Long-haul commercial truck driving is one of the toughest professions on the planet; the job typically requires drivers to spend days, weeks and sometimes even months out on the road. This type of isolation can have harmful long-term physical and psychological effects on a driver’s health and well-being.
Here are 5 ways to mitigate these effects and help drivers stay healthier – and happier – in spite of long stretches away from home, family and friends. These tips can help drivers combat the negative aspects of being a professional truck driver.
1. Participate in a wellness program
Wellness programs, such as our Rolling Strong program, have proven to be a successful way truckers can maintain a healthy lifestyle. Rolling Strong includes:
A personalized meal plan designed by industry-leading nutritionists
A mobile app that will show you healthy places to eat in your vicinity, including what menu items fit in your meal plan
Virtual exercise program
Integration with your Fitbit
Reward points for exercising, eating right and sleeping that can be redeemed for rewards like gift cards
Social media interaction and support with other users, including competitions to earn extra reward points
Unlimited telephone wellness coaching
Free vouchers for blood sugar testing
Nutritional guide to over 3,000 restaurants in the U.S.
Over 8,000 free health check stations
DOT exam discounts
Discount for flu vaccine
Tips on nutrition
On-demand audio/videos on topics related to health and wellness
Click here to learn more about the Rolling Strong wellness program.
2. Explore fitness options
Driving for long stretches gives truckers a small window of opportunity to commit to a consistent food and exercise plan. AAOO offers the WOW & NOW Get Healthy program that features a Workout of the Week (WOW) and Nutrition of the Week (NOW) video that is uploaded to our website, making it easy for truckers to stay consistent with their wellness goals. Some truckers opt to bring their bicycles to take advantage of bike paths where they can park and get some exercise. There are also stretches and exercises you can do in your truck that can be found online.
3. Plan your meals
Meal planning is essential for staying on track with your food plan. A majority of truckers eat on the run, often sabotaging their dietary goals. It isn’t always practical to prepare meals in your truck, but you can stock your truck with healthy snack options, giving you energy and reducing your craving for junk food. The Rolling Strong fast-food nutritional guide offers information on reduced-calorie options in over 3,000 restaurants in the U.S.
4. Keep up with doctor appointments
Chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart diseases, can be linked to long, sedentary periods of time, such as long-haul truck driving. Make sure you follow through on your annual physical exam to ensure you head off an illness before it progresses. Yearly vaccinations can also help prevent diseases, such as the flu, that affect you while on the road.
5. Track your progress
Once you have set realistic goals, begin recording your workouts, water and caloric intake and mood for the day. Tracking your progress can help you stay on track toward your ultimate goal of a healthier lifestyle. MyFitnessPal is a popular smart phone app that you can use to log your exercise, diet and water intake.
Here at AAOO we strongly recommend that you make proactive health pursuits a priority in order to get and stay healthy and avoid costly accidents. We are committed to supporting your efforts to improve your health. AAOO offers a comprehensive, customized health and wellness plan for drivers, as well as other member benefits. Click here to learn more.