One challenge many OTR (over the road) drivers face in today’s fast-paced world is the difficulty of taking care of their health while working in an industry where it’s not always easy to stay physically active and fit. Try making these 5 easy changes to get started towards a healthier lifestyle while you’re on the road.
Take a Walk
To most people outside the industry the idea of a truck driver having ample opportunities to walk sounds ridiculous. But think about how many chances you get to walk every day while you’re on the job? When you pull into a truck stop park your rig at the far end of the parking lot. The extra steps you’ll be taking by parking farther away and walking from that increased distance will add up quickly. If you have to wait to be offloaded at your destination (and they allow you to get out of the cab) take a short walk. Just look for opportunities to stretch your legs when you can. Tip: Travel Centers of America has been adding free indoor and outdoor fitness rooms to their locations nationwide, they also have over 120 locations that feature walking trails.
It may sound obvious, but making better food choices is a big step towards a healthier life. Swap out one meal a day when you used to eat something unhealthy with a “better for you” option. Instead of ordering the country-fried steak and mashed potatoes opt for a trip to the salad bar. Skip the double-bacon cheeseburger and go for a grilled chicken sandwich. Don’t keep candy bars and chips in the cab, instead next time you stop grab some fruit or trail mix. We’re not suggesting you abandon your favorite foods, just eat them in moderation and you’ll be surprised how much it will help.
Dump out the over-caffeinated, sugar-filled drinks and pick up a bottle of water. We get it, we all need our cup of coffee in the morning, but don’t drink it all day. The problem with sugary and caffeinated drinks is that while they give you that quick boost of energy now, they’re going to cause you to crash later. Try to avoid over consumption of coffee, soda and energy drinks.
Take the Gym With You
We know it can be hard to get a workout in when you’re on the move. While truck stops are beginning to realize the value in healthier amenities like on-site gyms, they’re not always available. Instead try packing your own mini-gym when you hit the road. Two of the easiest things you can pack are small free weights and those rubber resistance bands. We’re not suggesting you use these while you’re actually driving, but taking 10-15 minutes to exercise with them while you’re stopped will really pay off in the long run. On a side note, if you pack free weights make sure you can safely stow them away while you’re driving. The last thing you want is to damage the inside of the cab or worse have one roll under your feet while you’re driving.
Utilize Your Days Off
One common mistake drivers make is thinking that the time you spend on the road is the real enemy. If you are taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle while you’re on the road but on your days off you’re found sitting on the couch, you’re not helping yourself. Your days off are valuable so don’t waste them. Get out there and go for a nice long walk with a loved one or the family pet. If you enjoy the outdoors take a hike, or if golf is your game get in a round with friends (and walk, don’t use a golf cart or it defeats the purpose). The idea here is to do whatever it is that you enjoy that involves physical activity. Not only will this provide an immediate benefit to your health, but it will make it easier to exercise while you’re on the road because you’re conditioning your body to it.
Above all just remember that YOU are the transportation industry’s greatest asset. There’s plenty of money to be made driving a truck, but if you have to waste it all in medical expenses down the road (no pun intended) what’s the point. Making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle is the first step towards success, but we know it’s not easy so just focus on taking small steps. After all, living a healthy life is less of a drag race and more like a marathon. We want you there at the finish.
Interested in joining the Logan Trucking family? Take the first step towards success by joining our team and working for a company that’s interested in looking out for you and your family. Fill out our online application today. [Learn more about the benefits of working for Logan Trucking.]