Life as a truck driver can be incredibly rewarding, and we need drivers to keep goods stocked across the country. Unfortunately, life on the road can be challenging, especially when it comes to maintaining your health. These are a few of the most common truck driver health issues, as outlined by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).
Obesity is by far the most common among truck driver health issues. According to the CDC, truck drivers are two times more likely to be obese than the rest of the U.S. working population. Being overweight is the precursor to a litany of other health problems, including, but not limited to:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult when you’re on the road for most of your day, and this is especially true for long-haul truck drivers. It’s not easy, but it can be done.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is another one of the common truck driver health issues. Hypertension happens when your blood pressure rises and remains high for extended periods of time, which puts extra strain on your heart. This can lead to heart disease or a stroke, which the CDC lists as current leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the CDC, 26% of truck drivers are affected by hypertension, while 24% of the U.S. working population is affected.
Diabetes, which is the presence of excess sugar in the blood, is also a common truck driver health issue. This condition, like obesity, tends to lead to further health complications, including, but not limited to:
- heart disease
- kidney failure
Life as a truck driver comes with special challenges that need to be addressed by anyone hoping to make it into a successful career while maintaining a reasonably healthy lifestyle. We have mentioned before that there is a truck driver shortage, and part of that is due to current drivers being forced to leave the industry due to health issues that make life on the road unsustainable. This result can be avoided with a little planning and willpower.
First and foremost, the CDC recommends 2.5 hours of exercise per week, or 30 minutes a day for 5 days. According to the CDC, “only 1 out of 4 men and 1 out of 5 women drivers said they exercised for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.” This means 25% of male drivers and 20% of female drivers get the appropriate amount of exercise per week. These numbers are much too small. Allotting time for physical activity is critical for keeping your body healthy, especially truck drivers that are required to sit still for hours at a time while they’re on the road. Bring small things with you, such as dumbbells, a kettlebell, a jump rope, and a resistance band. These items can help drivers mix up their workouts to keep them interesting and challenging.
Another important factor is diet. It is more difficult to eat healthy on the road, and fast food is fast! While the need for convenience is understandable, a little pre-planning and preparation can go a long way for any truck driver that is trying to eat healthier while they’re out on a job. This is easier if you have a small fridge on your rig, but it can be done even without one. Choose healthy options that don’t require refrigeration, and if you need to stop for a meal, look for somewhere that has healthier options to choose from.
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