When on a long-distance drive, it's nearly impossible to avoid getting drawn into buying fast food — especially when endless culinary options surround you at every mile. The last thing anyone wants is to snack on some vegetables when they're hungry. With temptation everywhere, it's important to encourage truck drivers to take care of themselves where possible.
There are many health issues that arise with the trucking lifestyle. A study from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese, twice as likely to smoke and have double the amount of diabetes cases when compared to the US working population. The health problems that come with these issues are significant with increased risk of:
With this in mind, it's key to educate your drivers on the things they can do to ensure that the trucking lifestyle doesn't have a negative impact on their lives.
Here are some ways they can get started on a healthier way of working:
1. A breath of fresh air
Getting out of the truck and taking a 15-minute walk can actually be more energizing than a coffee or energy drink. A study from the University of Georgia found that even a small amount of exercise can boost energy levels throughout the day, in turn, making you feel awake at the wheel for longer. Let drivers know that if they find themselves stopping by for a quick break, to take a step out of the vehicle and wander around the area. It could do them a world of good.
2. Pack a lunch
Packing a lunch is the first step in reducing the amount of fast food one eats on the road. It doesn't have to be a major change. It may be easier to start by packing a favorite sandwich with chips and grapes. It's almost guaranteed to be better for you than a deep-fried meal. The overall aim is to avoid processed foods, but taking small steps is the easiest way to get there.
3. Cut down on cigarettes
Any habit is hard to break, but nicotine can be a real challenge. Although it's best to go cold turkey to prevent further damage to the body, this may not be a realistic option for some. The gradual approach involves observation of current smoking habits. This will help gain an understanding of when cigarette cravings start. From this, drivers can make the decision to reduce the frequency of their smoke breaks, for example, cutting out the mid-morning for the lunchtime one. Over time, cigarette breaks should be slowly reduced until the body is less reliant on nicotine.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking water can contribute to combating fatigue on the road. It has been proven to energize the body and prevent common issues when driving such as headaches and eye strain. Providing workers with a reusable water bottle could help to encourage hydration, especially if there are drinking targets marked on the bottle. There are many other health benefits that come with staying hydrated — it can help reduce cigarette cravings, maximize physical performance and improve the digestive system.
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