It’s no secret that life on the road is not conducive to the healthiest lifestyle. In fact, drivers cite poor health habits as one of the biggest challenges they face as part of their career. So what can drivers do to make sure they are maintaining their health and eating right?
In a lot of ways, we have a romantic view of what life is like for truck drivers. It’s been glorified in movies and television shows, and in many ways, truckers are America’s modern cowboys. But while there is a lot to love about driving for a living, there are plenty of difficulties too, and poor health is at the top of that list.
In today’s post, we’ll look at what drivers can do to eat better and try to maintain their overall health as much as possible.
The Health Risks Faced By Truck Drivers
As with any profession, there are some dangers associated with being a truck driver. In fact, one study has highlighted that 7 in 10 truck drivers is considered obese. Furthermore, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, American truck drivers are known to be at risk for the following conditions:
- Lung Cancer
- Lack Of Exercise
- High Blood Pressure
- Sleep Apnea
- Musculoskeletal Injuries
While not all of the above conditions are a result of dietary habits (lung cancer obviously stems from a high rate of smoking among drivers), what you eat does have a huge impact on how you feel and how at risk you are to certain kinds of disease. Problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea all have direct or indirect correlations to the food and beverage that you put into your body.
A failure to get enough exercise is also a huge problem for drivers. Part of this stems from the fact that drivers spend most of their time on the job sitting behind the wheel. This sort of sedentary occupation leads to back and hip problems, as well as repetitive use injuries, in particular in the elbows. Taking time out of each day to get some vigorous exercise, even if it’s just fifteen minutes of brisk walking every few hours, can go a long way to helping overcome some of these conditions.
Unfortunately, when it comes to eating right, drivers often point to a lack of good options as the primary culprit.
What are the typical food options on the road?
If I were to summarize the number one reason for unhealthy lifestyles among truckers in two words, it would be the following: junk food. It’s too easy and convenient for drivers to get most or all of their meals from fast food restaurants and gas station convenience stores. These foods tend to be high in fat and sugar, and low on nutrition. Combine that with lots of sugary soft drinks and a high reliance on heavily caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or red bull, and you have the recipe for an unhealthy driver.
Even drivers who want to eat right and make good choices find it difficult. This is because there just are very few good options for healthy food along’s America’s interstate systems. A varied diet for the typical driver might be donuts for breakfast, chips and a candy bar for lunch, and a burger and fries for dinner. When you’re lost in a sea of McDonald’s, Burger Kings, and Taco Bells, where can you turn for a healthier option?
What are some tips for eating healthy while driving?
The first piece of advice for drivers who want to watch their weight and avoid unhealthy food options is to stay away from eating at truck stops. They are filled with rows and rows of junk food, and even some of the healthier-seeming choices aren’t really that healthy. For instance, while nutritional bars and protein bars have a reputation for being a a healthy option, the reality is they are mostly high in sugar and calories.
Smart drivers who are health conscious will stock up on healthy food options at the grocery store before they start their trip. Good choices for the road include fresh fruit, like apples and bananas, granola, yoghurt, hummus and veggies, hard boiled eggs, mixed nuts, and whole wheat bread.
One of the best things a driver can do is to eliminate soda from their diet. Replacing soda with water will go a long way to improving your health. It’s also recommended that you drink no more than two cups of coffee per day.
Start your day off right by eating a healthy breakfast that’s full of nutrition. This might include eggs, granola, yoghurt, or oatmeal. Filling up on healthy choices in the morning will lower the temptation to make poor snack choices during the day.
Drivers with special dietary restrictions, whether they are lactose-intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, or on some other specific diet, face even more challenges while on the road. It makes planning out your meals and doing your research even more important.
The best part about buying food before you set out on the road, especially if you can buy in bulk, is that you’ll be saving money in addition to improving your health.
What other health tips make sense for truck drivers?
While diet is extremely important, it’s not the only factor that a trucker must consider in terms of their overall health. As mentioned above, a lack of exercise is another leading cause of medical problems among drivers. Getting up and moving around every couple of hours is important, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
Moreover, it is recommended that drivers exercise at least three times a week. Many drivers get a membership at a national gym that they will have access to in many different cities. For drivers for whom this is impractical, there are plenty of exercise routines that don’t involve any equipment that can be done anywhere. They include a mix of jogging, sprints, push ups, ab crunches, and more. There are a plethora of fitness apps that offer 10-20 minute exercise routines that are great for busy drivers who don’t have much time.
Another important factor for overall health is getting enough sleep. This can be hard for drivers who work busy schedules, but establishing a regular sleep routine can do wonders for your energy and over all health.
Finally, it’s critical that drivers get regular checkups. Regular doctor visits (every six to twelve months) can often uncover serious health issues before they become too dangerous and offer treatment or advice for how to maintain a healthy routine.
Saint John Capital Understands Trucking
With nearly 25 years of experience in the industry, Saint John Capital knows the challenges faced by drivers, especially when it comes to health. From our inception, our company has been focused exclusively on the trucking industry, and we make the health, happiness, and financial stability of our customers our top priority.
One key to good health is having the money and peace of mind to make the right decisions for a healthy lifestyle. Our focus on building mutually beneficial relationships with the drivers and fleet operators who count on us not only makes it possible for them to grow their business, but also to maintain their health. Our thorough knowledge of the daily challenges drivers face on a daily basis means that our customers are better prepared to meet their financial goals.
Every driver should approach their career like a business owner, and that means finding value everywhere they can. The full spectrum of services offered by Saint John Capital, including factoring, fleet card programs, and complimentary services, make it possible for truckers everywhere to save big in terms of both time and money.
Contact us today to learn more about how Saint John Capital can can help you become a better trucker.