Road to Better Health: Nutrition on the Highway

Obesity is a very real health problem for truck drivers. Long hours on the road can make weight loss efforts difficult.

In fact, The American Journal of Industrial Medicine published data on long-haul truck drivers in 48 States. According to the research, over two-thirds of truckers questioned were obese, and 17 percent were dangerously obese with problematic health complications. Obesity can trigger serious issues, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

These potential threats to health could be why the transportation industry in the US is experiencing an extreme driver shortage -- minus 73,500 this year and potentially 890,000 in the next 10 years.

So, what can truckers do to prevent their health from failing? Here are some tips that can help:

Drink Plenty of Water     
Besides keeping you hydrated, water helps your digestive tract perform at its best. Keep a water bottle with fresh water within reach at all times. Stay away from sugary drinks, sodas and juices. Mineral water is the purest water and best for your health and weight loss goals.

Don't Drink Too Much Caffeine
It can be hard to stay awake for many hours. A mug of coffee in the morning is great, but don't overdo it. Try to take breaks for physical activity rather than relying only on a coffee boost. If you must have a hot drink, try herb-infused teas with honey for sweetener or no sugar at all.

Take Daily Vitamins
Take Vitamin-C to boost your immune system. Make it a part of your breakfast routine so you don't forget. You can also take Vitamin-D and Cod Liver Oil to further protect your immune system.

Snack Healthily
Do you grab a bag of chips to take to work? Why not pack up a few fruits instead? If you have a cool box in your truck, veggie wraps and chilled yogurt are also nice and healthy snacks for the road.

Quit Smoking
One survey on truckers showed that over half were addicted smokers. This could also explain why many were unhealthy, as smoking makes your body more prone to illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Stay in Touch With Your Family
As often as you can, send your folks or kids updates on how you're doing, and take time for something as simple as making a phone call to your child during your break. Staying emotionally connected can contribute to good health, as it has positive effects on your mind and well-being.

Use Technology for Physical Activity
Think about exercising parts of your body that experience pain due to sitting for long periods. Just five minutes of stretching during breaks can make a huge difference. Download apps that help you check your heart rate or give you fitness and diet tips. Some apps feature simple-to-follow exercises designed just for truckers.

Schedule Gym Visits
No matter what else you have planned, you must make fitness a priority on your days off. Even if you have only one day a week to hit the gym, just do it. If you're not making weight goals a priority, you will eventually suffer.

There is no better gift you can give yourself and your loved ones than your good health. And, there is no better time than today to start down that road.

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