After I set my brakes I decided to leave my air conditioner on as I got out of my truck. I was picking up at a regular customer of ours in Reno, Nevada. It was a typical summer day, the temperature was 96 degrees with a dry, warm breeze. A few drivers who work for the same company that I do were also waiting for their loads.

After checking in I noticed someone walking towards me. I climbed back into my truck to catch up on some paperwork while I was waiting for a door to get loaded on. The person walking towards me knocked on my door.

“Hey, how are you doing?” he said in a very friendly manner.

“Good, how are you?” I quickly replied as I was more focused on my paperwork than the conversation.

“I've been here for a couple of hours and I should be the next one on the door.”

“Yeah, they told me I will be waiting for a couple of hours,” I replied as my eyes were still on my paperwork.

“How's your wife?” My wife has been sick for a couple of years and apparently I shared that with him at one point in time.

“Good, she is doing much better,” I replied back as he was starting to get my attention.

“That is great to hear, Valley Fever sounds like a horrible illness.” Obviously this man knows me, but I still couldn’t remember who he was.

Humbly I said, “I'm sorry I don't recognize you and you seem to know me.”

He chuckled and said, “We met a little over a year ago and the reason you don't recognize me is because I've lost 60 pounds!”

“Wow,” I respond in disbelief, “I forgot your name, my name is Bruce.”

“Jerry.”

“How did you lose 60 pounds?”

“When I went in for my DOT physical the doctor said I have type 2 diabetes and he can only give me a temporary clearance to drive,” Jerry responded. He went on to tell me how he was at risk of losing his license. Jerry said with an upbeat tone, “I don't eat at any fast food restaurants anymore. Before I would never eat fruits and vegetables and now they are such a big part of my diet. But the biggest thing for me now is I’m on a walking program.” He went into further detail, saying, “When I first started walking I could only walk a mile and my knees, ankles, back and hips would all hurt, but now I walk six to ten miles a day with no pain. Walking is now my number one priority every day.” With a huge smile on his face Jerry concluded, “Two months ago the doctor said I no longer had type 2 diabetes!”

It took a while, but I eventually realized who Jerry was and he was nothing like the old Jerry I remembered. He used to be one of those guys you really didn't want to be around or talk to because he was so pessimistic. Now Jerry had a great outlook on life and he was full of positive energy.

Jerry and I were reacquainted about a year ago today on that hot summer day. Even though it was 96 degrees outside that day Jerry told me he walked six miles. Jerry has no excuses, walking is now his top priority. No matter what obstacles he may face on a daily basis nothing will stop him from reaching his fitness goals.

Jerry inspired me to walk during my time off. As a driver I seem to be either very busy or not busy at all. When I walk it is usually three miles and it takes me around 45 to 50 minutes. On days I have more time on my hands I will typically walk two times a day, for a total of six miles. On very hot days I'll try to walk in the morning or at night when it cools down.

Due to the nature of our job we all live a very sedentary lifestyle. In addition to that we do not have access to the most nutritious foods on the road. The Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief Anne Ferro both cited CDC data in 2012 when they said that a commercial driver’s life expectancy is 16 years shorter than the national average. That means the average driver dies

at the age of 61.

We all have a 10-hour break every day. Even if we sleep eight hours, take a shower and have a meal during our 10-hour break we should still have time to exercise. Jerry proves that setting aside time every day to do something as simple as walking can not only help us physically, but mentally. A change in our physical and mental well-being could help us each become stronger as we face these real health challenges as drivers.

Bruce Beckel is a founder of ProDriver Placement, an organization that has found a way to find the needs of drivers through engagement and relationship building. This allows ProDriver Placement to match each unique driver with a like-minded trucking company. ProDriver Placement has found that core values like safety and dependability bring drivers and trucking companies together.>

To learn more, contact Bruce at bruce@prodriverplacement.com.

Read These Next...

Comment ()


I like to take a walk after I park.

January 08, 2017 17:04:03 PM

Good article.very inspiring

October 09, 2016 0:45:45 AM

it doesnt take much to do a few push ups or jumping jacks or even some lunges as you walk around the truck every couple hours. i do flatbed so i have a mandated schedule for inspections and what not. i use that time to do some excercise.

September 09, 2016 13:10:52 PM

From strictly a weight loss/gain perspective it boils down to calories in versus calories out or burned. You don't need to spend money on diet programs and they tend to be temporary. Make permanent changes in your diet and exercise regularly. Count your calorie intake and if you want to lose weight burn more calories than you take in. It's as simple as that. Consult your family doctor and a certified nutritionist if this helps you to develop a plan that will work for you. The healthier your food choices are do a couple of things. Well probably more than a couple things but I'm only going to list a couple. First they help with the calorie count as they tend to have fewer calories and the calories they do have come from food that is much better fuel for your body. You've all heard the old saying, garbage in, garbage out. You wouldn't put bad fuel in your truck, why would you put it in your body? They also help with your triglyceride and cholesterol levels and this helps with atherosclerosis which is a specific form of arteriosclerosis. As Tommy stated, if you don't want to do it for yourself, then step up and do it for your family, after all then depend on you!

August 12, 2016 19:37:06 PM

Very nice article. I know walking is healthy yet I find every excuse in the book to avoid walking. I've recently given up all grains (no bread, pasta, pizza or cookies) but think the walking will be what finally turns my health around. Thank you for writing what you did.

August 12, 2016 15:22:25 PM

The excuse drivers are using that they are unable to find time to exercise or unable to find healthy food is just an excuse. Go in any fast food restaurant and you will find salads on every menu and almost all truck stops have fruit for sale. And you hear the excuse many times that truck stops have nowhere to walk, 40 laps around your truck and trailer is a mile, so all you need is enough room to walk around your truck. The type of food you eat is not the problem but the calories that are in this food. Trying to eat only 1600 to 1800 calories a day? Four meals around 400 calories each will be enough and a quarter pounder with a diet drink or water will be 415 calories. Smaller meals four times a day will keep your blood sugar more in balance than one or two large meals and four meals will give drivers more energy and fewer lows when your sugar bottoms out.
Drivers will use the excuse of no time to exercise but then go on and complain about all of their wait time during the week. Maybe these drivers will find time to eat right or exercise when they are obese with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or unable to do their job as a driver and lose their CDLs. You will have plenty of time on your hands then. Take some "me" time now and get healthy, if not for you than for your family.
Walking around your truck getting healthy just doesn't look manly or cool.

August 12, 2016 12:59:42 PM

Great article Bruce! I mentioned to my wife this morning that I was planning to walk on my break today. Prior to reading this I was thinking to myself "well maybe I'll start tomorrow". You've inspired me...no time to start like the present! Hey, I gotta go and get my "Walk on"!! Thanks!!!

August 12, 2016 12:24:47 PM

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to get the latest trucking tips and tricks!

ADD ME

Ask a question

ASK A QUESTION

Post a question to our forum and a Pro will answer as well as our community members!

GO TO THE LIVE Smart FORUM

Keep Reading LIVE Smart Articles

LIVE Smart

Portion Sizes

April 05, 2017

LIVE Smart

Fat: Friend or Foe?

March 01, 2017

About Bruce Beckel

Bruce Beckel has driven over four million miles in his career and is still driving. In addition to his driving experience Bruce is a founder of ProDriver Placement, a career placement service. In his blog at prodriverplacement.com he touches on the topics of trucking experience, lifestyle and safety. While driving, and in the career services field, Bruce has noticed that the two most important factors that advance a driver’s career are safety and dependability.

View Full Bio and All Posts by Bruce Beckel