Driving a truck can be tough, demanding work. But for long stretches of time, career truckers find themselves sitting in one position, eating junk from truck stops and gas stations, and guzzling coffee to stay alert. It’s easy to fall into bad habits when you’re working hard to meet tight deadlines, and your health can suffer as a result.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you stay fit and healthy Over The Road
1) Start today
Many veteran truck drivers admit to gaining 50 or 100 pounds (or more) in their first few years on the job.
A drop of prevention is worth an ocean of cure. It will be a lot easier to master a few healthy habits as you begin your career to keep the weight off than it will be to lose it later on.
Make health your priority from day one!
2) Begin each day with 30 minutes of activity
Once you get on the road, your schedule becomes a little unpredictable. And even more importantly, it may not be safe to go for a walk or jog once you park the truck at night.
The best way to combat this is to begin your day with just a little bit of even low-intensity exercise — go for a 1-mile walk or do some basic calisthenics like jumping jacks, burpees, and lunges.
30 minutes should be plenty to last you the rest of the day, as long as you can get your diet in check.
3) Eat this, not that
All the coffee, soda, and junk food from gas stations can really take a toll on your body, even if you’re staying active.
To stay healthy on the road, it’s imperative that you make healthier eating choices.
It will take some effort, no doubt, but look for all-hours grocery stores or a Walmart that has fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthier options like nuts or rotisserie chicken. Or better yet, bring along a small electric cooler in the cab to keep some healthy snacks on hand.
4) Keep the blood flowing while driving
Sitting for long periods of time is terrible for circulation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So try to keep your body loose while you’re driving. Always be cautious and give the road your full attention, but try to wiggle your fingers and toes regularly, do shoulder and neck rolls, and stretch your hands and wrists as often as you can safely.
5) Learn body-weight fitness
A little bit of walking, jogging, or biking (veteran truckers love lightweight, foldable bikes they can keep in the cab) can go a long way.
But for a more intense workout, you’ll have to advance to bodyweight movements and progressions. Mastering different variations of pushups, pullups, planks, and more, can challenge you for years and build some serious strength and muscle along the way.
Read more OTR fitness ideas and veteran tips on the Trusty Spotter’s guide to staying fit as a truck driver.