reading….. find things you can do to really let your brain ’empty out’…. and block out the world! Get out of the truck for breaks at least a few times each day, to avoid what the old time truckers called ‘white line fever’. Nothing de-stresses as well as blocks of time from work. It allows the driver to get away from the job and be with family and friends. You may think you can’t afford time off. But the truth is, you can’t afford not to. Tip: Even just 5-10 minutes each day is beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Set Health Goals Suited to Your Needs
Set some ‘realistic’ doable goals for your health. Don’t try to do everything you ‘should do’, all at once… you’ll become frustrated and set yourself up for failure.
Try mastering one thing at a time, eg. increasing your water intake over the course of several weeks…. maybe just something as simple as adding an ounce to the amount you drink everyday, until you reach your goal.
Good health for the truck driver IS possible. Be willing to change, but make the changes at your own pace.