Most drivers (and trucking companies) think about the maintenance of their truck much more often than taking care of the person behind the wheel.
For example, every professional driver starts his or her day off with a pre-trip inspection of the truck, but most don’t do anything for themselves. It’s time to change that!
As we discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, starting your day off on the right note can make a huge difference for your physical and mental health.
That’s why at The Trucking Fitness Company, we have developed a healthy pre-trip that includes three key tasks:
- Prepare one to two healthy snacks for the day
- Prepare as many zero or low-calorie drinks as you would like for the day
- Move for 5-10 minutes
If you missed Part 1, click here, and learn about 10 healthy snacks you can find at any truck stop! If you missed Part 2, click here, and you can read about healthy beverages you can stock your truck up with!
Let’s finish this series and dive into the final task of a healthy pre-trip – move for 5-10 minutes.
Did you know that 70% to 90% of truck drivers don’t exercise on a regular basis?
And it makes sense. It’s hard to find time to go, park your truck, and work out at a gym. Most drivers don’t feel comfortable and some don’t feel safe getting outside at a truck stop and getting their workout in. And many drivers, when they have time, don’t know what exercises they should be doing.
Later in this article, I’m going to talk about some misconceptions drivers have about exercising on the road.
But first, what’s so important about exercise?
Well exercise has many immediate and long-term benefits for your health. To name a few immediate benefits:
- Improves sleep
- Improves your mental health
- Reduces anxiety
- Helps you focus better throughout the day
- Increases energy
If you’re a truck driver, those are all really important things!
Long-term, it’s one of, if not the best, way to decrease your chances of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, even some cancers, and early death.
And I know, “early death” is pretty aggressive… But, it’s that serious.
According to research, around 10% of all early deaths are associated with an inadequate amount of exercise.
Pretty crazy right?
So, I think we are all on the same page and understand that exercise is important. But why just 5-10 minutes?
The answer to that is pretty simple – you have to start somewhere. And the benefit of 10 minutes a day can add up quickly.
A study released earlier this year found that over “110,000 U.S. deaths could be prevented each year if adults over 40 added 10 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity to their normal routines.”
And as I wrote above, I understand that you might not have the chance to do it every day, but even if you can only find 10 minutes, that’s 10 minutes more than you would be doing if you didn’t make the time!
Now, let’s talk about one of the biggest misconceptions drivers have about exercising on the road – you have to go to a gym to workout.
The truth is simple – you don’t.
Gyms are great. If you drive a local route or have a certain route that you do and know there’s a gym you can park your truck at and you have the time to go, great! Go to the gym. I think it can help you get in the right environment to get a good workout in.
But the truth is, most truck drivers don’t have that ability.
There’s often not enough time to get to the gym. There might not be a gym that will let you park your truck there. Or maybe gyms just aren’t your scene, which is fine, too.
Those are all valid points, but the problem that happens with most drivers is that instead of saying “okay, I can’t get to the gym. How can I get my workout in?” They use it as an excuse to say “It’s impossible to exercise on the road… blah blah blah.” And then they have every excuse in the world to not go exercise.
That is not going to cut it.
Because you can exercise anywhere in the world. At home, in your truck, at the truck stop, or anywhere you drive. It doesn’t matter.
Here are four ways you could check this task off and move for 5-10 minutes during your healthy pre-trip:
- Go for a walk around your truck or around the area you are parked at
- Do bodyweight exercises outside of your truck such as incline push-ups or air squats
- Do resistance band exercises in the back of your bunk
- Stretch in or outside of your truck
As a professional driver, your health is EVERYTHING.
If you don’t take care of it, it will eventually catch up to you. Which will affect your career, your family, and your life after trucking.
But with just a little bit of extra effort every single day, you can start fighting back! Now… I think you have a healthy pre-trip to do tomorrow morning!
Visit The Trucking Fitness Company and read more from Mark Manera
- Estimated Number of Deaths Prevented Through Increased Physical Activity Among US Adults by Saint-Maurice et al
- Sleep, Dietary, and Exercise Behavioral Clusters Among Truck Drivers with Obesity by Olsen et al
- Percentage of Deaths Associated With Inadequate Physical Activity in the United States by Carlson et al