As you can probably imagine, being confined to a small space as a truck driver can make staying healthy on the road pretty difficult. It's easy to frequent the McDonald's drive through when you're hungry, but in the long run, are all those unhealthy fast-food meals really worth it? Convenience can sometimes outweigh being healthy, especially in this profession. So how do you become a healthy truck driver when you're living life day-to-day within the confines of a cramped truck cab? We asked fans of the Driver Solutions Facebook page how they stay healthy on the road. Here are some of their answers...
Change Your Diet
Like our experienced truck drivers say, eating right is the most obvious way to stay healthy on the road. But that's easier said than done. So just how do you change eating habits that have been engraved into your daily routine for years? You can start by preparing your own meals instead of dining at unhealthy truck stops and fast food restaurants. Begin incorporating healthier foods into your diet. Healthy food alternatives include things like substituting multigrain breads for white breads, baked chicken or fish for fried foods, and lentils or black beans, boiled eggs, unsalted nuts, and low fat yogurt for unhealthy snacks and side dishes. Try eating foods that are high in protein - they curb your appetite quickly. Avoid sugary and starchy foods. It can be hard to avoid these because they're so readily available throughout truck stops and fast food drive-throughs, but you'll notice a change in how you're feeling soon after you cut them from your diet. Another idea is to invest in a slow cooker to leave in your truck so you can make meals while you're on the road. You should also drink water as often as possible. Substitute water, juice, or light green tea for sugary, high calorie drinks like pop and sweet tea.
Break Out Those Dumbells
Just because you're living in a confined space doesn’t mean working out is a lost cause - there are exercises you can do right in your cab! When you stop for the day, try doing push-ups and sit ups on your bed. You can also do arm dips in your cab. To do arm dips, face the front of the truck and place your hands behind you on the bed. Slowly lower yourself down on your hands as far as you can go, then push back up. You could even bring a set of small dumbells to curl when you have some free time. Stretches are good for truckers because they can be done quickly and easily while you're you're in traffic. And as Joe and Thomas mention above, walking on your breaks is never a bad idea (32 laps around your trailer is a mile)!
More Advice From Drivers...
If eating right and exercising just aren't enough for you, you can also take vitamins and supplements to stay healthy on the road. Vitamin A is imperative for good vision - something that obviously is very important if you’re going to be driving a big rig across the country for 11 hours every day. Take any supplements that you need to keep yourself healthy. And ok, maybe Don was kidding about hitting the buffets if you're trying to stay healthy.... but veggies are definitely good!
Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep! Sometimes it can be tempting to skimp out on the amount of sleep you get so you can log more miles. You’re required to take breaks every so often, and you don’t want to put yourself and others at risk because you didn’t get enough sleep last night!
With these tips in mind, you can begin your journey to becoming a healthier truck driver. It all starts with exercise and a good diet. Change your habits today -- a healthy driver is a happy driver!