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Overcoming challenges to a healthy trucker lifestyle on the road

Healthy Trucker Lifestyle

For drivers new to the industry, the over-the-road lifestyle may generate concerns regarding nutrition, sedentary hours, weight management and the development of health conditions over time. It has been said, “You steer where you stare,” so let’s take a look toward a positive direction: one where the words “fit” and “driver” exist in the same breath, where drivers are energized and enjoying the benefits of an active, healthy trucker lifestyle.

10 benefits of a healthy lifestyle

Regardless of our stage of life, physical activity is a necessity, and exercise has many positive impacts, including that it:

  1. strengthens the heart, muscles and bones
  2. oxygenates the body
  3. lowers blood pressure
  4. maintains mobility
  5. boosts the immune system
  6. reduces diabetes and cancer risk
  7. decreases stress
  8. boosts mood
  9. improves memory
  10. increases lifespan

Even with so many benefits, less than a quarter of Americans achieve the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

5 challenges unique to truckers

Specific to the commercial driving industry, commonly cited challenges to establishing a healthy trucker lifestyle include:

  1. location – on the move, changing access to equipment
  2. weather – unpredictability makes planning tough
  3. space – cramped sleeper berth
  4. timing – schedule variability
  5. resources – most lifestyle advice doesn’t consider the above (which is why we’re offering the below)

Even with all these factors considered, many Schneider drivers have successfully proven the possibilities and have shared their approach for leading an active life. Two quick examples before we get into the “how”:

“I’ve lost 55 lbs. I run 2-3 miles at a time and I exercise with weights and calisthenics for one hour every day, no matter what. It’s a matter of priorities.” –
Todd, Schneider driver
“I am a Team driver and an ex-smoker and I still find time to exercise between 5 and 7 days per week." –
Phillip, Schneider driver

3 ways to build your healthy foundation

healthy truck driver performing pushups
  1. Attend a preventative care visit with your primary care physician to assess your current health. Discuss any relevant considerations to increasing your physical activity level.
  2. Commit to making physical activity a part of your daily life – strong commitment has the power to transform location, weather, space, timing and resources into a host of opportunities.
  3. Take time to consider your reason, “why” – on a tough day, reflecting on your family, your future, preventing or managing health conditions, etc., will reinforce your commitment.

3 considerations to pick the right time of day

  1. If your peak energy occurs in the morning, consider exercising before starting your work clock.
  2. If exercise helps you relax and wind down, consider utilizing your 10-hour break after you have shut down.
  3. During a midday DOT break or fuel stop, consider walking and stretching to restore alertness, improve circulation and increase flexibility.

How to make the most of any location on the road

healthy truck driver workout equipment

Inside the cab: You don’t need expensive equipment. Utilize gravity resistance to consider options like in-cab marching, squats, lunges, heel raises, wall or bunk push-ups, dips, crunches, bridges, planks, etc. An inexpensive resistance band greatly expands options such as chest presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, rows, pull downs and shoulder raises. Some drivers purchase weights, a mini-stepper or floor bike peddler as additional options.

Outside the truck: Options include jumping jacks, jump rope, walking in safe locations or inside shopping malls or stores. Most smartphones support apps that track steps and distance.

Schneider facilities: As a free benefit to Schneider associates, the Charlotte, Dallas, Edwardsville, Gary, Green Bay, Indianapolis and West Memphis facilities offer onsite fitness rooms that include a variety of exercise equipment including treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, stair climbers, various resistance machines, weights and exercise balls. Outside, you can consider walking on the designated walking course while doing laundry or waiting on truck maintenance. Each of the listed Schneider locations also offer the benefit of exercise coaching services through Atlas, an onsite health care professional.

StayFit locations at TA/Petro centers: StayFit offers free, convenient exercise options with 65 indoor fitness rooms, over 180 walking trails and 50 basketball courts. See their locations.

National chain fitness centers: Some drivers utilize a personal gym membership to complete a workout on a 10-hour break at locations that offer nearby tractor/trailer parking.

Remaining active throughout your career empowers your ability to enjoy high energy levels, stay safe and injury-free and make the most of valuable time with loved ones. Activity is a necessity of life and a small daily investment with numerous health returns!

Ready to join a company that cares about your healthy lifestyle?

Check out Schneider’s professional truck driving jobs near you, and we can help you take that next step.

About the author
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Darin attended Indiana University and has been a physical therapist with Atlas at the Indianapolis Schneider facility since 2006. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

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