How Truck Drivers Can Remain Healthy While on the Road

March 1, 2022

How Truck Drivers Can Remain Healthy While on the Road

Learn about the best exercises and healthy habits to incorporate into life on the road as a truck driver.

Staying healthy on the road can be difficult. Many truck drivers rely on quick meals from fast food restaurants as well as lots of caffeinated beverages when driving. Maintaining healthy habits can help you live a longer and happier life, and with these tips you can absolutely stay mentally and physically fit while driving full time. 

Small Changes and Big Results

It’s a myth that exercise and healthy habits have to be all-or-nothing. Every extra step you walk and every french fry that you replace with a carrot stick makes a difference. You don’t need to spend an hour at a gym every day or every week to get and stay healthy. There are lots of things you can do in 5–15 minute increments when you’re at a truck stop.

Take a Walk

Walking has a ton of proven health benefits, and it requires almost no equipment. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and a place to park your rig.

  • Start slow – If you’re just starting to add exercise to your routine, make sure to take it easy at first. Start with only walking for 5 to 10 minutes on a flat surface. You can build up your time over the course of a few weeks.
  • Maintain good posture – Swing your arms, keep your head up, back straight, and abs tight.
  • Carry water – Always take a bottle of water when you go for a walk. Even if you’re only walking for five minutes it’s better to bring a bottle with you than get thirsty and find that you’re farther from your truck than you thought.
  • Protect your skin – Always wear a hat and sunscreen when you’re walking during the day.
  • Stay safe – Walking is great because you can basically do it anywhere you can park your truck. Just make sure to stay out of the way of traffic, wear a high-visibility vest or accessories (if walking at or near dark), and keep at least one ear free of headphones.

Do Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are another great way to get and stay fit without needing to pack tons of equipment. Remember to start slowly and build up reps and sets over time. Even five reps twice a week will make a shocking difference to your overall fitness.

  • Push-Ups -Push-ups are a great exercise to engage multiple muscle groups. And there are tons of variations you can do based on your fitness and comfort level. For beginners, start by doing push-ups against a wall instead of lying on the ground. If you’re more advanced, you can do clapping push-ups, wide push-ups, and more.
  • Sit-Ups - Like push-ups, there are seemingly endless variations of sit-ups. For these you might want to have a yoga mat  so you’re not lying down on asphalt. Beginners can do regular sit-ups or crunches. If you’re more advanced you can add weighted medicine balls or do side crunches, V-ups, or your favorite variation.
  • Squats - Squats are also good for engaging multiple muscle groups, and they are a great way to breathe life into legs that are tired or numb from sitting in a semi cab all day. Beginners can do standard squats. More advanced variations include adding weight, sumo squats, goblet squats, and pistol squats.

Eat Healthy

Fast food is easy and convenient, but let’s face it, it’s not always healthy. And it gets expensive to buy every meal or snack from a truck stop or diner.
  • Switch chips and chocolate for granola bars, nuts, fruits, and veggies.
  • Protein helps you feel full and won’t make you tired, so stock up on deli meats and protein bars.
  • Plan your meals so you don’t get caught up by hunger and end up choosing something easy and greasy.
  • Replace soda with water at least once a day.

Get Enough Sleep

Driving tired is as dangerous as driving drunk. So stay safe and make sure you get enough sleep. Investing in a good eye pillow or a windshield sun shade will improve the quality of your sleep. And if you can, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule so your body can maintain its internal clock and you can fall asleep faster and wake up refreshed.

Maintain Mental Health

Mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health, but it’s easy to forget to take care of that aspect of health. Driving a truck full time can be lonely, even if you only do regional work. Below are some tips to help you stay mentally healthy.

  • Meditate – You can get the benefits of meditation even if you only do it for a few minutes. The sense of calm, peace, and balance can help you combat the stresses of life on and off the road.
  • Stay in Touch – Driving all day without anyone to talk to can be hard. Use that time to call your loved ones and check in with them. Staying connected while you’re away will be good for both of you.
  • Focus on Gratitude – Keeping a small gratitude journal can help you focus on positive things in your life, and it can help reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and even help you sleep better.

With small changes like these, you can stay mentally and physically healthy while on the road. And you don’t need a lot of equipment or time to do so. Remember to set yourself up for success and start small. Make goals that are easy to achieve, and then increase them as you get stronger and the habits get easier to maintain.

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