Healthy Habits When You’re Out On The Road

A healthy lifestyle is key for the Long Distance Truck Driver

One of the biggest challenges for long-haul truck drivers, also known as over-the-road (OTR) trucker,  is to maintain a healthy lifestyle while out on the road. OTR truck drivers travel long distances and can be away from home for weeks at a time. Trucking is a tough job that often leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.  Many truck drivers rely on enormous amounts of caffeine and junk food to pass the time and get energy.

Rest stops can exacerbate this problem if they offer limited healthy food choices. At some truck stops, you can fuel, shower, eat and possibly even have your truck worked on, which can save you time by making one stop instead of several places to get food. However, staying healthy is essential. It’s critical for your well-being, as well as for success in your career. Establishing healthy habits can help prevent burnout and keep you energized throughout the day.

Here are 5 Health Tips for Over The Road Truck Drivers

1. Eating Healthy on the Go 

Most grocery stores have sufficient parking for tractor-trailers, although you may have to walk a little farther. That walking is a good thing, especially after sitting for long periods of time while driving. Here is some easy-to-eat nutritious food that you can pick up, even at gas stations: healthy food
  • Pre-washed bags of lettuce and spinach
  • Pre-washed and cut vegetables
  • Pre-washed and cut fruit
  • Whole pieces of fruit that are easy to clean
  • Grilling meat (especially chicken and turkey breasts)

For the grilling meat, you would need to have a portable grill. Fortunately, those are easily accessible at most large department stores and large chain grocery stores such Wal-Mart or Target. It’s a great way to cook nutritious food on the go.

2. Exercise  exercise

Exercise is hard when you are an OTR driver. When do you find time to exercise after you drive for 11 hours straight, then take 10 hours off and then you are back at it again, repeating the cycle. Here are some suggestions you might consider:

  • Folding bicycles can be stowed in the sleeper berth compartment and then tossed up in the passenger seat when it is time to go to bed. While parked at a truck stop, you can ride around the outer edges of the parking lot to avoid traffic, or in a rest area. Some truck stops have small trails you can follow.
  • Running shoes are an inexpensive option and very easy to store. You can go walking or jogging in the same places you would ride a bicycle.
  • Weights can be just as effective, although you want to be careful in your selections. Make sure you have a good place to secure them. You do not want them to roll under your acceleration pedal, brake or clutch. That could be deadly.
  • Pedometers can be used in conjunction with the bicycle or running shoes, allowing you to track your progress. Tracking your progress is a fantastic motivator.
  • Body weight exercises like pushups, situps, yoga, lunges, squats and planks can give you a good workout without the need for equipment.

3. Rest trucker sleep

Quality rest is essential to good health. You live in the cab of your truck, so don’t skimp on the mattress and pillow you buy for your truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) actually dictates what must be included in a sleeper berth at § 393.76 (e). Invest in a good quality berth mattress with the firmness you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Another good idea is to make sure you have a portable fan and heater. If your truck breaks down and you are going to sleep while you wait for the repair, then you will need something portable to keep you warm or cool, as the need may be. Also, consider getting a white noise machine can be useful to block out outside noises.

You need to get as much sleep as possible in your 10 hours off and, to do that, your sleeping conditions must be as comfortable and as quiet as possible.

4. Mind

The job can be boring. Mile after mile after mile of monotonous roads, trees, and signs. You can easily become distracted or you can think too much. Changing up the driving routine can help you stay alert and fresh:

  • Audio books. Purchase or rent audio books and listen to your favorite authors while you drive. Use the opportunity to learn about subjects that fascinate you.
  • Language tapes. You do not have to have the goal of becoming fluent in another language, but you can learn some phrases. This is especially useful if you deal with a number of individuals who speak a different language. Learn a few of things to say in their language. The amount of respect you will earn will be insurmountable.
  • Music. Branch out in your taste of music.  Your options are numerous. Choosing songs you can sing-a-long to or vary the style of music to help keep your alert.

5. Family trucker family

Traveling long distances, spending time away from home can put a strain on maintaining a healthy family life. It is so easy to come home after weeks on the road and either vegetate or be so involved with household chores that you could neglect your family. One way to connect with your family while home is share stories of your travels and pictures you take along the way

Tell your children in advance where you will be driving. Have them look up the history of a couple of places. Then you can take pictures of those areas you have them doing research on. When you return home, set aside time, at least an hour, and have the children tell you all they learned and then you, in turn, share the pictures you took. It will be a learning experience for them, and you can bond while you do it.

Get an audiobook for yourself and the same paper book for your spouse. When you talk together on the phone or on Skype, you can share what you liked most about the book. You might find you have even more in common than you ever realized.

Other Resources:

What a 1500 calorie diet looks like