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Simple tips for truck drivers to lose weight

8/3/2016

Simple tips for truck drivers to lose weight

The job of a truck driver is sedentary and does not allow for many stops along the way - especially not the gym. According to a Lean Trucker report, the best way to ensure that drivers can maintain their weight is to watch what they eat.

The obesity issue
Obesity is a significant issue among truckers as 69 percent of all long haul drivers are overweight, according to the National Survey of U.S. Long Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The Annals of Internal Medicine reported that this reduces the life expectancy for male and female drivers by six and seven years, respectively. As a result, World Health Organization research found that obesity increases hypertensive disease by 50 percent, osteoarthritis by 25 percent, type 2 diabetes by 75 percent and ischemic strokes by 33 percent.

What truckers can do
There are several ways truck drivers can maintain their weight and fitness on the road, according to Lean Trucker. Among the best ways include going for a walk, substituting snacks for vegetables, drinking water instead of coffee or soft drinks, eating grilled foods instead of fried or greasy options and eating smaller portions.

  • Walking: One of the easiest ways drivers can stay fit on the road is to walk a mile whenever they stop. To put that into context, one mile equates to 130 calories burned for a 250 pound male. Even one mile per day can eventually lead to a weight loss of over six pounds. An easy way to measure a mile is to walk 32 times around a standard commercial truck.
  • Vegetables: Replacing snacks with vegetables is another easy way to maintain weight. For instance, on one hand, a cup of sugar snap peas is approximately 35 calories with fiber and vitamins. On the other hand, a candy bar is 240 calories with 5 grams of saturated fat.
  • Water: This is an obvious way to stay hydrated without any calories to maintain energy. A 12-ounce soft drink equates to 140 calories, and can drain energy later in the day.
  • Grilled: Even chicken grilled maintains high levels of lean protein. But when it is fried or greasy, it becomes loaded with fat, trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Portions: This is particularly important because even food that is low in nutrition can be made more healthy with lower portions. Small reductions in caloric intake can go a long way over time. For instance, medium-sized fries instead of large can save between 100 to 200 calories, which in turn can lead to a weight loss of over six pounds over the course of six months.

Bottom line
The long hours behind the wheel with tight shipping deadlines, limited health food options on the road and a limited number of exercise facilities can make staying fit difficult. But this is important because an American Trucker report found that weight maintenance is the top predictor of weight loss. Little changes to a trucker's diet can produce great benefits down the road for avoiding obesity.

Increased healthcare costs have had a significant impact on the bottom line of many motor carriers in the sector. A recent Cottingham & Butler Trucking Benchmark Report showed that average gross annual cost per employee has jumped by four percent in the last three years. In fact, the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that obese truckers averaged $591 additional health care costs to a company than drivers of normal weight.

This is why more companies are beginning to develop and promote health and wellness programs to encourage drivers to change their dietary behaviors. That not only keeps health care costs low, but it also ensures that truckers stay fit and driving on the road.

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