As a truck driver, you spend most of your working hours behind the wheel, navigating the open road. While the freedom of the highway calls, the passive nature of the job can take its toll on your health over time.
Staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road requires some extra effort and planning. The good news is, with a few simple strategies, you can keep your energy levels up, your waistline in check, and your outlook positive, even during long hauls. Read on for practical tips on health and wellness for truck drivers!
Life on the road doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your health. With the right mindset and routine, you can stay as fit as you are focused behind the wheel.
Quick and Healthy Meals For Truckers On The Go
Finding healthy food options while spending long hours on the road can be challenging. But with some planning, you can eat quick and nutritious meals to energize you.
Carry Non-Perishable Snacks
Stock up on protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, and jerky. These shelf-stable snacks are perfect for when you get hungry between meals or stops.
Make Wraps And Sandwiches
Turkey, avocado, and hummus wraps or egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread are filling and packed with nutrition. Add veggies like spinach, tomatoes, and sprouts for extra flavor and crunch.
Do Meal Prep On Your Days Off
On your time off, cook staples like chili, soup, pasta salad, or burritos that you can portion out and freeze. Heat them in your truck’s microwave or 12-volt cooler/warmer when ready to eat.
Choose Healthy Fast-Food Options
If you stop for fast food, choose grilled chicken, salads, yogurt parfaits, or oatmeal. Many places now offer nutritious meals and sides for people on the go.
Extended periods of driving can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellness of truck drivers. But with some planning, you can maintain a balanced diet even when logging long miles.
Stretching and Exercise Routines You Can Do in Your Truck
You’ll spend long hours sitting while driving, which can significantly affect your body. Incorporating simple stretches and exercises into your routine is essential to stay limber and energized.
Hamstring And Calf Stretches
Stretch your hamstrings and calves in your cab. Extend one leg straight out and reach for your foot. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Extend one leg straight out for your calves and lean forward, holding the wheel for support.
Neck Rotations And Wrist Exercises
Rotate your neck slowly, side to side, forward and back, to release tension. Bend your wrists up and down, and roll your wrists in circles. Do 10-15 reps of each.
Shoulder Rolls And Chest Stretches
Loosen your shoulder joints by rolling them forward and backward. Stretch your chest by extending one arm overhead and pulling it towards the opposite side with your other arm. Repeat on the other side.
Lunges And Calf Raises
When stopped, do some bodyweight lunges down the aisle of your cab, stepping one leg forward and lowering your body. For calf raises, lift your heels, so you’re on your tiptoes, hold, and then fall back down. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each.
Keeping your body limber and energized with regular movement and stretching will make those long hours on the road much more bearable. Be sure to start slowly and listen to your body. Every little bit helps, so do what you can, and you’ll feel better soon!
Tips For Getting Good Sleep For Truckers
Quality sleep is crucial for ensuring the health and wellness of truck drivers like yourself. It can be challenging, but with some preparation and the right mindset, you can rest well and stay alert behind the wheel.
Find The Optimal Sleeping Position
Try to sleep in a position as close to horizontal as possible. Use a travel pillow, neck pillow, or rolled-up blanket to keep your head and neck supported and aligned. Pack extra pillows, a sleeping bag, or blankets from home to make your sleeper cab cozier. The more comfortable you can get, the better you’ll sleep.
Block Out Light And Sound
Use earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, an eye mask, or a t-shirt to block light and noise in your sleeper cab for better sleep.
Stick To A Routine
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and wake up simultaneously every day, even on weekends. Do light exercises like stretching before bed and avoid caffeine, heavy meals, and excessive screen time in the evening. Establishing a bedtime routine will make it easier to fall asleep, even while traveling.
For safety, keep your seatbelt on while sleeping. Let your dispatcher know you’ll be sleeping so they can account for your service hours. Park in well-lit, secure areas if possible. An idle truck can be an easy target, so be cautious of your surroundings before settling in for the night. Your health and safety should be a top priority, so get the rest you need to operate your rig alertly.
These tips can help you achieve high-quality sleep in your truck’s sleeper cab. Staying well-rested keeps you focused, less stressed, and better able to manage the demands of life on the road.
Maintaining Mental Wellness While On Long Hauls
After weeks of driving on the road, it’s essential to prioritize your mental well-being by maintaining a positive mindset and practicing self-care. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Connect With Others
Call a friend or family member when you stop for breaks. Even a quick chat can lift your mood and ease feelings of isolation.
An underrated mental health and wellness advice for truck drivers is practicing meditation or mindfulness.
Spending hours staring at the road ahead can lead to rumination and negative thought loops. Do some deep breathing, listen to a meditation podcast, or put on calming music. Focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or past.
Seek Professional Help If Needed
If you are experiencing mental health problems, it is highly recommended to seek professional help. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms. Remember that your mental health is equally essential as your physical wellness, so never hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it.
Following these tips and prioritizing your mental wellness will help ensure you stay focused and alert on long hauls. While trucking can be a rewarding career, taking care of yourself is crucial – your safety, health, and happiness depend on it.
Apps To Support Health And Wellness For Truck Drivers
Long hours on the road can take a toll on your health and wellness as a truck driver. Luckily, some valuable resources and apps are designed specifically for truckers to help them stay in shape and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
The Iron Trucker app provides short exercise routines you can do anywhere, even in the cab of your truck. It offers videos for strength, cardio, and stretching so you can switch it up. Even light exercise during rest periods or while waiting for loading/unloading can provide mental and physical benefits.
Truck drivers need good sleep for safety. The Calm app has music, sleep stories, meditation, and more to help them rest well. The “Sleep Stories for Grown-Ups” section is tailored for truckers and shift workers. A consistent bedtime routine improves sleep quality, health, and driving safety.
As a trucker, healthy meal options are only sometimes readily available. MyFitnessPal is a helpful application that helps track your food intake and nutrition. You can log meals, snacks, and beverages to stay on top of your calorie and macro intake. The app provides nutrition information for many popular restaurant and fast food menu items. MyFitnessPal can help you establish long-term healthy eating habits, even with an unpredictable schedule.
Using resources tailored for truck drivers can help motivate you to stick with a wellness routine despite the job’s demands. Every small choice to improve your health and self-care keeps you in the best shape to continue driving safely. Take advantage of the available support and prioritize your health on the road.
Follow These Health Hacks For The Long Haul
So truckers, while the open road calls you, remember to always listen to your body and mind. It may seem like an uphill battle in your line of work, but maintaining your health and wellness is essential for success and longevity in this career.
Eat right, stay hydrated, get some light exercise when you can, connect with others, and keep a positive attitude. Your body and mind will thank you for it, and you’ll be in the best shape to keep truckin’ for years.
The road is long, so remember to stop and take care of yourself along the way. You’ve got this! Now get back behind that wheel and drive safely.