According to the Centers for Disease Control, truck drivers have a 50 percent higher rate of diabetes than the general American population. This is because truck drivers have higher risk factors. Fifty percent of truck drivers smoke (31 percent higher than other American adults), and drivers typically exercise less and have poorer diets. If left unchecked, poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to high blood pressure levels and, in turn, prediabetes.
“When I see guys in the office and they raise the issue [of how to lose weight], I say, ‘Add a little extra to your regular activities. Any little bit of extra exercise — walking, even doing some flexibility calisthenics for 15 minutes while you’re getting ready to sleep or getting up in the morning — can help,’” said Dr. Albert Osbahr, a physician who often treats truck drivers. “Probably the biggest thing is parking farther away from the truck stop [building], making that walk in and out and do that [extra walking] with any other kind of activity.”
Another way of adding some extra exercise is to incorporate more movement into frequent truck inspections. Drivers could try doing jumping jacks before rounding a corner, or adding some pushups while checking underneath. This way, they’re getting a few extra minutes of exercise without taking much time out of their day. This can also benefit mental health, as spending time outside is a great way to add value to the day.
If you are a driver interested in taking steps to improve your physical health, consider joining the National Diabetes Prevention Program to learn about eating healthy away from home, exercising on a tight schedule and more. You’ll learn health tips and find groups of drivers with similar goals and lifestyles.
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