There are thousands of individuals in the United States who work as long-haul truckers. They drive trucks from one end of the country to the other, filled with everything from produce to lawn chairs. It pays well, and you don’t need a college degree to do it, making it one of the better blue-collar jobs you can obtain.
Truck drivers have some health challenges, though. The work’s nature makes it tough to stay in top shape unless you take steps to lead a more wellness-inducing lifestyle. Let’s look at four of the things you can do as a truck driver if you want to stay in peak physical condition.
Get the Proper Amount of Sleep
Some truck drivers get into trouble when they don’t sleep enough. In 2017 alone, truck accidents killed 4,102 people, and you have to assume fatigue was one of the causes.
There’s now a law in place called the 34-hour Restart Rule. It states that truckers need two days of downtime in between runs. If you have to rest for 34 hours at least before taking your truck on another long haul, that means two nights of uninterrupted sleep so you can recharge your batteries.
Even if that law were not in place, as someone operating an enormous vehicle, you should prioritize sleeping. Once you finish your route and you’ve dropped off your load wherever it’s going, find a motel and get a quality night’s rest. If necessary, you can use melatonin or a similar over-the-counter sleep aid.
Bring Some Meals and Snacks for the Road
Some truckers gain more weight than they would like to, and they have a hard time losing it. That’s because they eat mostly greasy fast-food burgers at truck stops.
If you’re living on an unhealthy truck stop diet, you can get in the habit of cooking better, healthier meals and then bringing them in the truck with you. You can stick them in Tupperware containers and stow them in a bookbag that you keep beside you, so nothing happens to it.
When you get hungry, you can pull over and eat the meal you prepared. It will save you money that you’d have to spend buying overpriced road food, and you can be sure of what’s in it because you prepared it.
You can bring healthy snacks as well. It’s better to eat things like raw nuts and dried fruit versus candy and potato chips.
If you’re in a truck all day, that’s a sedentary lifestyle, much like sitting behind a computer for many hours. The same problem applies: you’re not exercising, and you’re getting stiff and sore as well.
You can roll up a yoga mat and bring it with you in the truck. When you get to a hotel, it’s a simple matter to spread the mat out on the floor and go through a basic yoga routine.
Yoga can help truckers who have back and leg problems from sitting all day. It limbers you up, and it’s not difficult to learn, either. There are plenty of YouTube videos, or you can take some classes so you know the basic moves that can stretch out your muscles after a long cross-country haul.
Take It Easy on the Caffeine
Many truckers are caffeine junkies. It’s not hard to see why. You might start a run in the morning’s early hours, and you feel like you need that hot coffee infusion to wake up and stay alert.
A little caffeine is not so bad, but it’s counterproductive if you ever find yourself chugging the day’s fourth or fifth cup, and you know you’ll have more before the drive is over. If you drink that much caffeine, you’ll make it next to impossible to fall asleep when you finish the trip.
Also, too much caffeine can raise your blood pressure. That is one of heart disease’s warning signs.
You have to remember that even though caffeine is legal, it’s still a drug, and a powerful one, at that.
If you keep on overindulging, you can develop an abnormal heartbeat. You can get dizzy, shake, or have splitting headaches.
Rumor has it that self-driving trucks will appear at some point, but it seems like that’s probably several years off. Until they completely take over driving duties, truckers still rule the road. If you’re among them, try to stay healthy, so you can enjoy your retirement when you feel that it’s time for it.