For most truckers, staying healthy while on the road is a very difficult thing. With an overabundance of junk food and soda in truck stops, combined with the typically sedentary lifestyle of the average truck driver, keeping fit and healthy may seem to be an insurmountable challenge.
According to a study carried out by the American Dietetic Association in 2007, around 2.5 million of an estimated 3.2 million truckers in the US are either overweight or obese. That’s a whopping 80%! Not just that, according to a 2007 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about 12% of all driver induced accidents on the roads were caused by truckers who were either asleep, in diabetic shock, had a heart attack or were in some condition that made them unconscious or unable to control their trucks.
In fact, if there’s one thing most truckers have in common apart from them driving trucks, it’s the fact that they are either obese or fast becoming obese. Considering the downsides of obesity which include anything from high blood pressure to diabetes, it would be wise for truckers to start looking for ways to stay healthy even with their busy schedule. The following tips will surely help.
Start Eating Right
The first thing to do is make some serious adjustments to your eating habits. Sure, most truck stops and fast food restaurants on the road don’t offer many healthy choices. But, you can decide to start eating right by avoiding the truck stops and fast food spots altogether or opt for just grilled fish or chicken in those places. These are less fattening. Instead, try taking salads, veggies, and fruits as snacks in place of burgers, fries or candy.
Cut Back on Soda and Alcoholic Drinks
Most truckers typically don’t drink and drive. If they will be having a beer or two, it’ll be at their last stop or the hotel they’ll be sleeping in. Even this small amount can contribute to weight gain – so it is probably best to quit all together. If you can’t quit cold-turkey, then cut the number of bottles or shots you take by half, or drink just once or twice a week. Then, gradually taper down further until you can completely quit. The same goes for soda or Coca-Cola. Even diet soda is fattening and should be avoided entirely. Many truckers are typically guilty of drinking 4-6 bottles/cans of soda every day, however that much soda can quickly add on the pounds.
Drink More Water
In place of soda and alcohol, opt for just water. If you can’t stand the normal, ordinary-tasting water, opt for flavored water. It might taste weird for the first few days, but after a while you’ll adapt and actually find that you feel healthier. Sugary drinks have also been linked to increased backpain, and decreased bedroom performance. So water can be beneficial to both your back and your lovelife.
Avoid the Smokes
If you’re a smoker, this is likely one you’ve heard again and again, and it merits repeating. Smoking kills, lowers your libido, darkens your teeth and gives you foul breath. If you cannot do without your nicotine fix, you might want to try e-cigarettes. These are smoke-free, do not darken your teeth and won’t result in cancer of any sort.
Exercise More Frequently
Just like with most people – starting up an exercise routine is difficult. Afterall – who wants to start doing crunches after a long day of driving? But, if you’re committed to it, it is possible. Something as simple as cycling around the parking lot in a truck stop or motel for 20 -30 minutes every day will help. You could also do pushups, abdominal crunches, or use jump ropes. The good thing about all these is they aren’t expensive and can be done anywhere. Also be sure to get adequate rest after every trip. It’s the least you can do for yourself.
Oscar King is a former personal trainer who has recently taken his love of travel and moved into the trucking industry. He personally recommends aspiring truckers go to http://www.driverphysicals.com – a website he said helped him greatly in getting his first DOT physical exam. You can find out more about him by visiting his Google+.