Most truck drivers believe there’s no time or space to fit fitness into their lifestyle. True, a truck cab is tight quarters. And there’s no denying a trucker’s workday consists of long hours and a demanding schedule. But in reality, drivers do have the time and space to fit fitness in, and it’s more important than ever that they do. It’s up to trucking companies to realize this and create a supportive culture that encourages movement and exercise.
The biggest challenge when it comes to exercise is not the time or space to do it; it’s the way we view exercise. The common perception of exercise? “Exercise is a painful, exhausting chore that we are supposed to do in order to feel better and get healthier, but it hurts and usually doesn’t feel good when I’m doing it. It takes a long time to see results. And it takes half an hour to an hour out of my day, and I’m too busy.”
The way to overcome this is for drivers to learn to view exercise as an opportunity to move, instead of a chore. All movement counts, not just strength and cardio workouts at the gym. Whether on the road or at home, walking, taking the stairs, getting out of your seat or couch, stretching in the morning and throughout the day, gardening, cleaning, bicycling, swimming, dancing… truly any and every movement counts.
Next, drivers should commit to finding at least seven opportunities a day to move for two or more minutes each time. It could be one minute of stretching, followed by 30 seconds of squats, and 30 seconds of punches. It could be dancing to a three-minute song. It could be lifting an object or weight over your head for one minute, then twisting your body back and forth for one minute.
Lastly, being present and mindful is key to shifting the paradigm and creating a healthy and active lifestyle. Drivers should pay attention to how they feel during and after movement or exercise. Most will feel more positive and energized right away; others may feel stiff and tired immediately afterwards. They may not notice any benefit until later – things like better sleep or less back pain when driving. Other benefits include:
More mental clarity and stamina, so it’s easier to stay focused when driving;
Improved physical strength and stamina, so drivers become less fatigued when driving or doing physical labor;
Feeling less stressed and maintaining a more positive mood.
As drivers pay attention to the differences in their lives when they are moving more, as opposed to not moving much, they will begin to find and create more opportunities to move. That’s because movement is now connected to the pleasure centers and endorphins in the brain. When drivers gradually self-guide themselves to more exercise and movement, it becomes a lifestyle, not a program that they do for a while, then quit and go back to old patterns.
While a very small percentage of people truly enjoy exercise, 100% of us enjoy moving more youthfully and pain-free.
Sergio, a 2018 HDT Truck Fleet Innovator, has over 21 years of experience as a personal trainer, nutritionist and health coach. Certified in a variety of nutrition and fitness disciplines, he holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, was a health expert for NBC for 11 years, and today heads up wellness efforts for Hirschbach Transportation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.