Life on the Road: Tips for Staying Healthy as a Long Haul Trucker
Trying to live healthily while you’re working as a long haul trucker is going to be a challenge! Luckily for you, you’ve found us! In this article, you’ll learn helpful tips on how to stay healthy while you’re traversing the country as a long haul truck driver.
The very nature of a long haul trucker’s job makes it tough to stay in shape. You’re sitting for hours at a time, tempted by fast food at every turn, and sometimes running on sleep disruption or deprivation.
It may be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re on the road so much but with a little planning and commitment, it’s not impossible.
Here are some tips to help long-distance truck drivers keep both physically and emotionally fit in their demanding line of work.
Plan Healthy Meals and Snacks
The variety of greasy food readily available across the country is perhaps a long haul trucker’s biggest threat to maintaining a healthy weight. Carrying a supply of healthy snacks for truck drivers and sticking to a meal plan can prevent packing on pounds while you’re away.
Whenever possible, try to keep some fresh fruit, prepackaged salad, nuts, and jerky within reach and replenished when you visit rest stops. Drink bottled water instead of soda and other sweetened beverages.
Caffeine can dehydrate you, so limit the amount of coffee you drink or opt for decaffeinated.
You may also want to invest in a small portable grill or hibachi so you can cook lean meats and veggies while on the road. Otherwise, try to choose healthy meals at restaurants and rest stops or make the burgers and fries combo an occasional treat.
Sneak in Exercise
Studies have found that sitting for hours at a time can negatively affect health. Elevated blood pressure, weight gain, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease are all risks of sitting for too long.
Truck drivers can find themselves behind the wheel for up to 11 hours a day, which is why squeezing in some kind of physical activity is important. It may not be possible to take the recommended break from sitting every 30 minutes when you’re hauling cargo under a deadline.
You can, however, incorporate some form of exercise during meal and rest stop breaks:
- Take a pair of running shoes with you and jog or walk around your truck a few laps
- Keep a pair of weights in the truck to work your arms and shoulders
- Stretch whenever possible, particularly your legs
- Do bodyweight exercises; no equipment needed
All of these are a great idea.
Follow These Long Haul Trucker Sleeping Tips
Struggling to get enough sleep is perhaps the number-one job hazard for long haul drivers. Although current regulations cap the trucker workweek at 70 hours, that doesn’t mean truckers necessarily stick to that rule. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is a factor in 40% of large truck accidents.
There are a few tricks truck drivers can do to get a good sleep in their cab. Whenever possible, you want to park your rig in a quiet area away from other vehicles. Carry foam earplugs to block out noise, and avoid heavy meals and caffeine for several hours before sleeping.
Another tip is to make your sleeping space as comfortable as possible by bringing your favorite pillow and bedding from home.
Stay Mentally Fit
Long haul truck driving is a solitary job. You may not have to worry about a boss breathing down your neck, but it can be mentally challenging to spend so many hours in your own company and away from family.
You can counteract this by listening to audio books while driving. Listening to a story or self-help advice can distract your mind and keep it off your worries.
Here at Western Trucking Academy, we teach the long haul trucker everything they need to know to stay safe on the job, including how to stay healthy. Contact us to learn more about becoming a truck driver.