Truck driving is a sedentary occupation with plenty of temptations to practice unhealthy behaviors. As such, there is no shortage of unhealthy truck drivers traversing America’s roads. Perhaps that is why we have seen a growing number of industry representatives and health experts join in the effort to improve the health of the nation’s truckers.
In this article, you will read about some of the health problems inherent to the truck driving career. You will also learn how to protect yourself against them. The point is not to shame you into doing something. Rather, it is to encourage you that even truck drivers can live healthy lifestyles. You do not have to let your career push you into poor health.
Common Health Problems
The place to start are the health problems common among truck drivers. If obesity comes to mind, you are on the right track. Obesity is a big problem across America; it seems to be especially prevalent among truckers who spend 8 to 10 hours per day sitting behind the wheel.
Other health problems common to truckers include:
- Diabetes – This is a disease in which the body does not properly process sugar. There are three forms of the disease, with Type 2 diabetes being the most common.
- Heart Disease – The sedentary nature of trucking leads to drivers not getting enough exercise for their hearts. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, are pretty routine.
- Hypertension – Hand-in-hand with heart disease and diabetes is hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure. This is a big problem for truckers due to a combination of poor diet and the lack of exercise.
- Back Problems – Sitting for so long in the same position causes a lot of truck drivers to develop back problems. Those problems can be exacerbated when truckers have to assist in the loading and unloading of their trailers.
What to Do about Them
There are other health problems inherent to trucking, but you get the point. Now you need to know what you can do about them. Here is a little secret: the three best things you can do for yourself are things you have been hearing about your whole life. They haven’t changed.
- Develop a healthy diet. You have heard that ‘you are what you eat’. Well, it’s true. The best possible thing you can do to turn around an unhealthy lifestyle is to change what you eat. Develop a healthy diet, stick to it, and you will start feeling better within days.
- Get regular exercise. If you’ve heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times: you need to get regular exercise. Your body needs exercise in order to function properly. Regular exercise will lower your blood pressure, help your back feel better, and facilitate you losing weight.
- Get plenty of sleep. Believe it or not, a lack of sleep can exacerbate all the health problems listed above. The fact is your body needs a certain amount of restful sleep in order to recover from the work of the day. When added to a healthy diet and regular exercise, sleep will do wonders for your health.
Whether you work for a major transportation service company like C.R. England or you run a small, independent operation with just one or two trucks, you owe it to yourself and your family to avoid the kinds of practices that lead to ill health. Also bear in mind that the law requires you to pass a basic health exam every year to continue driving. Your livelihood depends on your health, right? So take care of it.