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Truck Driver Health and Fitness

Doing More to Improve Truck Driver Health Issues | The Road

Truck Driver Fitness

Too often, long haul truck drivers die before their time. Truck driver health and mortality aren’t issues that we have historically paid much attention to, but if we are to achieve our potential as an industry, or as individual companies, we must start helping, enabling, and educating drivers to improve their health and prioritize wellness.

In my 44 years in this industry, I have attended far too many memorial services for my colleagues and friends who passed away for reasons that could have been prevented. Industry statistics show the average lifespan of a long haul driver is just 61 years, while the average lifespan of an American male is 76 years. This 15 year difference is very disturbing. The mortality age of an over-the-road driver should not be shorter than any other profession. It just isn’t right, and it doesn’t have to be that way!

Truck Driver Health Issues

Truck Driver Health Issues

What is it about trucking that creates a shorter life expectancy? Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and sleep apnea are only a few of the most common factors. These severe issues can—and should—be addressed. It is my belief that drivers want to live longer, healthier lifestyles; they just don’t always know how to get there.

Due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits—often brought on by a need for convenience over health—many of our drivers today suffer from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol levels. Any one of these conditions alone can be dangerous; combined, they can be lethal. These factors can dramatically increase the risk of many serious medical conditions, including heart failure, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

Prioritizing Driver Health and Wellness

Prioritizing Driver Health and Wellness

Our goal is to attract the best drivers, retain them, and then take care of them once they’re a part of our trucking family. I consider our drivers my family, and just like with any family member, it’s important to let them know they matter and that I care. That’s why we encourage our drivers to take part in the Prime Transformation program, which was created to provide our drivers with an opportunity to participate in a health and fitness program.

It is up to us as an industry to break the cycle and step up. By providing education and guidance, we can help our drivers make better choices, exercise more, eat better, and take care of themselves despite the nature of their jobs. Simple changes like losing weight, getting 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily, and making better nutritional choices can lead to great results. This lifestyle change can start with a single set of dumbbells and a guide to healthy restaurants.

We can make a difference for our drivers; we can help save the lifeblood of our industry.

What are you doing to prioritize drivers’ health and wellness? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

Glenn

Interesting article. I had no idea the avg life expectancy was that much lower. It's a very sobering statistic. Keep up the good work on creating a healthier driver fleet.

2.24.16

Reply

Jerry Hahn

I would love to see someone write articles and post blogs, posters or something to give drivers ideas on what they can do about exercise, food and other factors. We all know that some truck stops for example, may not have the healthiest food. List for drivers what foods to stay away from and why. List foods that can be purchased at a grocery store and kept with minimal cooling needed. Take a small cooler with you and eat these foods. What exercises should be done and how often while waiting to get loaded, unloaded, while fueling, etc. Give the drivers graphic pictorials and lists of things to help them personally. How about a handbook of healthy tips? Posters in drivers' rooms.

Don't assume the drivers know all this and remember. I often need reminders and surround myself with them.

2.24.16

Reply

    Tony

    The easiest tip to provide is the healthiest food is as close to its natural state as possible. Being able to look at food and recognizing what it consists of is key.

    Staying away from sugar, eating lots of lean protein, and drinking lots of water (even black coffee counts as water) with help with staying satisfied and make it easier to avoid the unhealthy fast options.

    3.1.16

Barry Pawelek

Thank You for this article. As you probably know change in this industry is difficult. With all the companies out there with health programs we see less then 12% of the population using their own company products. We have helped most of the companies that are now out here now and we wonder why they still get such a low %. I think you might want to call us and ask us about what a HABIT is and how most of these companies don't use them or even know what they are. For over 20 years we have been in the back ground watching these companies bring out program after program, only to watch them fail. Our board of directors will let us lose to bring out the right path for companies to take. Maybe its time for a real change in application.

5.22.16

Reply

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