No Surprises When it Comes to Driver Health
For OTR truckers, the key to living and working are no longer a surprise. Control your weight, eat better, exercise, get enough sleep, quit smoking and reduce stress. Of course, these suggestions apply to the general population in the United States, where obesity and the health problems related to obesity has become endemic.
But it’s especially critical that truckers heed these suggestions. According to one study of 1,200 deceased truckers, the average age at death was about 55, nearly 20 years earlier than the typical American. Of course, many of the early deaths are the result of road accidents. More telling is that truck drivers are 30% more likely than the national average to die of heart disease.
What’s the cause of many truckers’ health problems? No surprise here either. It’s the over the road lifestyle. “Drivers have few opportunities for exercise and limited choices for meals,” says Scott Mador of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters health and safety department. “If your only option is fast food and there is no chance for exercise, you are on the fast track for obesity, heart disease and other ailments.
The unique job demands for truckers require they be especially vigilant. Fortunately, there are ways to get onto the track to a healthier lifestyle.
First there is exercise. One physical therapist in New Jersey suggests a wrist stretch to loosen wrists and forearms that get tight when you hold them still to drive. Simply remain sitting and make a loose fist with both hands. Slowly rotate wrists in a big circle five times in one direction, and five in the other direction. Repeat this exercise 10 times every 60 to 90 minutes for two to two-and-a-half hours.
To improve cardiovascular fitness, one trucker makes it a habit to walk around his rig while it is being loaded and unloaded. He also avoids truck stop food, opting to shop for healthier fare at the Wal-Mart Supercenters that dot U.S. highways.
Another driver who loves to exercise by riding his bike came up with a unique way to mount a bicycle in his cab using a Rocky Mount Bolt-On Fork Lock and a Master Lock Python Adjustable Locking Cable. It keeps the bike safe and secure and conforms to all safety regulations.
The bottom line for truckers is this: There is no time like now to get on the path to a healthier way of living.
By: Barry S. Cohen