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 pressure).
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.