In previous posts on TheTrucker.com, we covered Parts 1 and 2 (getting good quality of sleep and ensuring proper nutrition) in a four-part series on staying healthy as an over-the-road driver. The next step to staying healthy on the road — and at home — is exercise.
Exercise is essential not only to maintaining a healthy weight, but exercise also supports the body’s biometric levels — blood pressure, blood glucose (or blood sugar), body mass index (BMI) and LDL cholesterol.
You don’t have to be a triathlete or a marathon runner to make a difference in your body’s health. Small steps can equal big results. Take into consideration your personal fitness condition; then figure out what exercise you WILL do (not necessarily the one you SHOULD do). Walking even 1 mile each day, at a steady pace, can burn about 110 calories, lower stress and increase your energy level.
Here are four steps to help you get started.
- Make a plan.
Sit down and write down exactly what goals you want to achieve. These goals can range from weight loss to building strength and endurance, or even relieving depression.
- Set a goal.
Set realistic goals based on your environment and daily tasks. Start out with something simple and manageable. Depending on your current health condition, play it safe and make your workout times short in the beginning; always put safety first to avoid injuries. Now that you’ve set your goal, write down how you plan to get there. It’s impossible to reach goal without a roadmap. This is no different then what you do naturally every day as a driver — you map out your route and know where you are headed to pick up or deliver that next load.
- Get started.
Begin your workout routine slowly; two to three times a week is great. To maximize your time, your workouts should consist of a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise.
- Stay motivated.
The key to long-term success, being healthy and staying the course is knowing how to motivate yourself on a daily basis. If you do the same thing every day, you will quickly reach a plateau in results.
Adding new movements to your workout routine is important. Change your exercises every four to six weeks; otherwise your muscles will adapt to a certain repetitive motion and will become slow to change, whether your goal is growth, weight loss, strength or endurance. Not only do your muscles need to be “shocked” every now and then, but learning new exercises also helps prevent boredom from setting in.
Don’t think of exercise as a chore; it’s an opportunity to change your life for the better. Don’t be hard on yourself if you hit a plateau, because you probably will. Instead, use that plateau to motivate you more to get past it. Exercise doesn’t have to be grueling — it’s okay to have fun while doing it. Adding a buddy to your fitness schedule will help.
Last but not least, never beat yourself up if you can’t work out a day, or even for a week. Whatever you can do, or have time to do, is better than nothing, so don’t stress out about it.
And remember, staying fit isn’t necessarily about the exercise you SHOULD do; it’s more important to find the one you WILL do — and then stick with it.
For more workout programs, visit TheTrucker.com or download Fit To Pass App at www.fittopass.com.
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.