How to Be a Healthier Owner Operator
Driving a commercial truck is, for the most part, a sedentary way of life. The long periods of time driving on the road can easily lead to weight gain. Excessive weight can lead to a large number of health problems; by the same token, losing weight can have a tremendous positive impact on your health.
Obesity is a significant issue among commercial truck drivers. One study found that 69 percent of all long haul truck drivers in the U.S. are overweight. Long hours driving behind the wheel, in combination with limited healthy food options on the road and lack of access to exercise facilities, contribute to the difficulty drivers have staying fit.
There are many reasons to lose weight if you’re in that 69 percent of overweight drivers. Here are 15 ways to justify your need to lose weight that will help spark your motivation to get those pounds off!
1. Keep your commercial driver’s license
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) requires medical evaluations that indicate no history of obesity-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes that can impair driving ability.
2. Lower your risk for diabetes
Even dropping a few pounds can have a big impact on your overall health. One of the many benefits of losing weight is a reduced diabetes risk. The beneficial effects of weight loss include decreased body fat, intra-abdominal fat and liver fat, and increased insulin sensitivity in liver, muscle and fat tissues. Better insulin sensitivity means better control because your body needs insulin to absorb blood sugar.
3. Lower your risk for high blood pressure
Losing as little as five to ten pounds can help lower your blood pressure. With extra weight, your body has to work harder, which can damage blood vessels and harden your arteries.
4. Improve your overall heart health
In addition to lowering your blood pressure, losing weight will improve your overall heart health by improving the metabolic functioning of your heart as well as decreasing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as plasma triglyceride concentration. Losing even a small amount of weight can help your body reduce your risk for coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
5. Lower your risk of cancer
Your weight impacts your hormones and immune system, both of which impacts your risk for developing cancer. While the relationship between cancer and weight is still being researched, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8 percent of all cancers in the U.S.
6. Relieve pressure on your joints
Being overweight increases your risk of pain, wear and tear on your joints. The more weight that’s bearing down on your joint, the more likely it is to cause wear and tear on the joint. Losing extra weight reduces the amount of pressure on your joints and lowers the risk of arthritis.
7. Lower your level of inflammation
Inflammation can get out of control in people who are overweight. Excess body weight is strongly linked to inflammation, especially if there is excess weight in the abdomen area. The markers of inflammation go down with even a 5 or 10 percent reduction in body weight.
8. Lower your risk of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea (you literally stop breathing in your sleep) is linked with being overweight or obese. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can drastically reduce – and in some cases, eliminate – sleep apnea.
9. Better overall sleep
Believe it or not, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain. But, if you lose weight, you will sleep better and snore less. People who lose as little as 15 pounds show improvement in the quality of their sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, there is a great book called Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success. It has lots of different tips and tricks to help you sleep better.
10. Improve your outlook
Your mood will be improved by losing weight. Research has shown that losing even just 5 percent of body weight will give you an improved mood. Weight loss has been proven to alleviate depressive symptoms.
11. More energy
Each bit of weight you lose will give you more energy. As you drop the weight you will lower your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and improve sleep quality, all of which increase your energy levels. Exercise itself has also been shown to boost your energy.
12. Better self-esteem
Although body positivity is important no matter what your weight, achieving a health goal can boost your confidence. Improving your mood will also lead to a boost in self-esteem and feelings of empowerment.
13. Increased sex drive
More self-confidence and energy can lead to an increase in your libido. People who have experienced weight loss report an improvement in desire, arousal, and sexual satisfaction.
14. Motivation to follow healthier habits
It’s true – when you start to feel the effects of weight loss, it will increase your motivation to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
15. Extend your chances of living longer
Being overweight increases your overall mortality risk. For every two pounds you lose, your life expectancy goes up.
Though it may seem impossible, it is possible for truck drivers to lose weight. AAOO is here to help you achieve your weight loss and other health-related goals. Check out our WoWs (Workouts of the Week) and NoWs (Nutritions of the Week) to find great exercises and healthy recipes/foods you can make on the road.