One of the problems that a long time big rig driver has is that they gain weight. This is a facet of the industry that is just now being recognized. This can lead to additional health problems if it is not taken seriously. After being trapped in a big rig all day and trying to cope with the many hazards of the road, it is common to go into a truck stop to relax. This usually means eating a big meal, which is supplemented between stops with chip, cookies, or other snacks. When this is continued over several years, the skinny guy that started out driving trucks can find himself in the 300 or 400-pound range.
Excess weight is hard on the heart and other organs of the body. This combined with sitting for long periods, often leads to hemorrhoid problems, which is a common truck driver complaint. This can become very painful and often requires surgery. Therefore, what is a trucker to do when they must be at the wheel for hours at a time with little time for walking or other types of exercise?
The first place to start is with the food. I am not talking about a ‘fad’ diet where you starve yourself, but a reasonable one. Hamburgers, chips, cookies, chocolate, and so forth are going to put on pounds. As you sit in your truck that type of food is digests slowly. It is then stored as fat cells. It cannot not be ‘burned off’ by sitting in one place.
This is not the place to prescribe a diet for you, but simply to offer a little advice. There is no doubt that your ‘snacks’, while driving is what keeps you alert. But if these are things such as grapes, oranges, celery, carrots, or some of the crunchy foods that do not contain fat, they will be filling and much easier for the body to process. When stopping at the truck stop restaurant, limit the amount of potatoes, bread, and heavy desserts eaten. Concentrate more on salads, vegetables, and meat that is not fried. If you like soft drinks choose those that contain no sugar such as diet drinks.
Exercise is imperative. Not everyone is a runner or able to do pushups. It also requires time that eats into profits. However, there is nothing to stop you from taking a couple of walks around the parking lot, having a bicycle on board to use, or taking a few jumps with a jump rope. This is the only way you will be able to keep fat from accumulating in your arteries, blood vessels, and organs. It will also help you relieve stress while on the road.
Being healthy is imperative if you want to keep your job. In most states truck drivers must pass a physical every two years to keep a license. If things like high blood pressure, heart conditions, or insulin-dependent diabetes appears, a license will not be issued and you could lose your ability to drive any kind of a big rig vehicle.