10 tips for drivers to stay healthy on the road

Being on the road for extended periods presents many additional challenges for truck drivers. Over-the-road truck drivers are twice as likely to develop obesity, putting them at risk for hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. According to Long-Haul Truck Driver Health Survey Results, more than half of long-haul truck drivers reported having two or more health conditions or unhealthy behaviors: high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, limited physical activity, high cholesterol, or sleeping less than 6 hours per night. These factors increase the likelihood of developing preventable, long-term diseases. Here are 10 helpful tips on how to stay healthy on the road

1. Never forget your breakfast
You should ensure you eat enough calories and nutrients at your first meal of the day to wake up and start moving so you can be awake while driving. Eating breakfast will also improve your concentration and help you feel more energetic throughout the day. 
2. Drink plenty of Water
If you want to improve your trucker lifestyle, keep water bottles in your truck and remember to hydrate frequently. Driver health and safety both depend on proper hydration. According to a 2015 study in Physiology & Behavior, "driving while even slightly dehydrated is equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol. Dehydration can also result in kidney stones, heat stroke, muscle cramps, and mental exhaustion.

3. Develop a stable sleep schedule
Sleep is essential for truckers' health. But how do you keep a steady rest with delivery timelines and the hours of operation service regulations? Try to establish some time zones and follow them as close as possible. For example, make it a rule to sleep and eat at specific hours every day. This will help your organism fall asleep easier when it's time. And while truckers have little control over the conditions outside their trucks, they can improve the environment inside the cabin. Invest in a comfortable mattress and good-quality pillow. Try to replicate the comfort of home sleep with nice sheets and comforter. 

4. Stay active
It isn't easy to go to a local gym and exercise if you are a long-haul driver. But you don't need a gym or expensive equipment to perform simple activities. It can be as simple as running laps around your vehicle or doing a few squats at truck stops. While stopping for rest, you can take a short 15-minute jog or fast pace walk. Making exercise a part of your daily routine will help you live better.

5. Increase mental stimulation
A long-haul driver's job can be pretty dull and monotonous at times. Miles and miles of trees, roads vehicles, and road signs. Make an effort to clear your mind and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts to learn new things about topics that interest you. You can also try listening to language tapes to learn new languages.

6. Do not drink coffee in excess
Always consume caffeine in moderation. Drinking too much caffeine can make you jittery and upset your stomach. Overconsumption of coffee can also elevate blood pressure and quicken the heartbeat. Limit your caffeine drinks to two cups per day and substitute the rest with a healthier choice like - tea or juice. Make sure not to mix coffee with other energy drinks and boosters. 
7. Avoid Junk Foods
Make a healthier food choice such as a salad or avoid the salty condiments and sides. This may be difficult for drivers accustomed to eating the processed foods that line the shelves of truck stops. However, you can stock up on healthy foods from a local grocery store and avoid the temptation to eat fast food. Cooking nutritious food on the go isn't difficult if you're willing to go the extra mile—buy a slow cooker or portable grill, and you can enjoy a fresh, home-cooked meal on the go.

8. Improve your posture
The posture and seat while driving significantly impact the health and longevity of professional drivers' careers. Invest in a good driver's seat that can be adjusted every 30 minutes, and keep your seat high because a lowered seating encourages slouching. Wearing a posture corrector can also help to lessen pain and soreness.

9. Take a short break
Use every opportunity to stretch. Small breaks can revamp your drive and give you more energy. You can stretch your legs, touch your toes, or roll your neck. Try extending your body before you start driving, during quick breaks, and once you've hung up your keys for the day. You can even incorporate these stretching techniques into your regular workout routine.
10. Eliminate Stress
On the road, you are more likely to experience stress. Because stress can impair your judgment and harm your health, you must learn to manage it. Take five minutes of deep breaths or ten minutes of meditation to relieve tension and relax. Park the truck and stand on the road for a few minutes, taking in the fresh air and observing nature.
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