I’m not a doctor or any type of trained health expert and I’m not writing this to give specific health advice. I’m writing this in general terms to hopefully get you thinking about your life, your health and your family. It’s my guess that you mean more to your family than you know. Personally, I would like to live a long healthy life if possible. I would like to be around for my kids and watch them grow, to see what path they take in their lives. All drivers, company and owner-operators, spend a tremendous amount of every day sitting. Yes, our brains are engaged and our arms move a little to keep the truck between the lines and grab a gear now and then unless you are driving a newer truck with an automatic transmission. If the truth were told, we don’t get much exercise during the day and lifting your coffee cup doesn’t count.
By searching “health risk of sitting all day” followed by “health risk of sitting all day versus smoking” I found articles from CBS News, The Mayo Clinic, Runners World, NPR, Healthy Living, Forbes, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. As one would expect, there are a range of opinions about how detrimental sitting is to your health. In less than 20 minutes I read, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Now, I don’t smoke, but this sure caught my attention. I read that sitting for over 6 hours a day can take several years off your life. Prolonged sitting can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides (which are fats in our blood), back problems, poor posture, knee pain, muscle weakness, slowed metabolism, heart disease, diabetes, depression and deep vein thrombosis. The point is sitting all day is very unhealthy.
At this point you are probably saying, no kidding everyone knows that, but what can I do to reduce my potential problems when my job requires me to sit all day? First, schedule an appointment with your doctor and have a frank discussion with him/her (that’s why you’re paying them). They will most likely give you advice on eating healthier, eating smaller portions, and develop some type of exercise plan for you. They may schedule a metabolic work up to determine what is happening under your skin, which I believe is a good idea. I have taken those steps and am making a daily effort to follow my doctors’ advice including getting up and moving whenever possible.
You have to get your muscles moving to burn calories, keep your joints limber and your muscles toned, but that doesn’t mean you have to exercise yourself into a sweaty exhausted mess. Park your truck as far from the restaurant and store as possible when pulling into the truck stop at night. Eat healthier meals: think salad bar rather than hamburger and steak, think water and unsweetened iced tea rather than soda.
Make an effort to walk every day even if it is going nowhere except around your truck. Jeff Clark did a nice blog posted on 11/11/13 titled “My Morning Walk” and if you didn’t read it you should. He’s not crazy, he’s HealthSmart! There have been blog posts about walking and running and forum posts about exercise, as well from several of the Pros and other contributors.
Henry Albert, Bob and Linda Caffee, and Jeff Clark have posted blogs about the FIT system, which is Freightliner’s In-cab Training System. I have watched some nice videos from Carissa Berres and Bob Perry of Rolling Strong that show how to use this unique system. There is so much information available on Team Run Smart to help you…so what are you waiting for? If you care about yourself and your loved ones, take the time to talk to your doctor and do a little research on your own to find out how to improve your health and hopefully prolong your life. Your family depends on you and it is your duty to be there for them.