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Improving Truckers' Health

Updated: Jan 9, 2019

(Alex Smith/NPR)

It's easy to see why trucking is considered an unhealthy profession. Long days on the road, inside the cab, can promote a feeling of loneliness - where food is an available and popular cure.

According to CDC research, around 70 percent of truckers are obese (under the BMI scale). There is also a high risk for heart disease and diabetes. These adverse effects have serious consequences for the trucking industry, both financially and health-wise.

Some truckers have started to take action and combat poor health within the trucking industry. NPR recently interviewed Siphiwe Baleka, a former swimmer with Olympic aspirations. Once his athletic career ended, Baleka became a trucker. Within the first two months, he had gained 15 pounds.

After several failed diets and exercise regiments, Baleka found personal success: a routine that included a low-carb, high-protein diet with short bursts of high-intensity exercise. He then approached company management with a few health monitoring ideas, including measuring drivers' heart rate. His advice to fellow truckers has proven to be successful, helping several of his colleagues lower blood pressure and lose weight.

So, what can you do to improve your health? Obviously, not every diet and exercise regiment will be universally successful, so find what works for YOU. Some suggestions:

  • Replacing processed junk foods (chips, candy, soda) with healthier alternatives (snack-able fruits and vegetables, and water)

  • Maximize your opportunity for rest - get a good night's sleep!

  • Effective, thorough exercise when you can. This includes stretching and a brief jog before beginning your day on the road.

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