Health is a major concern for career drivers. This is especially true for owner-operators. Since owner-operators are often required to take jobs whenever the opportunity comes about, they often lack the regular schedule that over-the-road drivers often enjoy when they work for a company. The resulting lifestyle often takes it's toll on a driver's health--causing them to have a life expectancy of 16 fewer years than non-truckers.
Fortunately, there are steps that owner-operators can take to significantly improve their health. By following a few specific tips, even the busiest owner-operator can enjoy the benefits of good health while living a life on the road.
Learn To Eat Properly
Truckers face a number of specific challenges that make a healthy diet difficult. These factors are often exaggerated for the owner-operator--due to their fluid schedule. Some of these difficulties include:
- Missing meals
- Poor food options on the road
- Decreased calorie requirements
Missing Meals--Whether you pass on making a stop in order to make a delivery deadline, or you just aren't looking forward to another hamburger in your cab, it's often tempting to work right through lunch. This has a negative impact on your body, and can lead to overwhelming your system through calorie loading. Even if it's just a snack, try to maintain a normal eating schedule.
Poor Food Options--Most convenience food tends to be calorie-dense and nutrient-light. That means you'll find yourself hungrier more often--and much more likely to gain weight--when living with the "road diet." The best option is to purchase a refrigerator for your sleeper cab and bring your own food. That said, even a cooler will allow you to make one stop in the morning to load up on healthier, more satisfying options.
Decreased Calorie Requirements--Trucking is a physical job--in bursts. Most of the time, you're stuck sitting in your cab. This means your daily calorie requirements are going to be lower than when you're on your feet. Portion control and food selection are vital to maintaining your weight while spending a great deal of time on the road.
Find Ways To Exercise
Regular movement and exercise is vital to anyone's long term health on owner operator trucking jobs. It also has two specific benefits that apply directly to owner-operators. Your cardiovascular health deteriorates without this movement, and studies show that daily movement keeps you alert and functioning at your best.
Unfortunately, movement breaks are hard to come by in your cab. The key, therefore, is to find ways to elevate your heart rate without having access to a lot of space and time. The good news is that it's completely possible to use 10 minute cardio workouts in a parking lot or rest area--without having miles of sidewalk or lawn to run on.
The other difficulty lies with scheduling these workouts into your daily routine. For effective heart health, you should aim to work out for 30 minutes each day. The easiest way to accomplish this is to add your 10 minute routine into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner stops. By doing this, you'll be certain to keep your cardiovascular and mental health in top shape.
However, these exercises will do little for your overall muscle tone. A sedentary lifestyle also leads to deteriorating muscle strength and bone density. Planche position series are fantastic for developing overall strength in a short amount of time. Add these to your on-the-road breakfast routine and you'll be constantly improving your strength during your time on the road.
The life of the owner-operator is difficult, but full of rewards. Taking steps to protect your health and fitness are critical to enjoying the fulfilling life of owning your own business to it's fullest.