Truck drivers: How to relieve pain and stay healthy

June 23, 2014
Vasilka Atanasova

Every now and then, the health of truck drivers gets scrutinized by the media, authorities, and the companies themselves. Truck driving is a vital and at the same time tedious job. Truck drivers sit for long hours, confined to a small space in the same posture, absorbing vibrations and mentally focused on the driving. This is not easy and could be health threatening.

After a long day behind the wheel, back pain is almost inevitable. Furthermore, truck drivers are well familiar with what the commonly injured areas are: all muscles, joints, tendons, and mainly the back. These problems are caused by inactivity, sitting in one position for a long time, vibrations, poor ergonomics, and strenuous activity.

It is a well-known fact that sitting for hours is killing us. There is a saying: sitting is the new smoking. Whether you are sitting in an office or in the driver’s seat, it is unhealthy. The trucking work environment is quite unique and the consequences for the truck driver’s health are huge. From sleep disorders to heart attacks, and obesity and back pain is where it all starts.

Truck drivers: How to relieve pain and stay healthy

Truckers, you have to stay active to stay fit and healthy! It’s easier said than done right? Unfortunately, yes. The truck driver’s job is not easy. And staying healthy as a trucker requires extra effort. The stress and often the unhealthy sitting positions require enormous effort on the driver’s side to figure out a healthier work schedule.

Below, are a few suggestions you can try:

Biking is an awesome way to stay active and promote a healthy lifestyle even while on the road! Yet, not everybody has the time to stop and go for a ride. If you can find a slot, you should definitely try. Many truckers bring their bikes with them and bike whenever possible.

Take breaks. You need to rest as much as possible. It is not a coincidence that specialists recommend frequent breaks among other things like at least 8 hours of sleep. So, breaks are healthy and necessary for a healthy brain and body.

Exercise and keep moving. When you take a break you should also spend some time walking and exercising. Being active energizes your body and helps the circulation of the blood. On your break, instead of sitting or lying down, you could do some simple exercises.

Stretch every time you stop for a break! Stretching your body will help you improve blood circulation, relieve back and muscle pain, and feed your brain with blood and oxygen. If you do stretches several times a day it will improve your health and relieve your pain immediately. Check out some stretches below.

Try to quit smoking. It is well known that, unfortunately, most truck drivers smoke. Those who don’t, good for you! I don’t want to sound cliché, but with an already difficult lifestyle, smoking is just one more bad thing you are doing to yourself. Stop the madness!

Eat fruits and veggies instead of fast food. That could prove a challenge on the road, but come on, it’s not impossible. Stop at a grocery store and fill the bags with carrots, celery, apples and bananas, and some nuts. Snack on this every two hours and when you stop at a truck stop you won’t be as hungry. And even if you are hungry, try to choose the healthiest stuff. Eat a piece of fruit before anything else, so you are not as hungry before you enter the truck stop.

Tea instead of coffee is also a good choice. Sure you can have some coffee now and then, but not every day. Rooibos tea or green tea, or any herbal tea is much healthier than coffee every day. And don’t forget to drink water!

Stretches and exercises you can do every day

Knee squats are very helpful to relieve pain, stretch your muscles and work them for elasticity.

truckers squat Truck drivers how to relieve pain and stay healthy

 

Knee raises are a simple exercise to help your balance and flexibility and relieve pain in the knees.

Truck drivers how to relieve pain and stay healthy knee raise

 

Standing upside down – safer and easier option with the rock or some other form of support to keep you stable.

Standing upside down easy

 

Forward fold

Forward fold

 

Help change your sedentary lives with these simple stretches. American truckers, your health is important! Sitting and driving for long hours can cause long-term problems and you have to take control and work for your health. Factors like smoking, poor nutritional choices, lack of exercise, and stress are causing obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. These are all common problems among truck drivers. Take control of your environment and start with these small changes like small stretches every day.

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