Statistically speaking, at the top of most everyone’s New Year’s resolutions list in America tends to be getting healthy. And for truck drivers, those goals go beyond dropping some vanity pounds. They could be life-saving.
According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 69 percent of truckers who took part in a study were obese – 17 percent morbidly obese. Also, 88 percent of the drivers had a high-risk health factor – including high-blood pressure, smoking or obesity. Meanwhile, the general U.S. adult working population, meanwhile, is at 54 percent.
Other frightening stats show that 27 percent sleep six hours or less a night and 34 percent actually admit to nodding off while driving. And 41 percent of crashes truck drivers are involved are directly related to physical factors.
From diabetes to obesity to heart health to smoking to sleep apnea, truck drivers face a ton of health issues if they don’t take care of themselves. It’s not easy, of course. Truck drivers spend their lives on the road, sitting behind the wheel to pay the bills.
But you can fight these health-risk factors, and it doesn’t even take a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. Just start with some healthy habits in 2015.
The result will be a safer, longer life for you and your loved ones.
1) Quit Smoking
Yes, we know you’ve heard it before but it bares repeating: Smoking hurts every organ in your body. Check out this frightening stat sheet from the Center for Disease Control. So quit, today. And while the best way to do it is cold turkey, we know it’s not easy. Take a look at these unusual but effective ways WebMD suggests to help you quit today.
In an article in Men’s Health, there is an interesting graph that compares the metabolic rate of truckers who don’t work out daily vs. those who do. The graph for truckers who take time for a quick workout shows calorie-burning spikes throughout the day compared to mostly a flat-rate for those who avoid working out.
It’s that lifestyle exactly that leads to all the health risks drivers face. The same article shows a ton of great ways drivers can work out each day while sticking to their schedules. Check it out.
Sitting and bouncing along the highways can really pound on your back and legs. Chiropractors are skilled and experienced at helping you feel better. Whether it’s curing headaches/backaches, recommending ergonomic support for the road or simply diagnosing problems before they start, chiropractors can help in many ways you may not even realize.
4) Get sleep
As earlier stated, truckers are not only at a high risk for sleep deprivation but it can lead to huge problems: From crashes to overeating to dementia.
Take a look at this article in WebMD on how sleep apnea and other sleep issues not only can be diagnosed and treated, but what the benefits of doing so are.
5) Drink water
Fitness gurus recommend drinking a gallon of water a day. The benefits include appetite suppression, being more alert, helping your heart and cleansing your system. Of course, it can cause frequent trips to the bathroom, which is a problem for those who spend hours on the road. So plan out, and experiment with, how you’re going to tackle this one. But drinking plenty of water has so many good qualities that it’s worth the work.
6) Plan meals
Grabbing meals here and there sets you up for failure.
So make a plan and execute it. Pack healthy snacks. Pack your meals. Plan your stops around healthier choices. Eat often, every three hours or so in order to avoid being too hungry.
7) Keep track
It’s important you keep an eye on how many calories you take in each day. A handy app is MyFitnessPal, which shows you not only how many calories you’re eating but how much of it is fat, sugar, carbs and protein. You can set goals and monitor how well you do each day.
By keeping an eye on what you’re eating, you’ll become more disciplined in your eating habits.
A healthy lifestyle isn’t easy when you’re dealing with deadlines and schedules. But by adopting some of these habits, you’ll begin to see healthy changes on a daily basis. So try these tips for at least a month and they’ll will open up new doors you’ll want to walk through.
At North Dixie Truck and Trailer, Inc., we believe in helping truck drivers in every way possible. Whether it is our Emergency pick up (1-800-440-9523), our parts department (419-222-8785) or our maintenance crew (419-221-3750), for all your needs, think NDI.