The 5 Biggest Struggles to Maintaining Truck Driver Health on the Road

When you decide to pursue life on the road, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the almost-guaranteed struggles you’ll face in terms of your health. We’d be lying if we said the truck driving lifestyle wasn’t unhealthy — it is. Long hours on the road being jostled around in the seat of a cab and being surrounded by unhealthy food make it more difficult to stay healthy than it is for the average American. But there are ways you can combat it and stay in good health on the road if you are dedicated. Today, I’m going to talk about some of the biggest truck driver health struggles on the road and what you can do to fight these struggles.

  1. Finding the time to exercise.
    By far the biggest struggle truck drivers face on the road is getting in adequate daily exercise. And let’s face it, this is a legitimate concern that’s difficult for even the most motivated of truck drivers. It just seems like there’s not enough time in the day. By the time you stop for the night, you’re so tired you can hardly motivate yourself to get moving.
    Closeup of healthy fruit - kiwi, berries, bananas, pineapple

    Image via D. Sharon Pruitt, flickr

    How to fight it: Remember that exercise does not have to be in one long chunk of time throughout the day — you can split a workout into two or three or even four smaller increments of time. You can work out during your 30 minute break. You can run a mile before you leave in the morning. The time is there, you just need to make the effort to schedule exercise into your daily routine. In fact, it’s a good idea to make a schedule every day. Write down exactly what times you’ll be doing everything and schedule some time in there for exercise. See this post for more details on finding the time to exercise on the road.

  2. Making meals in the truck.
    For those that want to eat healthy, a big hurdle they have to overcome is how to actually make meals in the truck. Sandwiches get boring after a few days, so you need to spice up your meals while still keeping them healthy.

    How to fight it: Invest in some travel cooking appliances to use in your truck. Various companies make 12 volt models, but keep in mind that these normally take a long time to heat and will not cook in the same quality that AC devices will. If you have an inverter in your truck, you can use regular kitchen appliances and thus will be able to make healthier meals. Our biggest suggestion is to pick up a slow cooker — possibilities are endless with these handy little appliances and you can make some delicious meals that ALSO happen to be healthy!

  3. Avoiding truck stop/fast food temptation.
    After driving all day, it can be difficult to avoid the call of the nearby McDonald’s or truck stop buffet. After all, you’ve just driven for 10 hours and you’re too tired to wait for something to cook.

    How to fight it: An easy way to combat this is to have something cooking while you’re driving so by the time you stop for the night, you have a hot meal. For example, when you take a break midway through the day, throw some ingredients in a slow cooker and set on high for a few hours. By the time you stop, you’ll have hot beef stew and you won’t even have to wait for it to cook since it simmered all day while you drove. Another option is to prepare some meals either in your truck or before you take off after hometime, freeze them, store them in a cooler/mini fridge, and heat them up in your truck’s microwave after you stop for the day.

  4. Overeating/mindless snacking.
    With such an erratic schedule, it can be tempting to constantly be munching on something, even if it’s strictly out of boredom. A soda as you drive down the road, some potato chips while you wait to be unloaded, stuffing your face at the truck stop buffet after a day of stressful driving…these things can all add up and can tack on a significant amount of empty calories to your day.

    How to fight it: Switch that on-the-road soda to water. Try to avoid snacking unless you’re legitimately hungry – verbally ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or am I just bored?” and if you do need a little pick-me-up, make good decisions. Keep only healthy snacks in your truck like fruit, pretzels, string cheese, etc, and you won’t be tempted to chow down on those Doritos. You can’t be tempted by something that’s not there!

  5. Losing motivation to get/stay healthy.
    This is a common one as it’s easy to fall into a rut where you feel all alone and like no one is around to support you, or to tell you not to eat that, or to tell you to get off your butt and go for a walk.

    How to fix it: If you’re not getting support and motivation from friends and family, it’s always available from other drivers. We’ve talked before about how support systems and people going through similar things can work wonders on your level of motivation — for example, the Truckin’ Runners group is filled with people whose quests are to get and/or stay healthy on the road. You can also find support and motivation by staying connected with us here at The Healthy Trucker! We support you 🙂

Join the Conversation

What other truck driver health struggles would you add to this list? Share yours!


This entry was posted in Exercising, Health, Meal Tips by Amanda. Bookmark the permalink.

About Amanda

Amanda is a former digital communications coordinator and frequent blogger for the TheHealthyTrucker.net, a website focused on truck driver health initiatives. Our mission is to encourage truck drivers to embrace a healthier lifestyle by providing both expert advice and real world experiences. Let us be your co-driver on the road to a healthier, happier life!