Thursday, January 20, 2011

Industry Hot Point - Driver Health

Driver health is a continual point of concern in the trucking industry, and there is a constant need to address the need to improve the health of professional drivers. Sitting for long periods of time coupled with lack of regular exercise, stress, smoking, and poor diet choices put truck drivers more at risk than the average North American for a number of health problems. These health problems can range from sleep apnea, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain due to injuries.

Let’s briefly discuss some actions that can be taken to alleviate their presence and effect on your daily life:

Exercise – while exercising while on the road is often difficult, there are some things a driver can do to get daily exercise into their life. Working out at loading docks, or doing laps around your 18 wheeler are both good suggestions. Did you know that walking or running 32 times around your 18 wheeler will equal 1 mile???!!! – this is proof that there are easy and inexpensive ways to introduce exercise into your daily life!!

Quit Smoking – we all know that smoking is bad and significantly increases your risk for cancer and heart disease. However, it may be a hard habit to kick for many drivers as they suffer from boredom from sitting for long periods of time and stress from tight schedules, both of which can be alleviated by a habit such as smoking. However, the consequences of such a habit are severe; benefits of quitting are numerous – better health and more money in your pocket top our list!!! There are many tools available to help in quitting – here are a few links to help: How to quit smoking for truck drivers, and American Lung Association’s How to Quit Smoking Guide.

Improve your Diet and Food Choices – eating healthy as a truck driver is a huge challenge. Tight schedules and typical truck stop menus are two things that contribute to a poor diet. However, many truck stops have recognized the need to improve truck driver health and are joining in! Salad bars and other healthy options are appearing at more and more stops throughout North America. Follow this link for tips on how to eat healthy as a truck driver.

Injury Prevention – back injuries and sprains are a common report among drivers. Many drivers assist in loading and unloading the goods they carry, and this increases the risk of back injuries. Remember to always lift with your legs and be aware of dangers that exist around loading and unloading docks. Another important factor in injury prevention is seatbelt use. Remember to buckle up as it is the law!!!!

The FMCSA assess “driver fitness” on a regular basis to ensure that drivers are medically qualified to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle, and drivers are medically examined every two years to maintain their licenses. It has therefore been determined that there are many connections between being a healthy individual and a safe driver. Taking part in the actions above can do wonders to improve both the length and quality of life!

So, remember, listen to the warning signs, visit the doctor regularly, and commit to a healthier road ahead!!!

Do you have any health tips that you would like to share with your fellow members of the trucking industry??

1. How to quit smoking for truck drivers. Accessed on Jan 20, 2011.

2. American Lung Association's How to Quit Smoking Guide. Accessed on Jan 20, 2011.

3. How to eat healthy as a truck driver. Accessed on Jan 20, 2011.

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