If you’re thinking of becoming a truck driver, we know you’ve considered the positives. You can see the world in a way very few people can see it. You get to peek beyond the tourist spots and into the daily lives of real people, transitioning through the hidden gems of towns that you don’t get to see on travel blogs. You get to spend a lot of quality time with yourself and the open road, which can give you the sensation of freedom and the opportunity to get to know yourself in a way that a lot of people don’t. You’ll have the knowledge that the work you do keeps the country and the economy running. But like with any job, driving a truck does have health concerns and risks that you can mitigate. Here are a few tips to help keep you healthy on the road! Please note – we are not doctors or mental health professionals, so please just take these as tips and seek further treatment or assistance from a qualified professional if you need it.
You’ve probably seen the shots of 5 Hour Energy or bottles of energy drinks specifically marketed towards truck drivers. It is so essential to factor sleeping into your schedule, not only for your own health and safety, but also for the health and safety of the other travelers on the road. Sleep is incredibly important for your health – it is during a good night’s sleep that your body releases hormones that help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Lack of sleep can result in high blood pressure, poor heart function, and even heart disease.
Sleep also helps regulate your metabolism, which contributes to your risk of diabetes and influences your mood, energy levels, and mental function. Sleep also helps your body recover from the day and regulate your immune system – poor sleep can lead to inflammation.
Although your schedule might not keep your sleep hours regular, it’s important that you do not neglect sleep altogether. You are operating a large vehicle that could do some serious damage should you make a mistake, and sleep helps increase alertness and reaction time. Driver fatigue is listed as one of the major causes of severe truck accidents, so make sure you put down the can of Monster and pull into a truck stop for the night.
While on the road, it can be difficult to select healthier food options, but it’s not impossible. Do your research ahead of time and note where there are healthier options available. Beyond this, ensure that you pre-pack healthy options for yourself. A few jars of healthy options like almonds and seeds, as well as vitamins or supplements you can mix with water on the road, can help ensure you’re not missing vital nutrients. When possible, select whole food options from grocery stores rather than fast-food meals, which tend to contain lots of bad fats and chemical contaminants.
If you’re on the road a lot, you’re probably a coffee drinker. This is completely okay, but what you might want to reconsider is the amount of sugar or processed dairy you put inside your coffee, as these ingredients can really add up if you’re having several cups of coffee a day.
When you’re driving, you’re often sitting in the same position all day. When off work or on breaks, be sure to stretch. You also want to ensure that you’re getting some more demanding exercise at least twice per week. This could be lifting weights, running, gardening, or hiking.
While it might feel like you’ve gotten your nature requirements for health while driving, you probably haven’t. Looking at nature from within a vehicle doesn’t provide the same health benefits that being in nature does. Try to get to a park, beach, or trail twice a week so that you can soak up all those mood-boosting and immunity-boosting benefits.
Having social interactions is important for everyone’s well-being. Humans are pack animals, and our bodies function best when we’re absorbing other people’s pheromones from time to time. The solitary nature of truck driving is often what draws people to it, but ensuring that when off work, you socialize and interact with members of a community is important for your overall wellbeing.
These tips should help you promote your physical and mental health while driving a truck for a living. It is also worth noting that truck driving offers several benefits to mental health that other jobs don’t. Having independence and time alone is critical for self-worth and developing a strong sense of identity. Many truck drivers also take advantage of their lengthy drives to listen to podcasts on topics they want to learn more about or listen to audiobooks. Just be sure that nothing you’re listening to draws your attention from the road.
Take care of yourself and drive safe!