Any trucker knows that life on the road can take its toll and truck driver health is an ever-growing concern. The strains of the job mean truck drivers often have more health problems than the average joe. Cramped working conditions, lack of quality food and exercise, exposure to dangerous materials, and the effects of stress are just a few of the lifestyle’s hazards.
We know you probably have enough to worry about without the added pressure of keeping up with the typical New Year’s’ Resolutions, but even taking small steps every day to improve your health can be critical in the long run.
Whether you’re a driver, a trucking business owner, or just someone who wants to get healthier, we at ExpressTruckTax encourage you to check out these tips for a healthier 2019!
Improve Your Sleep Quality
Getting enough sleep in your daily routine is crucial to your overall well being. One good way to get enough rest is to set a sleep schedule for yourself and your best to stick with it. While getting enough sleep can make you feel happier and healthier overall, a continued lack of sleep can lead an increased risk of heart & kidney disease, high blood pressure & strokes, diabetes, and depression. I can definitely be a challenge when managing your fleet or trying to meet deadlines on the road, but you should always try to get about 8 hours a night.
Many truck drivers suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and more. To avoid these issues, limit your consumption of stimulants and choose a natural sleep aid if necessary.
Eat Healthier Foods
One of the hardest things for many people in the trucking industry to do is make healthy eating choices. The lifestyle lends itself perfectly to quick and convenient food choices, but not necessarily the healthiest ones. When fast food restaurants are so cheap and readily available, it’s easy to make poor food choices, but eating healthy road trip snacks on your route isn’t as hard as sounds!
One of the best strategies for eating well is to plan ahead. Purchase your snacks from a grocery store or produce stand before hitting the road where it will be harder to find something decent. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and protein bars are all great snacks that can keep you full on the road, which can help you eat smaller portions for lunch and dinner.
Of course, it’s not always that easy. If you don’t have any healthy snacks and not enough time for something ideal, try to choose from the healthiest options available. These days even most fast food restaurants serve healthier options such as salads and grilled proteins. Healthy meals for truck drivers aren’t as hard to find as you’d think! Just remember – eating when you’re hungry is healthy, just be sure to make healthy choices and not overdo it.
Dehydration is the cause of many different health problems. Your body doesn’t tell your brain that its thirsty until you’re already technically in a state of dehydration. When you’re on the road, always keep a bottle with you to sip throughout the day – this will ensure that you’re never dehydrated. Making sure that you’re getting enough water makes you feel better both physically and mentally, help with calories control, prevent fatigue, and improve kidney function! Literally every biological process in your body requires water as fuel, so give it as much as you can!
Due to the stress that hours of staring at the road and exposure to the sun can do to your eyes, keeping a pair of sunglasses in your truck can do wonders. A good pair of sunglasses can help protect your eyes from cataracts, vision loss and keep you from needing to squint. And always apply sunscreen for those longer hauls! Unless you have heavily-tinted windows, you’ll be exposed to ultraviolet rays that can burn and lead to more extreme skin problems if you aren’t careful.
Get More Exercise
It can be difficult for anyone to fit regular exercise into their schedule at first, let alone those who are stuck on the road or managing a trucking business. But the key to getting enough exercise is figuring out how much or how little works for you. Staying healthy doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym and “working out”. It should be enjoyable and match your abilities. It’s easier than you think to find 10-20 minutes a day to take a walk or do some light stretching on your next stop. And after hours on the road, you’ll be even more glad that you did!
Manage Stress on the Road
Being out on the road for even just a few days away from friends or family can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can then lead to feelings of depression. And while it’s easy enough to stay connected these days with smartphones and social media applications like Skype and Facetime (when you’re not driving), there are some even more interactive ways to stay connected on the road.
Using that smartphone to share photos and stories of your travels is a great way to stay close to your family and friends on the road. If you have children, you can tell them where you’re going and have them look up interesting facts about the places. When you get home, set aside some time to ask them what they learned and then share the photos and stories from your trip there. It will be a great and unique learning experience for them and a memorable bonding experience for you both. And if you’re married, get a book for your spouse and the audiobook version for yourself. When you connect on the phone or social media, you can discuss it together.
Don’t give up! Set some realistic goals for yourself that you think you can actually stick with. As an owner operator, you know that good things take time. You’re already on the way to a healthier you just by reading this article! Just stay persistent – At ExpressTruckTax, we’re with you every mile of the road and every step of the way.