One of the biggest lifestyle challenges facing over-the-road (OTR) truckers is maintaining healthy habits. The nature of the job is sedentary and the work can be somewhat monotonous. Eating, snacking and sitting most of the day is not conducive to good health. Small changes in your daily choices could make all the difference.
Truck stops offer a convenient break from the road. A driver can fuel, shower, eat, shop and even rectify maintenance issues all in one stop. Truck stops can be real time savers but there is another stop that, if added, could make a positive impact on your health and provide convenient nutritional options. That place is the grocery store.
Most grocery stores offer sufficient parking for tractor-trailers and usually the back of the parking lot is the best choice. This is good as it also creates an opportunity for a nice walk for legs that need a good stretch and some exercise. Once in the store, scout out easy to eat nutritious foods to add to your diet. Here are a few suggested healthy items:
- Pre-washed bags of lettuce or spinach
- Pre-washed and cut vegetables (to eat alone or put on your lettuce)
- Pre-washed and cut fruit
- Whole pieces of fruit that are easy to clean (apples, oranges, plums, bananas)
- Grilling meat (especially chicken and turkey breasts)
In addition to a healthy diet, it is equally important to exercise. Down time is the perfect time to add a convenient physical fitness activity of your choice to your day. Look for ways to incorporate walking or other forms of exercise into your daily routine. A set of weights or a resistance band can easily be stored in your cab for use in your free time. Thirty minutes of exercise a day really can make a difference.
Finally, do not overlook the importance of proper rest. Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of overall health. Adequate sleep is necessary for you to fight off infections, to support your metabolism and to work safely and effectively. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. If you are getting less sleep than that, adapt your schedule and include more sleep in your routine.
There are plenty of options out there that promote healthy living so don’t take the easy road. With proper food choices and strategy, you can rise to the challenge and improve your health. It’s all up to you.