According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are over 7 million commercial truck drivers on the highways in
America. Because the demands of a truck driver’s job typically involves
irregular schedules, long hours, little physical activity, limited access
to healthy foods, and stress, this population is categorized as one of
the most unhealthy workforces in the nation. With numerous other occupations
involving long hours of windshield time, there is some great information
compiled in the
Healthy Handbook for Truckers compiled by CVMC’s Occupational Health Nurse Manager, Kim Pennell
to tackle some of the common challenges for any road warrior.
Kim recently presented some of the highlights from her handbook at the
CVMC Worker’s Compensation Conference and as a featured guest speaker
at a conference for Maryland State Troopers. Here are some of the key
takeaways from the handbook that you might want to adapt when drafting
your own road map for better health:
- Eating (and Drinking) Healthier On the Road – When fast food is the
only option, Kim suggests some of the better options include selecting
grilled foods over fried foods, adding fruits and vegetables by packing
a cooler to keep with you on the road and limiting your sodium intake
to less tan 2300 mg daily. Also, remember to take care of your kidneys
by drinking plenty of water and limiting sodas. Also include dark leafy
greens and fish in your diet
- Making Time to Stretch and Exercise – Make it part of your routine
by taking along a set of dumbbells and doing bicep curls at your stops.
Do sit-ups and push ups before going to sleep and try jogging around your
rig at the beginning and end of your day.
Use Sunscreen All the Time – in the photo above, you can see how
the sun has turned truck driver Bill McElligott into the man with two
faces. The right side of his face looks like a healthy 69-year-old’s.
The left side, the one exposed to the sun for 28 years, looks 20 years older.
Photo source – The New England Journal of Medicine.
- Health Vision – Keep your eyes healthy by wearing unglasses with
99-100% UVA and UVB radiation protection; know your family eye history
and get regular dilated eye exams.
- Quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight – both help avoid three
of the top health problems drivers face (obesity, diabetes and high blood
To find out more about the numerous services offered at
CVMC Occupational Health, located at 3521 Graystone Place SE, STE 201 Conover, NC 28613, please
call (828) 326-3230.