It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the life of a trucker can be hard on your health if you aren’t careful. There are long sedentary hours that are not great for the body and make snaking easy, truck stop meals, coffee, seeming no time to exercise and often lack of sleep.
It may seem like some of these things are just a part of the job and there is little you can do to affect change. But, there are many things big and small that can help make a major difference in your overall health.
And like any good nutritionist or health expert will tell you, it is about a lifestyle change. You don’t want to diet or binge exercise. You don’t want to swear off coffee for good, only to fall of the wagon. Making smart decisions every day that are reasonable and maintainable are what you are aiming for.
OK, so it may seem like there is not a lot of option here, but there are things you can do.
1. Put the snack away. If you aren’t burning many calories, you don’t need many calories. Keeping food out of reach can save you a lot of excess weight.
2. If you find you are having trouble keeping the snacks away, at least keep them healthier. A bag of chips is a lot of empty calories that is going to turn to sugar, then fat. Fruit, vegetables or other snacks high in nutrients are a much better.
3. If you smoke, no amount is a good amount, but are you smoking just to pass the time? If you can’t quit cold turkey, try some of the smoking cessation products that are recommended by your doctor and make a conscious effort to cut down.
Like anything, if you have something in moderation, it’s not that bad. But, if you are drinking caffeine in excess, there are multiple negative side effects:
1. Heart issues: heartburn, increased heartbeat, heart palpitations, cardiac arrest
2. Stomach issues: diuresis, stomach ulcers, stomach cramps
3. Head issues: headaches, Insomnia, hallucinations, coma
There are many other side effects including things like dehydration and dehydration is already an area to address to stay healthy. Make sure you have lots of water in your cab and drink at least 8 cups of water a day.
Exercise and Stretching
It may seem impossible to exercise and stretch. You are working long hours and the last thing you want to do is add to your day. So what about beginning your day with a workout and a stretch. There are many exercises or programs that you can do on the road and without additional weights or props.
Every truck stop is also a chance to stretch and/or get a walk in. You may feel funny doing it, but getting moving will help keep your circulation moving and that along with stretching are especially helpful if you have a back problem or if you want to prevent one.
Make time for sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, if you aren’t already sleeping better after choosing healthier options, cutting back on the caffeine and exercising (that will help tire you out!), there are other tricks you can try to help get a good night sleep:
• White noise. If you are sleeping in unfamiliar places, it can help to both drown out noise as well as give you a consistent noise to fall asleep to no matter where you are.
o If you have a smartphone, there are many apps out there that you can download, so you don’t need
o If you can’t sleep with noise, try earplugs
• Bring items with you that are familiar. If you have certain things like a pillow or reading light that makes you feel more like home and keep conditions consistent.
• If you need complete darkness to sleep and you can’t be certain you will have blackout lights, bring a sleep mask.
What tricks do you have for sleeping on the road? Let us know.