For most drivers, nothing is as appealing as the freedom of being on the road – just you and the asphalt peeling away behind your tires. However, sitting behind the wheel for hours on end can soon take a toll on your health. Unfortunately, due to demands of the industry many truckers tend to shrug off some of the signs that tell them that their bodies are in poor shape. The following symptoms are some of the signs that your health is beginning to deteriorate.
Chronic Back and Joint Pains
How long it takes varies from person to person, but given enough time and it catches to up to most truckers. This is not surprising really seeing as sitting all day, every day, in the rig with the consistent “jarring” or vibration of the truck can take its toll on the body. There’s a limit to the amount of vibration the body can take.
So, if you’re a trucker and are having chronic body pains, particularly in the back and the lower part of the body, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible. While they may be able to prescribe some medications that’ll ease the pains, you may also want to try getting some exercise and move around physically for about 30 to 45 minutes any time you can as this can offer tremendous relief.
Many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea and insomnia. This condition is not only uncomfortable, it is potentially dangerous. This is because drivers can unexpectedly nod off whilst driving due to the lack of sleep.
In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), of the 5,000 annual driver deaths, over 1,400 are caused by Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is something you should take seriously if you drive long hours. If you’re not sleeping well at night, talk to the doctor immediately. Studies have also shown that sleep apnea is often linked to obesity, so as with back pain a combination of diet and exercise may help to relieve symptoms.
Fatigue and Lethargy
This is sometimes linked to conditions like inadequate sleep and inadequate heart activity. If you have sleep apnea, it makes sense that you’ll feel tired all day, and because most truckers live a very sedentary life, it is fairly common for them to have low energy levels.
To counteract this, start exercising about 15 or 30 minutes every day to start. Get that heart ticking and pumping faster. This will not only help you lose weight, it’ll make you feel fit, dump some badly needed endorphins into your body, increase your life span, reduce your chances of getting cardiovascular or heart diseases, and possibly boost your libido.
The average trucker is either overweight or obese. The few that aren’t either have a naturally fast metabolism, or more commonly they exercise. When you don’t work out and eat a lot of junk foods, it only makes sense that you’ll find yourself rapidly gaining weight. Once you find you’re getting overweight and obese, it’s time to change your lifestyle. Exercise more, eat healthier, speak to your doctor about possible lifestyle changes and study up on everything you can find on healthier living.
High Blood Pressure
The more time you spend on the road without much movement, the slower your blood moves around the body. This combined with too much time to think and having to keep track of everything going on around you more than regular drivers can also create additional stress. If you have a high blood pressure, talk to your doctor and start taking the necessary medications.
Most importantly, change your lifestyle and become more active. Cut back on the amount of junk food you eat on a regular basis, and drink a lot more water if you’re not already at the recommended minimum. For high-blood pressure related to stress, there are many meditative and other mental activities shown to reduce stress even when on the road.
Oscar King is a graduate student at UCF School of Medicine, learning all about the health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. To keep in top shape, he recommends truckers find a doctor by going through http://www.driverphysicals.com, not only for a regular checkup but also to ensure their regular physical certifications are kept up to date.