Five Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle on the RoadFreightliner Trucks On-Highway Newsletter
Working out of a truck can create roadblocks to healthy living. Typically, drivers don’t have set schedules, rely on truck stops for nourishment, and sit for long stretches of time. Over time, this could lead to various health problems, including weight gain, back pain, and lethargy.
Here are five tips to help drivers maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road.
1. Prepare your own meals.
At the end of a long shift, it may be unlikely that a driver is up for preparing a healthy homemade dinner and may just opt to purchase a snack inside the truck stop. Meal planning can be time consuming, but driver Jeannie Lennox recommends buying groceries that allow you to cook off the cuff. Some of her staples are organic produce, oils, seasonings, organic chicken and beef, wild caught salmon, quinoa, canned beans, and lentils. Most meals can be prepared with an electric skillet.
The new Cascadia® features a variety of configurations to provide customizable living-space options on the road, including a Driver’s Lounge that features a larger microwave cabinet that will accommodate standard appliances and a new, larger refrigerator with matching cabinetry or a customer-supplied refrigerator option. In addition to cooking healthy meals, Jeannie recommends swapping sugary drinks for water and keeping healthy snacks on-hand, such as fruit, nuts, trail mix, and smoothies to curb hunger in between breaks.
2. Get enough sleep.
Studies have shown that on average, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to be their most productive selves. In order to get a good night’s sleep, it’s best to stick to a schedule and avoid caffeine and spicy or greasy foods a few hours before bedtime. Ease into sleep by turning off electronics, and use a fan or white noise machine to drown out disruptive sounds.
The new Cascadia offers a traditional double-bunk arrangement option available with a new, easily released telescoping ladder rated at 400 lb. And the Driver Loft features a two-seat dinette/work table and opposing seating with seat belts. These can be folded flat to allow a full, Murphy-style bed to swing down in less than 30 seconds. The 72” raised roof Driver’s Lounge also comes standard with LED ambient lighting and dimmer switch so drivers can personalize their light levels.
3. Stretch and exercise.
Drivers often experience lower back pain and neck pain, but this can sometimes be alleviated by simple stretching. Tara Schaub reviews five different stretches to help with back pain, and Derek McClain reviews four stretches to help with neck pain. Back pain can be caused by weak muscles supporting the spine. These can be strengthened with moderate daily exercise, such as a brisk walk, biking, and weightlifting. Drivers can even get in a workout right in their cab with the FIT System. Drivers will experience a new level of comfort with the new Cascadia though, because it features an ergonomically designed wraparound dashboard that includes switches and steering wheel controls, allowing drivers to work without leaning and stretching, reducing tension on the body.
4. Manage stress.
Sometimes stress levels can be elevated for drivers because of tight deadlines and heavy traffic. However, learning how to deal with stress in a healthy way can prevent related health issues, including heart disease, depression, and anxiety. Darrell Hirengen suggests taking deep breaths, keeping a stress journal to identify triggers, reducing caffeine consumption, getting enough sleep, and exercising daily.
5. Wear sunscreen.
Drivers may not think to apply sunscreen daily because they’re inside a truck, but the driver side window does not block the sun’s UV rays, so technically drivers are in the sun all day long. In addition to applying SPF 30+ sunscreen, drivers can protect themselves from skin cancer by covering their skin with long-sleeve shirts, wearing a baseball hat to shield their face from the sun, and wearing sunglasses. Learn more about skin damage from Tara Schaub.