With the right technology keeping them on track, truckers can afford to take some time for personal wellness. Focusing on physical fitness throughout the day doesn’t take away from a driver’s ability to get the job done. In fact, regular exercise improves focus, energy levels, and reaction times. Here are some easy, no-nonsense ways professional drivers can stay fit without compromising a busy schedule:
1. Focus on posture and breathing. Doing something as simple as changing the way you sit and breathe while driving improves your health and fitness levels. Sitting up straight promotes spinal health, while breathing deeply and fully enhances concentration as well as most bodily processes. To start a journey to better posture and improved fitness, consider setting a phone reminder you can easily and undistractedly tap off every 20–30 minutes. Every time the alarm goes off, reorient your posture and focus on taking deep breaths.
2. Dedicate a few minutes to activity during each break. You don’t need to start out exercising for 30 minutes or an hour a day if you can’t find the time or willpower to do so. In fact, some scientists claim that one minute of high-intensity exercise provides the same physiological benefits as a longer session.
Try a 10-minute interval workout with 20 seconds of high-intensity activity interspersed with 2 minutes of rest. Sprint, do jumping jacks, or take it up a notch with burpees. After your third 20-second interval, cool down for 3 minutes. The exercise shouldn’t leave you feeling exhausted and can work better than a cup of coffee as an afternoon pick-me-up. Everyone has 10 minutes to dedicate to fitness.
3. Stretch. Range of motion can turn into a serious health problem down the road for any sedentary individual. Inactivity contributes to conditions such as a frozen shoulder, which may require painful physical therapy or even surgery to correct. Keep your body limber on the road with stretching sessions focused on range of motion and flexibility.
4. Stop at a grocery store instead of a truck stop. Fitness starts in the kitchen. Fuel your body to work for you with whole foods and fruits and vegetables. Instead of grabbing fast food or a bag of chips and a soda, head into a grocery store for a fresh lunch or dinner. Focus on how you feel after you eat to keep up the good habit.
5. Keep a log. Do you know how active or non-active you really are? Consider investing in a pedometer or a fitness tracking device to discover how your daily activity currently adds up. If you know your baseline, you know how much you need to push yourself to make meaningful changes on the road. Start slow and keep going to create long-term fitness habits.
6. Start a trend. Don’t be afraid to get in a quick workout whenever and wherever you stop for a break. As more truck drivers recognize the health risks associated with inactivity, they may even join you in your fitness quest.
Employers across all industries are beginning to understand the link between health/fitness and better business outcomes, such as lowered health care costs, improved productivity, and improved job satisfaction. It all starts with you, so get out there and get moving!