The winter months are often associated with things such as the cold temperatures, snow, short days and cold and flu season. Interestingly enough, it’s actually not the cold weather that leads to a cold like most people assume. Colds often happen in the winter months because people tend to spend more time indoors where the air is recycled and people are often in close quarters. However, there are many ways to avoid getting the cold and flu this season and staying healthy in general while on the road.
1. Get Adequate Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is important for your health. Harvard Medical School has suggested that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. A sleep-deprived person has shown the inability to focus and learn new tasks efficiently. Driving long distances requires focus; therefore, sleep is very important for any truck driver. Sleeping in the truck or in a hotel bed doesn’t always lead to a good night of sleep, but there are plenty of ways to get an even better night of sleep. Buying a white noise machine or the right pillow for your sleeping style can help with getting a full night of rest to keep you focused on the road.
2. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy can improve your overall health in many ways. Eating less process foods and more vegetables and fruits can help you lose weight, boost your immune system, and get a better night of sleep. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants and vitamins that can help protect you from a cold or flu. Studies have shown that vitamin C can help combat germs. You’ll find these germ-fighting vitamins in foods such as berries, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables. Are you looking for ways to eat healthy for on the road? Check out this article on 10 healthy snacks while on the road.
3. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventative disease and death in the world. Over 390,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases every year. By quitting smoking you can decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other smoking-related diseases. For tips on how to quit smoking, make sure you check out our recent article.
4. Manage Your Diabetes
Diabetes is an important disease that truckers need to learn to manage due to the nature of your job. Your job depends on it! A 2009 study found that commercial truck drivers have a 50% higher risk of developing diabetes compared to the general population and 87% of truck drivers have hypertension or pre-hypertension. By focusing on eating healthy, participating in physical activity, and working with your medical provider, your diabetes can be kept under control.
5. Stay Up to Date on Vaccines
Chances are you haven’t had a shot in many years. Many adults think because they received all their vaccines as a child that they have a lifetime of immunity against various diseases. But, that’s not true. Vaccine effectiveness wanes over time making you more susceptible to possibly contracting a disease that you thought you were immune against. Measles have been on the rise in the recent years especially among young children. Last month an outbreak in California occurred with patients ranging from 7 months to 70 years old. The CDC strongly urges adults to stay up to date on their vaccines to help prevent contracting preventive diseases. For more information about which vaccines you need as an adult, the CDC provides an excellent infographic.
6. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water every day is essential to good health. Water can help regulate your body temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, and get rid of bodily waste through urination, sweat, and bowel movements. Drinking water also has been linked to weight loss because water makes people feel more full and consume fewer calories. The Institute of Medicine suggests that men should drink about 13 cups a day and women should drink about 9 cups of water a day. However, if you live in a hot climate or exercise a lot then you will most likely need even more water. Water can also come from foods, such as watermelon and celery.
7. Exercise More
Physical activity has many benefits to health. It can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and strengthen your bones and muscles among many other reasons. The CDC suggests working out for at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate-intensity to maintain your weight or more if you need to lose weight and keep it off. Of course, eating a healthy diet will also help you lose weight. Strength training can help reduce hip fractures, arthritis and other diseases linked to bone density loss. If you are just starting to exercise, start small and build up to longer times. Exercise can include anything you like, such as walking, biking, martial arts, or swimming. Find something you like and commit to it!
8. Reduce Stress
Stress can be linked to a lot of negative feelings in life. Not all stress is bad, but if it has a negative impact on your physical and mental health then you should try to reduce your stress levels. The American Psychological Association has found a link between chronic stress and physical health. Chronic stress can lead to disease, such as an increased risk of coronary disease, or lead to bad habits, such as overeating and smoking. The good news is that you can reduce your stress levels and increase your health! The American Psychological Association suggests reducing your stress by first identifying what the cause is. They also suggest getting more sleep and participating in relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation. If nothing seems to help reduce your chronic stress, seek out your medical provider or a counselor.
9. Take a Vacation
When you run a small business or work for yourself, sometimes it’s hard to take time off for a vacation. A recent US Travel Association study found that the average American took 16 days of vacation time in 2013 compared to 20.3 days in 2000. Taking a vacation, whether it’s just a week at home or a week sitting on a tropical beach drinking Pina Coladas, can help you catch up on sleep and reduce your stress. Vacation also allows you to discover new parts of the world, different cultures and spend time with your family and friends.
10. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Being on the road for long periods of time can leave you missing your family and friends back home. When you’re home or on vacation spend time with them. Simple as that! One study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that having strong social connections can boost longevity.
There are many of ways to stay healthy this winter and in 2015 as a whole. Winter can be a tough time to stay healthy with lots of germs flying around. However, if you incorporate a few tips from above you stand a greater chance of remaining healthy on the road!
Now winter is only a few months of the year. By staying healthy throughout the entire year you can help to reduce your chances of developing diseases such as heart disease and cancer. For the month of February, Team Run Smart is running a cancer prevention campaign to encourage truckers to stay healthy on the road. For every new member that joins Team Run Smart during February, Team Run Smart will donate $1 to the Cancer Research Institute. Click here to sign up today.