As a truck driver, you have loads of responsibility and in the hustle and bustle of days on the road, it’s all too easy to form bad habits, take personal shortcuts, and simply forget about being responsible for your own personal health and well-being.
The average day for you, if there is such a thing, might include inspecting your truck and trailer, checking messages, logging hours, monitoring the weather, navigating traffic, dropping or unloading cargo, and making sure it all happens within the allotted timeframe.
While it’s not always easy, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a truck driver, but no one is going to do it for you. Make these 6 healthy tips a habit, and enjoy the benefits of more energy and less stress all year long.
1. Drink plenty of water.
It sounds obvious, but so many of us fail to drink enough water. And since our bodies are over half water, it’s a really big deal. Many health issues can stem from dehydration so always keep a bottle or two in your cab and drink it throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. Shoot for at least 1-2 liters a day.
2. Rethink what you eat.
It’s easy to reach for that bag of chips or to grab a cheeseburger and fries from a fast food place, but that’s just the stuff that’ll cause poor health. Instead, make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether frozen, canned, or raw. They give your immune system a huge boost and can also help you lost weight and sleep better. Balance the veggies with some protein-packed meat such as chicken or turkey and you’ll have a tasty meal that’s actually helping you instead of hurting you.
3. Rethink the way you eat.
You don’t need to go on some strict diet to lose weight or be healthier. It’s perfectly fine to have eggs and bacon for breakfast, but the key is to focus on eating smaller portions at each meal. Even if you end up eating more than the typical three square meals a day, having smaller portions is one of the best ways to manage your weight. Also, make an effort to cook for yourself whenever possible. Not only is it typically healthier
4. Get plenty of sleep.
To keep your body and mind at their sharpest, make sure you’re getting a full 8-hours of rest. If possible, it’s a good idea to get your body into a regular sleep cycle with a consistent bedtime and rising time. Get some curtains for your sleeper berth to make it as dark as possible and try sleeping with earplugs and a sleeper mask to maximize your body’s melatonin level. Avoid watching TV or surfing the internet before bed as screens can be stimulating and prevent you from falling asleep.
5. Get up and move.
It’s hard to do when your job requires you to regularly be in the driver’s seat, but don’t let that be an excuse for a lack of exercise or back and body soreness. Start your day by stretching, you can even do it right in your sleeper if you want. When it’s time for inspections, do a little job around your rig. Start wearing a pedometer to see how many steps you take a day, then try to top that number the next day. Exercising a couple hours before bedtime may even help you fall asleep easier.
6. Set time aside to de-stress.
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of maintaining a healthy mind. Driving truck is bound to be stressful at times so it’s important to find moments to unwind and get your mind off the job. Try bringing a hobby on the road with you like a fishing pole, book, or digital camera to capture shots of where you’ve traveled. To keep your mind busy while you’re driving, try listening to audiobooks or language learning tapes. Most importantly, spend time with friends or loved ones as much as possible, even if it’s just a phone or video call.
Choosing to live a healthier 2019 is something only you can do. It won’t always be easy, but the more you do it the more natural it will become. Start small by focusing on just one of the above tips. Once you’ve made it a habit you’ll start to see the benefits and soon each healthy tip will become part of your new routine.
Now that you have a more healthy plan for yourself in 2019, head on over to uscargocontrol.com to get your tractor and trailer geared up for the year ahead.