There’s a huge push in the trucking industry to promote wellness and activity because drivers have such sedentary careers. The first step to combating the serious health issues truckers commonly battle with is to learn what you are at risk for and learn what you can do to prevent it. Let’s check out the most common truck driver health issues.
The Big One: Obesity
Dear truck drivers – did you know you are twice as likely to become obese compared to other US workers? Sadly, the statistics are not on your side, but this doesn’t mean you have to be one of them! The good news is, with a few basic lifestyle changes such as eating healthier foods and getting more exercise, you can avoid becoming just another statistic.
A shocking 73 percent of truck drivers are overweight with about 50 percent of them considered obese.
Being obese is one of those truck driver health issues that can increase your risk for other harmful health factors as well. Some truck driver health issues that you are at a higher risk of because of obesity include:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
The main causes of obesity in the trucking industry can be traced back to the lack of nutrition and exercise that is accompanied and associated with the trucking lifestyle. But with a slight change to your diet and exercise, we know you can take charge of your own health and knock down any chance of certain chronic diseases brought on by obesity. By mixing in some of these healthy habits to your daily routine you’ll be on track to a healthier life!
Be prepared with healthy snacks.
It’s easy to fall back on quick and convenient snacks offered at rest stops, but these options are often loaded with unhealthy ingredients. To fuel the body with proper nutrients, it may require a little extra attention to the snacks you’re picking up. Avoid the sugary aisles and aim to include more healthy snacks like fresh fruit and healthy grains.
Take a walk and stretch it out.
You spend a lot of time sitting behind the wheel, so it’s important to lace up your sneakers and get moving whenever you get a chance! When you arrive at a rest stop take the time to walk or jog around the area to get your body moving and get your blood flowing. If you’re feeling up to it, add in some other exercises using your truck as the equipment! It’s also important to give your muscles a good stretch to avoid cramping after long periods on the road. By adding in some daily movement, you’ll feel more energized and ready to tackle the job, while also combating common truck driver health issues like obesity.
And… while physical health issues are one problem truck drivers face, mental health issues can be just as tough to work through.
Truck Driver Mental Health Issues
A life on the road can take a toll on your mental health. Many truck drivers begin to experience mental health issues brought fourth by the profession. If you are aware of it, then you can take charge of your own destiny.
Depression & Loneliness
Many long-haul truckers experience loneliness which can lead to depression. Being on the road for long days and nights by yourself can make you feel like Justin Beiber’s single Lonely; loneliness is a leading factor for depression. Truck drivers like yourself might also be experiencing lack of sleep, which can slowly lead to depression and other mental health issues overtime. The good news is that there are easy ways to stay on top of your mental health and boost your spirits on the road! Practicing mindfulness and checking in with yourself while on the road is essential to keeping a check on your mental health. You might also want to consider joining a group exercise class to help you combat depression and loneliness. It could be a great way to meet some new people and also incorporate exercise into your routine which will help you feel more energized overall.
High Stress Levels
For various reasons (which we know you know!), truck drivers experience extreme amounts of stress every day on the job. Whether it is ensuring your delivery is made on time, waiting in nonstop traffic, or even looking for the next rest stop as you frantically need to use the bathroom. It’s no doubt that your job isn’t easy… which is why we decided to include high stress levels as a major truck driver health issue.
However, don’t panic. There are some ways to help reduce stress levels on the road, such as focusing on a healthy lifestyle by incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine. Adding healthy foods that boost your energy and help you feel good will get your brain flowing with a can do attitude. You can also manage your stress levels by including some exercise into your daily routine. This simple change will help release endorphins, the happy hormone, and aid in lowering stress levels as well. Take charge of your life, we dare you!
We know you sit for long hours every day, and it’s tempting to reach for those unhealthy snacks or extra caffeine to keep yourself awake. Truck drivers are at higher risk for certain health issues due to the nature of the job but being aware of it is half the battle. We know you can set yourself up for success by adapting a few healthy habits along the way. Which healthy habit are you going to implement first? Let us know in the comments below!
For additional tips on how to combat medical problems facing truckers, check out this podcast all about wellness!