Walking is one of the best and easiest exercises, and it doesn’t require any specialized equipment or access to a gym. Keep it simple: Walk with intensity and in short spurts.
Here is a quick routine to get you moving.
First, warm up for two to three minutes, keeping your back straight and abs tight. Put away your cellphone and think healthy thoughts; this is your time. Next, pick up your pace for 30 seconds and slow down for another 60 seconds; repeat as you feel comfortable. Depending on how many times a week you can walk, I recommend increasing your 30-second burst weekly by five seconds.
Walking with intensity and training in intervals will allow you to increase your cardio capacity and build endurance. The best thing is that you can gain all the benefits of exercise in half the time by walking with intensity and doing intervals. I know that in the trucking business time is money, but this time is a solid investment in your personal health.
When you take your break, park in the farthest spot in the lot. Remember, 2,000 steps equal about 1 mile and burns 100 calories. Also, try walking circles around your rig as you fill it up.
If you are out of shape, it is safe to say you did not get that way overnight. Start your exercise routine slowly and build up over time. Exercise should not be a chore; it is one of the best things you can do for your body.
Walking can help to increase circulation. If you regularly experience unpleasant sensations in the legs such as tingling and “crawling,” you may be suffering from restless-leg syndrome (RLS).
Walking can also help to relax tension in neck and shoulders, relieve lower-back pain and hip stiffness, and ease mental fatigue and eye strain.
Invest in good tread.
Take a note from Michelin’s tire program. You do not run your rig on bald tires, and you should not walk in worn-out shoes. Your shoes’ arch support, heel support and cushioning all wear down over time. Good walking shoes help avoid injuries.
Try this simple routine.
Once you have your walking routine established, here is a quick and easy exercise routine you can do during a break.
- Stretch and do a warm-up lap. First, with your feet together, breathe in and slowly raise your arms over your head for a count of four. Slowly exhale for a count of four, lowering your arms to your sides. Repeat five times. Next, stand with your feet
shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Slowly bend at the waist and let your arms hang loosely toward the ground (NEVER bounce). Breathe slowly and deeply for three breaths. Slowly straighten back up, keeping your midsection tight and your back straight. Repeat five times.
- Complete 10 push-offs from your truck. Stand 3 feet away from your rig with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your truck’s fender, shoulder-width apart, and push off slowly as you count to three.
- Complete 10 step-ups. Move to the steps of your rig. Step up with one leg and back down; then step up and back down with the other leg. Should you need help (because of bad knees, perhaps) use the grab-handle on the side of your cab to help balance yourself and add support when stepping up. When doing this, remember to use your leg muscles as much as possible and not your arms.
- Do 10 squats. Move to the front of your truck. Position your legs hip-width apart and hold onto your bumper. On a count of three, slowly squat down as if you are sitting on a chair; then slowly raise yourself on a count of three. Remember to keep your core (abdominal) muscles tight and engaged.
- Complete 10 bicep curls. Put water into two 1-gallon water jugs. (The amount of water depends on your personal strength. You want enough weight for resistance to perform at least 10 repetitions with each arm. You can start with a small amount of water and build up to a full gallon in each bottle.) Stand straight, keeping your abdominal muscles tight, and do not lock your knees. Curl the water jugs at the same time to chest height. Squeeze your biceps once you reach the top; then slowly lower the jugs while maintaining resistance on the way down.
- Do 10 shoulder lateral raises. After a proper warm-up, use two 1-gallon water jugs filled with water depending on your personal strength (see note above). You want enough weight for resistance to perform at least 10 repetitions with each shoulder. Stand straight, keeping your abdominal muscles tight, and do not lock your knees. With your elbows slightly bent, raise the water jugs from your sides at the same time until your elbows are shoulder high. Lower the jugs slowly and repeat.
- Perform 10 front shoulder raises. Stand straight, keeping your abdominal muscles tight, and do not lock your knees. With elbows slightly bent, raise the water jugs in front of you at the same time until your elbows are shoulder high. Lower the jugs slowly while maintaining resistance on the way down.
- Do 10 triceps push-offs. Use the same form as the push-off exercise, but move your hands closer, with thumbs touching, and push off using your triceps.
- Complete 10 rows with each arm. Bend over so your back is parallel with the ground (use your truck tire for support). Slowly bring a water jug up to your side and then back down. Switch sides and repeat.
- Take another lap. Without stopping, walk a lap around your rig. Repeat as many as three times as your personal condition level will allow. Never overdo it.
- Cool down and stretch.
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.