Life on the road for truckers can become sedentary with minimal time for exercise and multiple opportunities to make poor fast food meal choices. The constant commute can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. To avoid burnout and health-related issues, we’ve come up with 5 tips you can start doing today to help get you on your way to better health this year.
1. Drink water
Restricting the amount of fluid you intake on long trips can increase the degree to which you experience inattention and fatigue. Dehydration can negatively impact your mental clarity, reaction time, focus, concentration, thinking, and mood while driving. To prevent this from happening and stay hydrated, attentive and awake on the road, the Institute of Medicine suggests that men should drink about 13 cups of water a day, and women should drink 9 cups a day1.
2. Get more sleep
Sleep apnea is a major issue in the trucking industry with driver fatigue being a lead contributor to motor vehicle collisions. Getting sufficient sleep every night can reduce the risk of you falling asleep behind the wheel, which can lead to an accident. Regulating your sleep cycle and getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night can help to keep the mind sharp and alert while driving.
3. Avoid stimulants
Stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks are widespread in the industry amongst professional drivers. While they provide your mind and body with short term boosts of energy and alertness, it’s best to listen to your body when it tells you to rest because it’s tired. You’ll be glad you did when you’re back on the road again.
4. Quit smoking
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventative disease and death in the world. Smoking tobacco is the main risk factor for 4 of the leading causes of death in Canada (cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease)2. Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Some ways to help you quit are to substitute snacks for cigarettes, avoid alcohol since alcohol is a strong trigger for nicotine and can make the urge to smoke unbearable, and remove all cigarettes and ashtrays from your vehicle and home.
5. Take a vacation
De-stress and enjoy some time off away from your job. You may think you can’t afford to take time off, but the truth is you can’t afford not to. Blocking off time in your schedule – even if it’s just for a few days – can help you catch up on sleep and overall, be beneficial to your physical and mental health, such as lowering stress, decreasing depression, and improving productivity.
By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can help increase your chances of remaining healthy on the road.