MyTrucking has practical advice to stay fit and healthy while on the go.
After an indulgent festive season, January is the perfect time to start thinking about our health and wellbeing. With many truck drivers on the road for long periods of time, getting enough exercise and reaching for a healthy snack can be a challenge sometimes. Registered dietitian, Sarah Percy, shared some tips on how a few small changes can be easily incorporated into daily life, and soon add up to big improvements.
Sarah’s approach is everything is moderation. “I don’t believe in massive overhauls, and I’m not saying never eat a pie or a burger ever again. But actually, one or two small positive steps, done consistently, can add up to really big improvements.”
Just like a truck needs fuel and oil for the engine, and looking after the vehicle is essential to its performance, our bodies are no different, at work and in our personal life. In the short term, good nutrition will:
- Reduce fatigue levels by stabilising blood sugars. Stats show that when people are fatigued, that’s when accidents are more likely to happen;
- Strengthen our immune system (particularly relevant in the current pandemic climate);
- Boost energy levels;
- Increase concentration.
In the long term, good nutrition contributes to reducing the risk of a raft of undesirable conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Sarah’s top tip is to be prepared. “It’s obvious, but worth stating. To eat well, we need to be prepared. If we have good choices on hand and don’t rely on grabbing things on the go, we tend to eat better.”
Starting the day with a nourishing meal is the best way to set yourself up for success. Poached eggs on grainy toast, a smoothie, muesli with milk and yoghurt, or a baked bean and cheese toastie will set you up for stable blood sugar, good energy levels, and nutrients for the day. Rather than focusing on what you can’t have, Sarah likes to focus on positive nutrition—what can you add in to your diet that will nourish you and help you feel good?
H2O on the go
Sarah explains that when we’re dehydrated, our cells shrink, which impairs concentration and performance. By the time we feel thirsty, it’s too late, and we’re already dehydrated.
Carry water with you in the truck. Sarah’s tip here is to fill two large water bottles the night before, put one in the fridge and one in the freezer. The next morning you will have cool water to drink and, by the time you reach for the second bottle, it should be defrosted but still cool.
Exercise also plays a vital role in boosting our overall health and wellbeing, mentally and physically. Our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods and Sarah suggests micro-breaks— these could be during a toilet stop or while waiting to be loaded. Make exercise a priority, either before or after work. It could be going for a walk, a run, mountain biking, or playing touch. Consider how you could build some nonstructured exercise into your day. It could be playing with a ball with your kids, or choosing to walk to the dairy for milk instead of driving.