Truck driver health problems impact not only drivers but, their families and their employers as well. Driving over the road makes it easy to fall into unhealthy habits. These unhealthy habits cause stress on your body and lead to chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Many do not notice the negative impact until they develop a health condition.
Shifting into healthier daily habits now is the best way to prevent a health condition from impacting your life and career. Changing unhealthy habits is hard for anyone. The truck driver lifestyle can make it even more challenging, but it is absolutely possible to do on the road. When it comes to getting healthy there’s no quick fix or magic pill. Improving your own health isn’t as complicated and time-consuming as you think.
These 5 easy to follow habits are a great place to start improving your health and wellbeing.
The old rule of 8 glasses per day may be a good place to start, but there is no accurate blanket rule for how much water to drink per day. That’s because each person is different and each day is different. Your fluid needs fluctuate based on your activity level and the weather. If your working outside on a hot summer day your water needs will be much higher than a day spent in the cool cab of a truck.
Keeping water within reach is the most important thing you can do to stay hydrated. Yes, it does mean that you’ll need to stop more to use the restroom. Start thinking about that as a good thing! Not only are you flushing toxins out of your system, but it also gives you a reason to stop and stretch your legs quickly. Rest areas are quick and easy to get in and out of. You can be back on the road within 10 minutes.
Real, whole foods are anything that can be grown or harvested outside of a factory. Whole foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry. Building your diet around unprocessed whole foods provides has an extensive list of benefits. It provides your body with the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
Food companies spend a lot of money advertising “healthy” prepackaged foods. They know people want to eat better, but have limited time. How many times have grabbed a “healthy” packaged food without stopping to look at the label? Do you know what to look for on the label? It’s important to know how to select the most nutritious pre-packaged foods available if you need something in a pinch, however choosing real whole foods is the best thing for optimal health.
Many people have the misconception that they need to be exercising on a regular basis to see any improvement in their health. While exercise has many benefits to your health and always encouraged its important to know that the benefits of simply moving your body more each day. Just adding 30 minutes of walking in 5 days a week has been shown to have a positive impact on your health. You don’t need to block out 30 minutes a day either to see benefits. Taking the time to walk a few minutes several times throughout your day has the same benefit as walking 30 minutes straight. Try walking around the loading docks as your waiting to get loaded or unloaded. Walk around the truck while you’re fueling up. Take the time to stop at rest stops and use the restroom. Park farther away and get some additional steps in. It all adds up to better health.
Adequate sleep is essential for your mind, body, and well-being. For truck drivers, it’s also vital for your safety and the safety of other drivers. Your brain requires sleep to function correctly. Sleep deprivation leads to the inability to make decisions, solve problems, and controlling your behavior. A deadly combination behind the wheel. Sleep also plays a critical role in balancing the hormones that control your hunger. Have you ever noticed that your hungrier when your overly tried? There’s a good reason for that. Ghrelin levels goes up and leptin levels go down when you don’t get enough rest. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry and leptin tells you your full.
For most people 7-9 hours of sleep each night is optimal. Sleeping latter is usually not an option so plan on getting to bed sooner to get enough sleep. To help yourself fall asleep faster and sleep deeper make it as dark as possible where your sleeping. Earplugs and an eye mask can also help when the environment your in is bright and noisy. A good pillow and mattress topper is a great investment in your quality of sleep.
The average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year! The danger goes much deeper than just added calories. Added sugar leads to blood sugar fluctuations and metabolic stress. It’s one of the greatest threats to cardiovascular disease.
Sticking to a whole foods diet greatly reduces your sugar intake. It’s also important to think about what your drinking as well. A typical can of soda has 7-10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s just a small can. Imagine drinking the larger bottles you find in the truck stops. Rethink your drinks to limit your sugar intake. Focus on water. There are also some great alternatives to soda now such as LaCroix or Bubbly. Both of these allow you to enjoy a carbonated drink with zero sugar.