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The Road to Healthy Living

On December 14, 2017  Category:  On the Road, Wellness

 

In any job you will discover occupational stress, but more so as a driver as you try to balance healthy living and exercise. If you let it, your job can disrupt your health and leave you at risk for some serious conditions. Continue reading to understand what conditions you and your coworkers are at risk for, and how to prevent them from happening to you.

OBESITY

While this is a struggle for our society, truck drivers have higher obesity rates than the rest of the working population, with 86% of drivers being obese, compared to the 40% of working adults that are obese. Being overweight can put someone at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, joint and back pain, and strokes. Several of these conditions are twice as more prevalent in drivers over other working adults.

HEART DISEASE

Heart disease kills 1 in 4 people every year and is easily preventable through healthier nutrition choices and exercise. This is an umbrella term for anything that affects our blood vessels, such as a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. These conditions can stem from being overweight and inactive, but are not limited to solely that population. Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and nutrition, and alcohol use can all contribute to developing any number of these heart conditions.

Know the signs of a heart attack:

Pressure or discomfort in chest or arms (can spread to neck, jaw, or back), nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, fatigue, sudden dizziness or light-headedness.

Know the signs of a stroke:

Weakness in one side of the body (arms or legs), drooping of the face, blurred vision, trouble walking, and trouble speaking.

CANCER

As someone who spends their days’ out of doors, you are placed at a higher risk for developing cancer than your office-working counterparts. Skin, lung and bladder cancer can be developed by anyone, but your risk increases even more so being on the road for hours at a time.

Skin: How many hours do you spend driving each week? That’s how many hours the left side of your body is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Reduce the chances of developing skin cancer by applying sunscreen in the summer months and on days with a higher UV rating.

Lung: Statistics reveal that 51% of drivers are smokers, putting them at a higher risk for developing lung cancer than the non-smoking population. Giving this habit the boot doesn’t just reduce your risk of lung cancer, but also reduces the chance you developing heart disease and associated illnesses.

Bladder/Kidney: On long drives it may be tempting to hold off on stopping for a bathroom break, but doing so frequently can put your body at greater risk for developing kidney cancer by forcing your body to store toxins it is trying to eliminate.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Waking up early or staying up a few extra hours to complete a long-haul job may increase your monthly earnings, but beware of what you’re putting your body through. Depriving yourself of sleep, especially over a long period of time, can lead to memory loss, increased stress levels, weight gain, memory loss, and a weak immune system. Reverse these negative affects by giving yourself anywhere from 6 – 8 hours of sleep per nigh

Your health and well-being is worth more than any freight.

Decrease your chances of developing any of these health risks, or reverse their effects, by implementing some minor lifestyle changes. Use the information below to better understand what your body needs to function at it’s best.

DIET

Eating an unhealthy diet will lead to complications in all aspects of health, but especially so if you consume a high fat diet. Constantly eating foods that are high in saturated fats will lead to elevated cholesterol levels and increases arterial plaque.  Try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine and stop eating once you feel full.

Foods high in saturated (BAD) fats:

  • Sausages
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Chicken skin
  • Foods high in unsaturated (GOOD) fats:
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Avocado
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, halibut)
  • Olive Oil
  • Peanut Butter (natural)

 

EXERCISE

Being regularly active is one of the greatest things you can do for your heart. Working your muscles keeps your heart and blood vessels working properly and can have the added benefit of lowering your blood pressure and eliminating body fat. Try out some low impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling. During your next trip see how many miles you can walk (32 laps around your truck = 1 mile).

SMOKING

Reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, or heart attacks, and improve your circulation by removing smoking from your daily routine. There are so many options in today’s market to help kick your cigarette addiction whether that be patches, e-cigarettes, inhalers, or gum.

ALCOHOL

As you will have read in the previous health topic, alcohol is never a solution and, if abused, can cause an array of health problems. Not only does alcohol cause weight gain, but it can also increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.

PROGRESS TRACKING

Use pictures, measurements, and logs to see how you’re changing over time. Every 3 months try reassessing yourself to discover if you’ve been working hard enough or maybe need to step up your effort.

  • take pictures at three angles (front, back and side),
  • measure the circumference of your waist, chest, and hips,
  • choose one day of the week to log what type and how much food you’re eating

DRINK WATER, and a lot of it.

Water helps to control your body temperature, assists in fat loss, carries nutrients within your body, helps get rid of waste, assists your body with digestion, and keeps you energized. Do your best to avoid beverages like fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks that are typically high in sugar and full of empty calories.

 

Yours in health,