Sitting down: it’s one thing truckers do more than virtually anybody else. When you’re spending as much as 11 hours of your day driving, it’s easy to see why so little time is spent on a physical activity.
And that’s cause for concern, since several recent studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can lead to cardiovascular problems, weight gain, depression, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and even premature death. Researchers behind one recent study concluded that “higher amounts of daily total sitting time are associated with greater risk of all-cause mortality and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity appears to attenuate [lessen] the hazardous association.”
That’s why many physicians are encouraging sedentary workers — or people who find themselves sitting for extended periods of time — to get up and move around as much as possible. Suggestions involve starting the day with a jog, taking a brisk walk on a lunch break, or going for a bike ride when the shift’s over.
But here’s the problem: while people in an office can, in most cases, easily get up and go for a walk on their lunch breaks, truckers can’t simply pull over to the side of the road and go for a hike. In most cases that’s just not practical and in some scenarios it could be downright dangerous.
Thankfully, there are some perfect opportunities during your day to stay fit and active. Staring your day with some exercise can help your mind stay focused through the day. If you are driving more than 8 hours a day you are required by law to take a 30-minute break. This is a perfect time to refresh your body and mind with a little bit of physical activity.
Before you partake in any form of physical activity, be sure to consult with your doctor to find out what level of activity is appropriate for you. If it’s been a long time since you’ve performed any form of exercise you may have to build up your levels of fitness slowly to avoid injury or worsen any existing health problems.
Whatever activities you decide to try, it is generally accepted that you need a bare minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. You may need to build up to a full 30-minutes, but you can break this time up into 15 or 10 minute chunks. If fact some studies state that 15 minutes a day might be all you need. One thing’s for sure, 15 minutes a day better then none at all.
Once you figure out a routine that’s right for your body and gets your blood-pumping make sure you stick with it. There are many different exercises you can consider: a brisk walk or jog at a well-lit truck stop; pack some dumbbells in your cab for a quick muscle-building workout; release your inner Rocky Balboa and break out the skipping rope in the yard before your pre-trip inspection. There’s no shortage of activities you can fit in into your workday.
Remember water is your friend, as you’ll need to stay hydrated. Drinking water regularly helps you replace the fluids you lose to sweating as well as help flush your system of any toxins. Drinking water on a regular basis has other benefits too. A regular intake of water can help crush cravings for salty snack food during your day. Get in the habit of having a water bottle in your truck and it might even help you cut back on your daily coffee intake.
Of course, it’s crucial you eat well in order to keep off dangerous excess pounds. Avoid heavily processed, high fat and high sodium foods in favour of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats like chicken and turkey. The more fast food you consume the more likely they’ll be overweight and on the fast track to diabetes, heart problems, and an early death.