As an over the road truck driver, sitting for extended periods of time can put you at risk for various health problems. Among these health problems is deep vein thrombosis. Just look at that name – it even sounds scary.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein in your body – most commonly, your legs. If the formed blood clot breaks loose, it can travel through your bloodstream and get stuck in your lungs, heart, or brain, leading to an embolism (a blockage in your arteries). DVT can develop if you sit for too long, so it’s important that as truck drivers, we get up and move around as often as possible to lessen the likelihood of this happening.
Luckily, deep vein thrombosis is easy to avoid! All you have to do is make sure you stretch your legs and walk around when you have the chance. Check out the following videos where our fitness guru Eric Banter demonstrates a few simple stretches for truck drivers that can be done on a rest break, and keep reading for some more tips on avoiding DVT!
In the above video, Eric demonstrates a simple stretch you can do using your cab as soon as you stop. To do this, first steady yourself by holding onto the cab door handle. Stretch one leg out in front of you with your foot flat on the ground (not too far! We don’t want to overexert ourselves here) and slowly hinge forward at the hips. Reach down toward your leg with your chest, not your neck. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg. If you’re feeling crazy, you can place your leg higher, say on one of the steps, to intensify the stretch.
Hamstring Stretch #2
Remain sitting for this next stretch. Place your right ankle on your left knee. With a straight back, gently pull your knee toward your chest. Hold for 45 seconds, and repeat on the other side. This will stretch the back of your legs. Another way to stretch the same area is by leaning forward and holding your left ankle with both hands. Gently lean forward and hold for 45 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
For this last one, we’re gonna stretch our calves. For this stretch, place your hand at shoulder level against your truck. Bend one leg forward (like if you were doing lunges) and extend the other behind you with a straight knee. Keeping your lower back flat, move your hips forward. Keep the heel of the back leg on the ground and make sure your toes are pointed toward the truck. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds, and switch sides.
Quad stretches strengthen your knees. To stretch your quads, channel your inner flamingo and stand on your left foot with the leg bent slightly. Bend the right leg behind you and hold your right foot. Pull your foot towards your butt while keeping your back as straight as possible. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Front Leg Stretch
Begin with legs a little wider than shoulder width apart. Lean to one side, place your weight on that foot, and rest your hand or forearm on your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
It’s important that truck drivers take the time to exercise and stretch their muscles after a long bout of driving. Because this is such a sedentary lifestyle, the risk of developing DVT is pretty great for truck drivers. But lucky for you, it’s easy to avoid with these simple preventative measures! Five minutes of stretching can prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and keep you living as a healthy trucker for years to come.