Health risks are not new to the trucking industry. Long hours of sitting in one position, unhealthy diets, general fatigue, and levels of stress, and depression have all been endemic to the trucking lifestyle for decades. However, because a large portion of truck truckers are 50 and over, these health risks are becoming more prevalent and more severe.
The Health Risks Of Sitting Behind The Wheel
We are going to remove external forces such as other drivers causing accidents, more unpredictable driving conditions, and other road-related risks to life and limb that truckers experience on a daily basis. Most of the health risks facing drivers can be traced to sitting at the wheel for long hours. When truck drivers sit for a full day of work, that’s 14 hours straight without any exercise. Calories are not being burned. Weight is being gained. Circulation is in a decline. In a 2015 medical survey, it was discovered that nearly 70 percent of truckers were obese. Almost 20 percent were morbidly obese. The sedentary lifestyle opens the door to other health risks, which are also rising in numbers among truck drivers.
Diabetes And The Trucking Industry
Diabetes has come to the forefront among truck drivers. Diabetes usually stems from an inactive lifestyle, poor eating habits, and smoking. Slightly over half of all truckers smoke cigarettes. To put this into perspective, slightly less than 20 percent of the population in the United States still smokes. Smoking and obesity lead to sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart failure and, as we stated above, diabetes. In 2018, one of the main points of focus is going to be on lifestyle changes for truckers to reduce the health risks within the industry.
Reducing Health Risks Among Truck Drivers
So what can drivers do to reduce and prevent health risks? Obviously the hours on the road cannot be changed, but how the down time is spent can make all the difference. Getting into a routine to perform low impact exercises can boost circulation and burn calories. Even something as simple as taking a brisk walk around the truck when it’s parked is much better for you health than doing nothing at all. The second challenge is changing the way we eat. Fast food, snacks, and excessive caffeine are out. Try switching to fruit, canned fish, vegetables, and even low sodium jerky are better than potato chips, burgers, and fries. Lastly, try to quit smoking. The medically approved methods for quitting have come a long way. Get a check-up, talk with your doctor, and start making this year the one where you start to live healthier. Your body and your loved ones will appreciate the change.