Sitting in the cab of a truck, behind the wheel, for hours on end isn’t exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle. That’s probably why so many drivers have bad backs, bad knees, weight problems, and plenty of other health issues to deal with. And the more you sit and drive, it seems the worse things can get.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to stay healthy out on the road and either prevent problems or improve ongoing health concerns.
Eat Healthy Meals
You might need to get better at packing your own food and snacks or choosing healthy options when you stop to eat. But eating healthy meals out on the road is possible. Choose grilled over fried, fruits and vegetables over candy, and salads over potato chips whenever possible. Eat until you’re satisfied, but not so full you want to take a nap. Simply choosing healthier options once or twice a day can help improve your health, so imagine what happens if you eat healthier at every meal.
Drink More Water
Yes, you’ll need to stop for the bathroom more often, but your body will thank you for drinking more water. You’ll be more hydrated, which can help reduce headaches and stomach problems. You may also feel less hungry (sometimes that hungry feeling is really thirst) and you may feel fuller when it’s time to eat so you eat less. In general, drinking water is always a healthy thing to do because when you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking soda or other sugary drinks. If you hate the taste (or lack of flavor) use calorie-free add-ins to make it taste good. It’s fine as long as it helps you get more water in you.
Limit Your Caffeine
Caffeine is addictive, whether it’s in soda or coffee. Too much can make your stomach hurt, leave you feeling shaky, and disrupt your sleep. If you drink more water, you’ll naturally drink less caffeine. But even cutting back your coffee to two cups a day without drinking more water may help. You don’t have to give it up completely, especially if you need that first hit of caffeine to function in the morning. Simply decrease it a little to reduce the not-so-great effects it has on your body.
Get More Sleep
Sleep is everything to your health. Not sleeping enough means you drink more caffeine. Lack of sleep also leads people to overeat and eat more junk. It makes it hard to concentrate or make good decisions, which is scary when you’re driving a big rig. People who don’t sleep enough tend to gain more weight and find it difficult to exercise. Basically, sleep isn’t for the weak and waiting to “sleep when you’re dead” is dangerous. If you want to live longer and feel better, sleep as much as you can every night.
Exercise (Yes, While on the Road)
You don’t need a lot of exercise or overly strenuous work-outs to make a difference in your health. A 30 minute walk before you get on the road every day can help you get and stay healthy. You can use your own body weight for resistance workouts for 15 to 20 minutes once a day. Push-ups, squats, lunges, and other moves don’t require equipment and don’t take a lot of time. Small bursts of activity will keep your weight down, strengthen your muscles, and keep your body (and mind) healthier.
See Your Doctor (Yes, While on the Road)
You don’t have to suffer through every ache and pain while on the road. When you’re sick or hurt, you need medicine and help. Thanks to the increasing availability and affordability of telemedicine, you can see a doctor virtually from your smartphone or tablet. They can advise you on what to do and even prescribe medication if you need it. Dealing with health concerns as they come up — instead of waiting until you’re nearly in the hospital because it’s so bad — will keep you healthier for longer.
You don’t have to live the stereotypical life of an unhealthy, achy, sedentary truck driver. There are ways to stay and get healthy while you’re out on the road. When you do, you’ll feel better, look better, and do a better job, too. It might take some time to change your habits, but start with small steps and work your way up to bigger goals. Anything you do to improve your health, no matter how small, is a good thing.