It’s one thing to stay on top of your health at home, but truck drivers face many extra challenges being on the road for long lengths of time. Over-the-road truck drivers are twice as likely to develop obesity, predisposing you to hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. There are specific health requirements you must meet to get your CDL, which may vary from state to state.
6 Tips for Staying Healthy as an OTR Truck Driver
These health tips apply to anyone traveling long-distance. Whether you’re a long-haul driver or a touring musician, bringing these habits into the fold of your daily routine will ensure good health for many years.
1. Eat clean.
Next time you stop at a convenience store, consider grabbing some almonds rather than a candy bar; a chicken caesar salad rather than a hot dog. By substituting high preservative foods and red meat for lean protein and clean carbs, you’ll be on the fast track to a healthier and happier you. It’s easier said than done, but the Jubitz Travel Center in Portland, OR gives you many options. Stop at Moe’s Deli for freshly made-to-order sandwiches.
A very popular way to eat healthy while also saving money is to prepare your meals ahead of time. Rather than relying on stores across the country that don’t always have the most nutritious options, fully complement your diet with a home-cooked dish. If your commercial truck has a refrigerator, you can store up to seven days worth of meals. For starters, try cooking up lean proteins like chicken and rice, then storing it into reusable food containers for on-the-go eating.
2. Wear sunscreen.
Summer is upon us, and your skin demands sunscreen. Standard truck side windows do not protect your face from ultraviolet (UV) A radiation. Factor in the up to 70-hour workweek that OTR truck drivers have, and you can see how quickly the sun exposure adds up.
Use a broad spectrum UVA sunscreen for maximum protection from premature skin aging.
3. Avoid driver burnout.
No matter the job, we are all prone to burnout – but it’s especially important that truck drivers don’t overwork themselves. Since the trucking and shipping industry is 24/7, it is very likely you have an irregular schedule to meet the on-demand needs of dispatchers.
Seven hours of sleep is recommended to be fully alert for the day. While you may not always be able to get a full night’s rest, here are some proactive pointers to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Block light from coming into your cab; fatigue can come at any time of the day. In order to fall asleep quicker, consider shades or curtains for your truck windows.
- Cancel out traffic noise with earbuds; there’s nothing worse than being woken up out of deep sleep. With truck stops and rest areas being open all hours of the day, there’s a high chance that someone else’s truck could disrupt your rest.
- Reduce your screen time before bed; the blue light emitted from your smartphone has a dire effect on your ability to fall asleep quickly. Either turn your screens off early or use a blue light filter.
- Don’t eat before going to bed; a midnight snack is always tempting, but eating right before bed can bring you heartburn in your sleep. Try not to eat within one to three hours before going to bed.
Jubitz has 18 reserved paid parking spaces, in addition to our first come, first serve parking.
4. Stay hydrated.
It is no secret that our bodies are 60% water, and that constant hydration is necessary to expel metabolic waste and toxins from our systems. Everyone should drink a half-gallon of water per day in order to stay hydrated, leaving you more energized and alert. You might even see weight loss benefits.
5. Exercise regularly.
There is no doubt that this tip is the most difficult to achieve on the road, however, regular exercise is important no matter what type of work you do. After a long day behind the wheel, you may be tempted to relax. Instead, spend 15 minutes taking a brisk walk or stretching. You’ll feel rejuvenated by the fresh air, and decompressed from the confines of your truck seat.
6. Improve your posture.
When all is said and done, your truck is your office where you spend most of your time. Lower back pain and sciatica are premature career killers that you can prevent.
- Invest in a proper driver seat; this is your throne. Seats equipped with lumbar support will significantly improve your driving experience.
- Don’t sit still; your spine needs to relieve pressure. Adjust your seat every 30 minutes.
- Keep your seat high; a low seat encourages slouching. Seat high, elbows tucked.
One Step at a Time
Truck driving can be a very rewarding job, but also incredibly taxing on your mind and body. The journey to better health is all about developing good habits over time. Take a walk. Do stretches. Drink more water. It all adds up.