Truck driver fitness is challenging. Sitting for hours at a time, eating convenience food, loneliness, lack of physical activity, and less than 6 hours of sleep, are the norm for many drivers. According to the CDC, truck drivers have a drastically higher rate of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity when compared to all other adult US workers. How can these statistics change? It starts with you! You have the power to make a choice for how you live today!
But, I Don’t Have Time!
You do have time! How? The answer is already built into your daily routine. According to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
“The hours-of-service regulations require that if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before driving.”
You already have a 30 minute break built in to your work day. Take advantage of it! Start with just 15 minutes. While 15 minutes of any workout will not make you healthy overnight, it is a start in the right direction, and that matters! If your 30 minute break is not an option, consider early morning when you start your day, or in the evening before dinner.
Determine Your Truck Driver Fitness Why
If you still don’t think you have the time, consider your motivation. Why would you want to get in better shape? What would improve your life if you had more energy? Is it playing with your children without tiring so easily, reversing a current health condition, doing something you’ve never had the energy to do before, or simply enjoying a certain aspect of life? Think about your reason and write it down! Post it in your truck, in your wallet, on your phone’s wallpaper, or somewhere you will see it regularly. When your motivation is clear, you will make time and doing something active each day can simply become something you just do!
After you determine your why, choose a workout option that sounds fun to you. If it is fun to you, you are more likely to stick with it. Here are five ideas to help you get started!
Workout # 1: Walk Outside
Walking is not glamorous, it requires no fancy equipment, and it can be done practically anywhere. So, why not? 15 minutes may not seem like a lot, but think about how quickly that time adds up! After just four days that would be one hour you carved out of your work week for your health that you didn’t have time for before. You could even call a loved one and “walk together” on the phone! Staying in touch AND taking care of your body is a win-win!
Check out Trucker Wayne’s video to see how he made time to walk.
Workout #2: Exercise in Your Cab
You don’t need any equipment for these exercises! Simply set a timer for 15 minutes (or longer) and try these exercises right inside your cab!
Use your own body weight to push your body up to increase your strength, flexibility, and improve your posture.
Read this article on how to do a push up properly.
Use your own body weight to hold your body up to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles.
Lay down with knees bent, then use your core to sit yourself up. Make sure you are doing a sit up properly so you don’t strain your neck. Great for your core!
Stretch Your Wrists & Hands
Your hands are on the wheel for hours at a time and need to be stretched!
Workout #3: Exercise With Your Truck
A great idea is to use your truck as your gym! The Iron Trucker Fitness App is a free resource that shows you how. Search its database of exercises using your truck! Developed by a trucker, the app tells you how to do the exercise, provides a visual guide, and shows which part of your body it works. The app is currently available for Apple and Android.
Another helpful tool is a resistance band because it takes up minimal space, is inexpensive, and can be used in multiple ways! Set a timer for 15 minutes (or longer) and try any of these exercises.
Secure a resistance band to a handle, pull the band out with one arm, then gently twist in and out. Switch sides. Great for your core!
Use a resistance band secured to a handle. Using both arms, curl arms up and down slowly. Great for your biceps!
Watch how to do curls using your truck (begins at 2:40).
Again, use your resistance band around a handle and face away from your truck. Using both arms, bend arms at elbows with your hands up, then pull the band out and in.
Watch how to do tricep extensions using your truck (begins at 3:18).
Use your truck’s bumper as support and then lower your body down and up by bending at your elbows. This will strengthen the back of your arms.
Workout #4: Bounce on a Rebounder
Don’t let the name throw you off! Rebounding is an extremely powerful workout and can even be fun! Rebounders are mini trampolines and are fairly small so they can usually fit in the passenger side of your truck, but you can buy foldable versions as well. If you haven’t worked out in awhile, rebounding is perfect for you because it has minimal strain on your joints. You can rebound wherever your truck is parked and even wear headphones to listen to some favorite music or a podcast at the same time! So how do you do it? Start by simply bouncing up and down for 15 minutes, then increase your time or progress to jumping and adding various exercises to get a full body workout.
Workout #5: Play Basketball
All you’ll need is a basketball and a court! You can find the court nearest you with this FREE basketball court finder! Practice layups, quick sprints, your own personal three-point contest, or even start a game of pickup with other drivers. Your heartbeat will be up in no time and your workout will fly by!
Truck Driver Fitness Final Thoughts
After reading these five workout ideas, which appeals to you? Whether it is walking, doing push ups in your cab, doing tricep dips on your truck’s bumper, bouncing on a rebounder, or playing basketball, you have options! Choose one!
After choosing a workout, you need to make a plan. Not having a plan, is a plan to fail. So, schedule one of these workouts for 15 minutes today! Make an event on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, tell someone when you plan to workout and text them when you are done, or write it on a sticky note! And if you haven’t done so already, write down your “why” too!
Lastly, you just need to start. Don’t over-complicate truck driver fitness. Don’t let excuses get in the way. Just start with one workout. Fifteen minutes. You’ve got this!
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