If there’s one thing we know as lifelong truckers, it’s that there’s no shortage of truck driver health and wellness advice circulating the web. With everyone from their doctors to their overzealous uncles and aunts giving their two cents about what you as a driver SHOULD be doing to stay healthy, it’s often easier to simply tune their words out.
Life on the road can be hard and, more often than not, it can become an all-consuming lifestyle that can make it difficult to take care of one’s own health. On average, truck drivers statistically have more health problems and shorter life spans than people in other careers.
Combine all the usual suspects like lack of exercise, cramped work spaces, and lung disease from diesel fumes for a general picture of the less than ideal lifestyle of a trucker. On the plus side, enough research is now known about the potential health hazards of a trucking career to take effective preventative steps.
The team at Thunder Funding has put together a quick list of 5 health habits that you can adopt to take that first step towards long term health. Can’t do all 5 at once? Don’t worry about it! Pick one or two things about your habits, lifestyle, or diet that you'd like to change and stick with it. When you feel like you are making progress with them, work on improving another aspect of your lifestyle for the better.
1. Eat Your Fruits And Vegetables
Eat as many as you're able to throughout the course of EVERY single day. Not only do they contain lots of great vitamins and minerals for overall health, they aid in digestion, which is particularly handy when you’re on long hauls and want to stay regular. Try for at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and veggies every day. Can’t access fresh goodies on the go? Opt for the frozen or the canned variety. Dreading the potential mess that fruits and veggies can make in your car? Toss everything into a blender and turn it into a shake or a smoothie that you can sip on the road!
2. Put Down The Energy Drinks
We’re all guilty of binge drinking coffee and overly-sweet energy drinks -- especially on late night or long haul trips. However, studies have shown that prolonged use of stimulants can take a toll on the health of professional drivers. While these stimulants do give your mind and body short bursts of artificial energy and alertness, it doesn’t solve the real culprit for your fatigue. Your body knows when rest is needed, so don't try to bypass that need with stimulants. Go for a short, brisk walk, open your windows for fresh air, and rest whenever you get a chance at truck stops. Your body will thank you.
3. Eat Less Fatty Foods
Potato chips, candy bars, fries, burgers, donuts, and the like may be a fast and convenient meal option when you’re on the road... But, they’re no substitute for a healthy diet. The excessive amounts of saturated fats can block your arteries and interfere with heart function (for a start) and the empty calories go straight to your waistline, which can increase your chances for diabetes and other obesity-related ailments. Healthy Thunder Funding snacking alternatives include having the following goodies handy in your cab at all times: Almonds, apples, whole grain crackers, and low carb protein bars are all healthy, accessible snacks that even the busiest of truckers can manage to pack.
4. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Find out what your ideal 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: Joint stress, cardiovascular health, organ function, and more. Body composition is also extremely important. Find a fitness or medical professional 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 mass.
5. Find Your Own Brand Of Relaxation
Find ways to relax -- And, we mean REALLY unwind, de-stress, and unplug after every work day. Forms of relaxation that the team at Thunder Funding religiously employ include exercise, reading, and setting time aside for a healthy hobby. Your goal is to find things you can do to really let your brain rest! At the very least, find a good truck stop and get out of the cab for walking breaks at least a few times each day to avoid what truckers call “white line fever.” Even just 5-10 minutes each day is beneficial to your physical and mental health. Give it a try and you’ll see what we mean.
Be sure to check out our blog for more trucking industry news and trends from the team at Thunder Funding!