As a trucker, you know that the life of a trucker can be rewarding and full of adventure, but it can also be a lonely occupation consisting of weeks away from home and healthy living can often take a backseat. Due to the inactivity and poor diet that is often associated with becoming a long haul trucker, many truckers are prone to variety of health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. As a result of such health problems, most truckers have a greater risk of being injured on the job.
According to OSHA, some of the most common injuries that lead to a workers’ compensation claim in the trucking industry include strains, sprains, fractures, and multiple traumatic injuries; maybe you’ve been injured once or twice. As a trucker, your occupation is your livelihood and an injury, bad enough to be laid off from work, can make for an uncertain future. While you should always take care of yourself when injured, it’s a difficult decision to make when money and a career may be on the line.
Ways to stay fit on the road
Anyone that has been on a long road trip knows the toll it can take on the body. Tension builds up in the back and shoulders, the neck becomes sore, a headache may begin, knees begin to ache, and the backside may start to lose feeling. Regular roadtrippers may find that they need to take multiple breaks and stretch out at every stop, but as a truck driver (who faces these aches and pains everyday for weeks on end) you often feel the pressure of a tight deadline and may take fewer stops than the normal traveler.
Here are some ways to keep in shape, prevent injuries, and stay healthier overall, without sacrificing any deadlines:
Get 15 Minutes in Every Day: Every fellow trucker will agree that it’s hard to find time to workout while on the road, but a good starting point is by dedicating at least 15 minutes of activity every day. Whether you’re walking at a brisk pace around a parking lot or do a combination of cardio pumping jumping jacks and lunges, put in your 15 every day.
Track Your Fitness & Meals: If you’re trying to work off the spare tire or trying to avoid one, downloading a fitness tracking app (like MyFitnessPal) can help you be more mindful of what you eat while on the road. It can get boring while on the road and it’s easy to fill the void with food, but that food (especially when not paired with activity) can add up quickly.
Choose Healthy over Fast: Although food can be your enemy when traveling for long stretches, it’s important to make the most of it. Never skip breakfast and try to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day (don’t forget to track your calories). Make sure you have some healthy snack options on hand just in case there’s only fast food options for miles.
Exercise for Strength and Core: You don’t need to track down the local Y to get in some strength training. If you keep your core (everything except for your arms and legs) strong, you’re less likely to get hurt on the job. Try resistance bands exercises, which are great for preventing back pain, or challenge yourself to a 90 second plank. You can even stash away a few dumbbells to change up your workout.