Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the many challenges facing truck drivers. Long hours of driving on the open road limits the time truck drivers have for sleep, exercise, and proper health care.
On top of this, truck drivers often have to deal with lack of healthy food options, so they have to resort to eating fast food or drinking energy drinks to keep them full and awake. This poses a lot of health issues, including hypertension, obesity, over fatigue, and stress, all of which affect not only a truck driver’s long-term health, but also their chances of obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Such issues can make it difficult for companies to recruit truck drivers. To address this, companies should turn to truck driver management and fleet outsourcing companies to recruit and manage truck drivers so they can focus on the core aspects of their business.
Driver health and wellness initiatives are a part of a good driver management program to help reduce risks of accident, control health care and insurance costs, and to improve driver morale and job satisfaction. Some of these initiatives include:
Exercise and Stretching
Interstate or long haul drivers are allowed to work up to 70 hours in an eight-day period. In a day, truck drivers can work for 14 consecutive hours, with a driving limit of 11 hours.
After 14 hours of working, truck drivers must rest for 10 consecutive hours before they can resume working. This means that within the 14-hour window, drivers have three hours to allot for exercise, rest and healthy eating.
Light exercises such as walking around the truck will help truck drivers recover from a long drive. Walking 34 laps around a big rig is equivalent to walking a distance of one mile. Stretching can also help in muscle recovery after long hours of being in a seated position. It is important to have a professional demonstrate different stretching techniques in a wellness meeting so truck drivers can learn to do them properly.
Truck drivers may also be provided with portable exercise equipment like kettle bells, jump ropes, or resistance stretch bands. They can use these equipment for 10-20 minutes of physical activity to relieve tension and prevent injury.
Demanding schedules prompt truck drivers to eat fast food or high-calorie meals, causing weight gain and other diet-related diseases. Promoting a healthy diet plan is part of an effective health and wellness program. This may include lean meat like fish and poultry, either baked or boiled. Fresh fruits, fiber-rich food, and healthy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, trail mixes, and popcorn are also a great choice and the good thing about them is that they are available at most truck stops. While an occasional energy drink or coffee may not hurt, water should be a crucial part of a truck driver’s diet to sustain energy, digestion, and over-all health.
Health screenings can help identify potential health problems and allow treatment or minimize their effects. Health-related seminars such as the effects of smoking and drinking, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits provide important information that can encourage truck drivers to change their behavior or lifestyle.
The ultimate goal of wellness programs is to keep truck drivers healthy, thereby increasing road safety. Instilling healthy lifestyle choices may not be easy but creating a health and wellness program is a good way to start in improving the health and well-being of truck drivers and reducing the risk of road accidents.