Being on the road is undeniably a tough job. After getting through a truck driving school, you’re bound to get into a lifestyle that revolves mostly around being behind the wheel for hours, eating store-bought goods and sticking to habits that may put your health at risk. But don’t fret, as you can lower these risks. The first step is recognising the health issues common among truck drivers. Here are some of them.
Spending most of your day behind the wheel means you don’t have enough time to work out and prep and cook healthy meals. Also, truck drivers often have a microwave in their cabin that allows them to heat ready-made items on the go. Unhealthy food and lack of exercise are a combination that usually causes obesity.
The solution? You have to be mindful of your food choices while on the long haul. Instead of sticking to fast food and ready-made food items, make sure you spend your stopovers in areas where there are shops that offer freshly made meals. Don’t forget to get a side salad or any leafy vegetables when eating in these shops. And make it a habit to go on a ten to 15-minute walk after every meal or whenever you’re at a truck stop. Doing that simple exercise consistently can be a huge help.
Also, stock up on healthy snacks that you enjoy munching. You won’t be tempted to buy sodas, chips and candy bars at the gas station if you already have a stash of nuts, dried fruits and protein bars in your track.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing while they’re sleeping. A person with OSA can experience hundreds of pauses in breathing throughout a single night. If left untreated, OSA can lead to other diseases, like hypertension, heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
Truck drivers who smoke, are obese and have unhealthy lifestyles are at risk of OSA. So to lower your risk of OSA, you must keep a healthier lifestyle while on the job. Be sure to eat healthy food, drink lots of water and take enough rest while on the trip. And if you are already diagnosed with sleep apnea, always bring your portable CPAP machine (a common treatment device for OSA). That way, you can breathe properly even when you’re sleeping in truck stops and the sleeper cab.
Repetitive strains & related injuries
Sitting on the same seat and driving a huge truck for hours can cause neck, back and shoulder injuries. The repetitive movements and posture can also lead to muscle spasms and other injuries. But there are a few ways to avoid such aches & injuries.
Be sure to do some body stretching exercises during your stops. You should also take proper rests over a long trip to refresh your body. Don’t push your body to the limit by skipping truck stops just to cut your trip short and make more deliveries in one day. And if you already feel some muscle spasms or strains, make sure to consult with a doctor. That way, you can get a proper diagnosis and necessary treatment plan.
Mental health issues
Life on the road can be lonely—you’re far away from your family and friends. That’s why truck drivers are also at risk of mental health issues like depression and isolation. But there are things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy while on the job.
For instance, before your head out on a long haul, create a concrete plan to stay in touch with your loved ones. Commit to video-chatting or calling them before you fall asleep or when you wake up every day on the road. It also helps to join an online trucking community. When you’re on a long haul, you’ll likely cross paths with some of those people you talk to on Facebook groups or other messaging groups. You can have a chance to enjoy a healthy meal and conversation during stopovers.
And if you feel that you’re already experiencing depression, ask for help. Depression is a real condition you can manage or overcome with the help of a professional.