A healthy trucker lifestyle is within reach. Finding happiness within a career takes time and flexibility. Many drivers we chat with share about their love for traveling and seeing the country firsthand. Some enjoy the solitude of being alone out on the open roads. Still others find the work extremely rewarding. After all, truckers deliver America’s goods cross country to keep our lives going as we know it! But the reality of the trucking lifestyle can be significantly less warm and fuzzy. Keeping your mental and physical wellness in check while on the road can be a challenge, so we’ve outlined five ways to live a healthy trucker lifestyle.
A good night’s rest will help your health. Your quality of sleep directly relates to all facets of your well-being, behavior, and cognitive performance. The saying ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’ isn’t far off. Lack of sleep results in a variety of health issues. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shares that, “Fatigue and sleepiness can reduce productivity and increase the chance for mishaps such as medical errors and motor vehicle or industrial accidents.” The brain craves adequate time to recharge, just like your body needs rest after a workout, otherwise you’re left susceptible to illness and injury.
As a driver, you may not be able to maintain total consistency with a scheduled sleep time, but it’s a good idea to try. The Sleep Foundation also suggests creating a relaxing bedroom environment by “using a white noise machine or earplugs to drown out loud noises,” and keeping the temperature around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Looking for a white noise app? Try Relaxio. Climbing out of the cab’s sleeping berth and getting sleep in a bed from time to time while on the road can be small luxury. If you’re in the Portland, OR area, the Portlander Inn is a convenient, economic, and comfortable option!
Mindfulness and meditation have existed for thousands of years, and for good reason. Out on the road, you have plenty of time to think deeply but you also might find yourself focusing on stressors. Truckers frequently deal with stressful driving situations, and like all people, have work, family, and other things that can interfere with their wellbeing. Taking the time to slow down, relax and release distracting thoughts are all good ways to help relax your mind.
Meditation can feel awkward and uncomfortable when you get started. Thankfully, with smart phone technology at your fingertips, there are plenty of different apps that you can use. Having an app guide you through a meditation session can help you unwind and get in the right headspace. Calm is a popular app and sometimes available from your health insurance provider. Other options include MyLife, a free, personalized solution. Apps can also introduce you to other mindfulness techniques like deep breathing which many also find relaxing.
Bring a Companion
While most over the road drivers like having space and alone time, everyone has a limit. Humans are social creatures after all. Some drivers have partners that will accompany them on trips and even co-pilot, but this isn’t always feasible. One way to get a healthy dose of interaction is to get a pet! A companion on the road with you won’t necessarily make you a healthy trucker, but it can improve your quality of life. Trucker dogs, and even cats, are popular within the trucking community. Having a pet on the road with you certainly comes with its own challenges, but the companionship can make it worth it. Some truck stops and hotels even accommodate your furry friends. At the Jubitz Truck Stop we have a dog wash station for your pup and the Portlander Inn has designated pet-friendly rooms.
Finding balanced dining options might be the biggest health-related challenge drivers face. When you’re on the road and trying to get to places on a schedule, it’s understandable to utilize fast options. Fast food, unsurprisingly, is readily available and satisfies the desire for hot food quickly. This convenience can take a toll on folks trying to be a healthy trucker. We’re not going to be unrealistic and say to cut fast food out completely! By nature, total deprivation doesn’t typically support long term goals. Instead, consider making small changes. Here are five ideas:
- Hydrate well! Sometimes dehydration will mask itself as hunger.
- Cut down fast-food intake to only a couple meals a week.
- Get leftover containers or boxes so you can portion out meals.
- Prep your own meals to last a few days on the road.
- Add at least one serving of fruits or vegetables to every meal.
Bonus, some of these tips will also help you save some money too!
When ordering, menus sometimes include nutritional information about the dishes. At the Cascade Grill, we offer healthy choices under 500 calories like Triple Citrus Chicken! This can be helpful if you’re trying to manage your caloric intake. Ready to whip your eating into shape? Like the slogan says, there’s an app for that. Both free and premium apps are available to track your food habits. MyFitnessPal is a popular option.
Move Your Body
There’s no way to write an article about health without mentioning physical activity. After a long day of driving, it can be hard to find the motivation to move. Luckily, staying active doesn’t have to be a grueling punishment to your body. Getting out of the cab and taking even a fifteen-minute walk in fresh air will make a difference. Stretching and strengthening muscles that might get neglected during the drive will also keep you nimble. While you don’t need any equipment to get moving, a jump rope and small dumbbells travel well and offer a source of cardio and strength training.
If you’re looking for more ideas, again, your smart phone is your friend. Access apps and videos that can guide you in an equipment-less workout, yoga flow, or other activity. If you’re treating yourself to a hotel, find one that has a designated fitness area! The Portlander Inn has an indoor workout space however current COVID policies are limiting its use. When it is open, it’s only $5 to use for non-Portlander Inn guests and free with a stay. Other environments include the dance floor at the Ponderosa Lounge and Grill, the great outdoors or even your truck! Here’s a seated yoga video.
Holistic health can seem difficult when you live a life on the road but working in a few healthy habits at a time will help them stick. There are resources in all areas of health available nowadays, so if you need professional help in any of these areas you can find it. As truckers and drivers, it can be challenging to prioritize health. Implementing small changes to your routine will be rewarding for your mind and body and ensure you can do the work you love while living a healthy trucker lifestyle. Jubitz campus offers driver-friendly amenities and services like fresh food options, a dog wash station for your pup, the Portlander Inn hotel and more.
This article includes links to third party organizations. These resources are provided as educational references. Jubitz is not being sponsored to promote them. The Portlander Inn, Cascade Grill, Ponderosa Lounge and Grill are all entities under the Jubitz Corporation.