Truck driver health and wellness are becoming increasingly popular topics in the trucking industry these days, and for good reason. Truck drivers often have a very unhealthy lifestyle, and industry leaders are trying to change that by implementing healthy eating and exercise programs. Today, I’m going to discuss six common bad truck driver habits and give advice on how to change them.
Bad Truck Driver Habit 1: Poor Meal Choices
You’ve probably heard some variation of these statistics time and time again, but did you know 86% of the estimated 3.2 million truck drivers in the country are overweight or obese? It’s no surprise those numbers are so high — truck drivers have one of the most unhealthy diets out there. Long, stressful hours on the road lead drivers to seek comfort food like cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza instead of the healthy alternatives needed to fuel their bodies.
How to fix it: If you don’t think you can give up fast food cold turkey, gradually cut back on the amount of times per week that you eat at truck stops and fast food restaurants. Stop at a nearby Walmart, and stock up on groceries to keep in your truck. Cook hot, healthy meals right in your cab with truck-friendly tools like slow cookers, portable stoves, and hot plates. We recently held a truck driver recipe contest and received some tasty and convenient submissions for trucking meals. Check out some of the entries here.
Bad Truck Driver Habit 2: Skipping Meals
Many truckers get so “in the zone” when driving that they forget to stop for food. Others just simply…don’t…because the longer and farther the drive, the more money they make. Skipping meals is a really bad habit because even though you’d think it would help you lose weight, it actually has the opposite effect. By the time you actually sit down to eat, you’re so hungry that you take in way more calories than you would’ve had you just stopped for the last meal.
How to fix it: Eat at least three meals a day, preferably 5-6 smaller meals. The key is eating before you’re really, really hungry. This way, you don’t eat as much during the meal and also stay satisfied throughout the day, eliminating the need for high-calorie snacks. If you do need a snack to tide you over, try healthy options like unsalted mixed nuts, Greek yogurt, or fruit.
Bad Truck Driver Habit 3: Smoking
About one in five Americans smoke, and about 67% of OTR truckers smoke. I’m not going to detail all the health risks it poses here because we’re all aware. So I’ll just say, we all know it’s a bad habit in the truck driving lifestyle, and it is possible to ditch the addiction if you want to!
How to fix it: It doesn’t matter if you have to try to quit 10 times. In fact, it usually takes more than one attempt for most. There are tons of products out there that can help you ditch the habit. Find one that works for you and stick to it. Think about how great you’ll feel after you kick the habit. You’ll not only feel physically healthier, but you’ll also be proud of yourself for accomplishing something so difficult!