Since 2010, 70,000 drivers have been pulled from the roads due to new regulations about driver health by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These drivers didn’t have a hangnail or a simple cough. Many of them were diagnosed with serious diseases like uncontrolled high blood pressure, advanced diabetes, sleep apnea, and obesity.
The commercial driver lifestyle doesn’t make staying healthy and lean easy. Being out of shape is an obvious health risk, and it severely limits future job prospects for you as a driver.
Being sidelined with a serious illness by being out of shape isn’t your inevitable future. You can make small changes today that will keep you on the road for years to come.
Ditch the Unhealthy Foods
Truck stops and small diners have been replaced over the years by fast food joints and quick, cheap, and unhealthy options in gas stations. With a bit of planning, you can cook your own healthy meals on the road. And if you have to buy your breakfast or dinner, most restaurants offer healthier options. Changing even one meal a day can help improve your health.
Your expanding waistline has everything to do with how much you move – or don’t move. Pack a pair of sneakers and commit to walking 30 minutes a day. Walk around your trailer. Roam the truck stop before you get on the road in the morning. Pace back and forth if you’re at a drop and in between loading or unloading. Move as often as possible when you’re not driving. Consider getting a Fitbit to help keep track of how much you’re moving and challenge other truckers to a competition to see who can get the most steps in.
Try to Relax
As a driver, you’ve got an enormous amount of stress to deal with. Between load deadlines, potential breakdowns, bad weather, and worse drivers, the stress alone could kill you. Take deep breaths when you feel your stress levels going up. Do things you enjoy as much as you can in your down time. You may also want to consider meditation first thing in the morning or at the end of your day as a way to release stress and help you stay calm while you’re on the road.
Get More Sleep
Very few people get enough sleep these days. When you’re working hard to make your delivery date, you get even less. Make your truck a calm place to sleep with a good pillow, a white noise machine, or even a sleep mask. Whatever you need to do to help you block out noise and distraction and get to sleep earlier will make a big difference.
Your career as a driver doesn’t have to end because of your health. Start making changes today to get your health on track for years to come. Feel free to use your Gorilla Safety app to upload documents you can use to keep up with exercises, healthy food options, and other reminders to take care of your health.