Hey there, road warriors! Spending long hours on the road presents many challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
I’m sure you feel like you’re always in a wrestling match with time, your seatbelt and those tempting truck-stop snacks. Over time, it can feel like you’re facing an uphill battle, only to reach the top and discover you have no air brakes on the way down.
It’s time to regain control of your health! No gyms, no impossible diets, no zillions of push-ups — just plain, achievable steps to get you and your body’s “engine” vrooming along the road to better health. Here are eight tips that can help.
- Pack a portable kitchen, and snack smart.
Can’t steer clear of those greasy truck stop burgers? Start packing your grub! Even one hand-packed meal can make a big difference in your waistline (and pocketbook). Here are some suggestions to keep in your truck:
- Fresh fruits
- Yogurt (but watch the sugar/carb content!)
- Carrot sticks and hummus or ranch dressing
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Overnight oats
- Freeze-dried soups that can be prepared by adding water and heating (but watch the sodium)
- Water packed tuna
- Bagged salad and low-sugar dressing
- Hydrate without the highway hassle.
Water! It’s your new best friend. Prepare a refillable water bottle and chug it throughout the day. I’m partial to Mother Trucker Yoga’s trucker camo-print, 64-ounce countdown water bottles — but any bottle will do! Swap that soda or coffee for some H2O. And remember, if you think you’re hungry between meals, you could just be thirsty.
- Move it to lose it.
Take advantage of your truck. It can double as a great “portable gym.” Use it to support yourself while doing planks, squats and stretches. You can even use it as a “stair master!” And hey, when you’re loading or unloading cargo, look at it as a chance for a mini workout. Every minute counts. I believe in the 15- Minute Wellness Method: At the end of the day, you want to add 15 minutes of “on-purpose exercise.”
- Rest up, charge up.
Your rig’s fuel tank ain’t the only thing that needs “recharging” — you do, too! Make sure you get enough Zs. A good sleep routine can improve your overall well-being and mood. Many people struggle in this area. Here are a few things to consider:
- Do I find myself sitting even when the truck’s not moving?
- Am I drinking enough water?
- Does my body hurt when I go to bed?
- Are my electronics the last thing I look at or interact with before bed?
- Am I emotionally unsettled at bedtime?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it might be time to make some daytime changes to help make those critical nighttime changes easier.
- Practice mindful munching.
Eat slowly. Whether it’s a full meal or a snack, this gives your body a chance to recognize when it’s had enough. Most people munch mindlessly, and that packs on the calories. Pay attention to “why” you want to eat and if your body is truly hungry. If not, chew a piece of gum or drink a bottle of water. Do a few deep breathing exercises. Call a friend. Challenge yourself to wait 15 minutes before grabbing that bag of chips — you might realize your need to eat is more emotional than physical.
- Say goodbye to seatbelt stress.
Tired of feeling stiff all day? Work out those kinks with some simple stretches that can be done right from the driver’s seat. Some can be done while you’re rolling; others should be done only when you’re safely stopped. Stretches can loosen up your neck, shoulders, back and legs. A little stretch can go a long way!
- Roll your shoulders 100 times backward, then 100 times forward.
- Sit tall and “march” your legs in place, picking your thighs off the seat 100 times for each leg.
- Do “hip hulas” 50 times in one direction, then 50 times in the other.
Not only is stretching good for your physical health; it can also give you a mental break by taking your mind off stressors and into the present moment.
- Nosh naturally.
Focus on incorporating whole foods into your diet and eliminating processed products. Anything that’s overly processed is a no-go. It’s easier than you think — try fresh fruit, raw veggies and whole-grain snacks. Real, natural food is usually not the problem when it comes to weight gain.
- Be sure to practice “mind over miles.”
Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stay in touch with your loved ones. Listen to your favorite tunes, or an interesting audiobook. And hey, why not give meditation a shot?
Live the highway life YOUR way. Be the captain of your health journey. We’re not talking about a complete lifestyle flip here, folks. Small, realistic changes can bring significant results. And remember, every mile is a chance to make healthier choices.
So, pull up those bootstraps, reach out that trucker arm and steer yourself toward better health. Remember, folks, good health is a journey, not a destination. Let’s travel that road together!
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, a company devoted to improving truck drivers’ fitness and wellness standards. She has been featured in Forbes and Yahoo News, and is a regular guest on SiriusXM Radio. Her practical strategies show drivers how they can go from unhealthy and out of options to feeling good again. Find out more at www.mothertruckeryoga.com.
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, a company devoted to improving truck drivers’ fitness and wellness standards. She has been featured in Forbes and Yahoo News, and is a regular guest on SiriusXM Radio. Her practical strategies show drivers how they can go from unhealthy and out of options to feeling good again.