It’s the beginning of a new year and most of us are feeling inspired and motivated by the resolutions we have made in the last few weeks. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that undoubtedly everyone has created at least once in their life, is to be healthier. We start the year off by setting goals, researching all the latest health trends, and we hit the gym more than we usually would.
As a professional truck driver, you spend much of your day sitting, with little physical activity. Then, when you arrive at a truck stop and get out of your truck, greasy fast food options overwhelmingly dominate, which is why drivers often ask us how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle while out on the road. We reached out to our C.R. England Driver Liaisons, who have a combined total of over 30 years of experience in the trucking industry, for their best health tips for life on the road. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult for anyone, whether they are on the road or not, but following these tips will make it a little bit easier.
Andrea Costello, Salt Lake City, UT
One of the most common things I hear from new drivers is that they have difficulty changing their diets to meet their new lifestyle. It’s important to evaluate your level of activity and to remember, food is fuel. If the engine isn’t running as much, it doesn’t need as much fuel. Where drivers spend more time in the seat, other areas need more support. Proper rest, staying alert, being prepared for changes, the ability to calculate and trip plan are just a few key examples. Energy drinks may seem like a good idea, but they can turn on you and become a crutch to bad habits. Drinking water in place of turbo caffeinated drinks and soda will serve you better in the long run. Having healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, jerky, and assorted nuts will increase your energy without increasing the waistline. Plan ahead and keep a cooler stocked with the best fuel for the best performance. During downtime, don’t fight the urge and take a couple laps around the parking lot or take a few minutes to stretch. You deserve to feel your best and be your best!
BC Chevis, Colton, CA
Before becoming a truck driver, I was physically in great shape, but I knew things would change once I began driving. Learning to become a smart driver, both mentally and physically, was a great challenge. Providing my body with the fuel it needed to perform my job well was a matter of simply making good decisions while out on the road. At first, it was tough. At every truck stop, fast food was the main food choice and was a great way to stay on the run. The unwanted pounds soon began to pack on and I made the choice to change my habit of seeking fast hunger satisfaction. An ice chest or cooler quickly became the source to hold the nourishment needed to replenish my body and the fuel needed to stay focused on my goal. Fruit became a good snack after chowing down a nice sandwich that was pre-prepared for a long haul and work day. Peanuts were also a great in-between filler for a small protein boost. The right amount of water daily is also a must. Staying away from fast food choices and making better meal decisions will save you from the pitfall of physical overload while on the road.
Nick Cottom, Laredo, TX
The best way to stay healthy on the road is to have a balanced diet. Once you’ve balanced your diet and limited calorie intake, you need to balance your calorie expenditure. “Calories in and calories out” is a good focus. It is a good idea to determine how many calories you need a day and if you burn more calories than you consume, the weight will drop. When I was driving, I would find the largest truck stops and park in the farthest parking spot from the building to force myself to walk to stay healthy on the road.
With many of us focusing our attention on our health and creating healthy habits this time of the year, try some of the tips above and see what works for you. You might be surprised at how easy, yet effective, these simple lifestyle changes are and the improvements they can make to your overall health while on the road.