Managing Health & Wellness for OTR Flatbed Drivers
Managing Exercise, Eating and Sleep Habits, and Monotony
As an OTR flatbed truck driver, you face many challenges in maintaining your physical health. Your shifts are long, your work is physically demanding, your schedule is unpredictable at best, and you very often find yourself working while the rest of America sleeps. The miles stretch on, healthy meals are few and far between, and your mind can succumb to distraction and daydreaming. Here are some tips for finding a balance in each one of these areas.
Invest in a set of dumbbells for around $15-$20 and spend 20 minutes a day doing any number of strength building motions. Remember to keep your motions smooth and controlled, and never over-extend any joint. Push-ups beside or just below your rub rail will keep your upper body toned, and pull-ups from your rub rail are a creative exercise as well. Jogging prior to your pre-trip will make you alert and focused. Also, when stopping, park further away and walk the difference.
Also, remember that memberships to gyms such as Planet Fitness allow you to work out at any location.
For drivers with a small refrigerator in their truck, there are pre-washed lettuces, vegetables and fruits available at all grocery stores. Small portable charcoal grills are perfect for grilling and don’t require electricity. And there are any number of healthy granola bars in all flavors. Fight your junk food battles in the grocery aisle. If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. And lastly, always choose grilled or baked over fried. Salty foods lead to high blood pressure.
Invest in a quality pillow. Neck pain leads to back pain. Also, keep a small fan and heater. Noise machines are helpful for blocking out unwanted sounds. Showers before bed also help you to sleep. And believe it or not, hitting snooze several times actually makes you more tired. Its better to go ahead and get up.
Monotony – Managing the Mind
Mile after mile of trees, road signs and passing cars can take a negative toll on your thinking process. If you notice yourself dwelling on thoughts, driving subconsciously or losing track of the miles, it’s time to change things up. Put in an audio book and listen to your favorite author or comedian. Try language tapes. Your goal is not to be fluent in other languages, but to learn small phrases. (Try Spanish first, you’re likely to use this one.) Or put in some music that is outside your first three choices. Branching out is good for the mind.
Please offer your thoughts below on things you do to keep yourself healthy while on the road.
In the weeks to come, we’ll continue to provide additional Health & Wellness tips to help you stay healthy and safe while on the road.