Driver Health: Easier Than You Think

 

Driver health easier than you think

At Titan GPS we’re all about optimizing and boosting the bottom-line of fleets. But mobile assets are only one piece of a complex puzzle, here are our 3 easy tips that can drastically improve your health or the health of your drivers.

DRIVER HEALTH

Trucks, vans, and equipment wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for the drivers/operators behind them (with automation that statement may not be true in the future, but for now it is). We’ve all heard the health concerns revolving around a sedentary lifestyle. Typically this subject revolves around office workers. But drivers in all sectors are subject to the same concerns and more! From truck drivers, to delivery drivers and even heavy duty equipment operators. Unlike office workers, many drivers don’t have the option of getting up to go for a brief walk or sit on a yoga ball at their desk.

Driving Takes a Larger Toll Than You Think

It’s painfully obvious that sitting in the chair for extended periods of time isn’t healthy. But pair that with the stressful nature of operating a large vehicle at high speeds or massive heavy equipment, and you get a concoction of bad physical side effects. There is evidence that shows extended periods of driving elicit an acute stress reaction from the body. So what does acute stress reaction mean? Well, the term is usually reserved for those who are subject to or witness a traumatic event. It’s when you’re body releases significant amounts of cortisol and catecholamine (stress hormones) resulting in:

  • Sense of physical detachment
  • Warped perspective
  • Decreased awareness of one’s surroundings
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping/concentration

On top of these symptoms, a sedentary job has other physical downsides such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Lower back (and butt) problems due to disk compression

Luckily drivers and equipment operators can hit two (or more) birds with one stone. There’s several easy to implement tactics that anyone can do to improve their health and curb the mental and physical downsides of driving for extended for a living.

WALK

It’s pretty simple; go for a walk during downtime. Whether you’re a trucker and are waiting for the receiver to unload, or you’re a delivery driver on a lunch break. Instead of sitting in a McDonalds, or queuing up a movie on your smartphone. Take a walk. Not only does it burn calories, it gets your blood circulating, helps take pressure off your back and the fresh air can have positive effects on mood/mental state. It doesn’t need to be a marathon, just take 15-20 minutes and walk around the lot or down the street. An added benefit is that even a relatively small amount of exercise can help you fall asleep when the time comes. Which is essential for those who work irregular hours or who are on the road for days at a time.

Driver Health Walking

WATER WATER WATER

Who doesn’t love pop? Or coffee? Unfortunately, pop and even fruit juices are packed with sugar and are “empty” calories, meaning there’s no nutritional value and actually make you MORE hungry. Ever notice how you always want a snack with your Pepsi? So if you’re grabbing lunch (hopefully a healthy choice), instead of getting a Sprite or Diet Pepsi, get a bottle of water instead. The same thing goes for coffee, you don’t need cream and sugar. Try taking it black, if it’s good enough for cowboys it’s good enough for you. Similar to walking, a reduction in sugar results in your body’s energy levels being easier to regulate, meaning that when you need to sleep, you’ll be able to.

DIET

There are a million and one options out there for diets that promise weight loss and improved health. But honestly, for those who drive for a living or work long hours operating heavy machinery, it is simply not realistic to adhere to a strict diet. Instead, start your journey to a healthier lifestyle by simply eating a little less. Don’t upsize your combo, get a small fries, or only get one side instead of two at the local diner. It can be an annoying adjustment to make but its worth it and you’ll adapt quickly, we promise. It’s also a lot easier to accomplish if you follow our previous suggestion, by drinking more water you have less room for food. If you want to take it a step further you can use a calorie counter app like this or this to track just how much you’re eating. But how many calories should you be eating in a day? Well, the standard is roughly 2,500 calories a day for adult men (500 less for women). But if you want to something more precise, we suggest taking the same approach we use when helping fleets to optimize for speed, idling, and aggressive driving: benchmark yourself. The week before you start eating healthier, use one of these calories tracking apps and record everything you eat. Then average your calories over the week and reduce that number by 15% as your goal calories intake.

MINDSET

At the end of the day, living healthy and losing weight is a mindset. Whether you’re out in the oil sands, traveling across the continent shipping goods, or piloting a crane at the foot of a skyscraper. You’re working for your family, to provide for them and a healthy lifestyle means you’ll be able to work for longer. Ultimately making more money. Not to mention, you’ll feel better every day.

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