Professional truckers who want to feel great and enjoy good health understand how important it is to incorporate healthy habits into their day-to-day life. Whether you are on the road or at home, making time for exercise, eating right, sleeping well, and taking care of your mental health is important to maintaining your standard of living.

For over the road truck drivers, cultivating a healthy lifestyle can help you make lasting improvement in your quality of life, at work and at home. The misconception that OTR driving requires truckers to sit for long periods of time and eat nothing but fast food are two of the leading causes of poor health in the profession. Over time, bad habits like these can cause illness, fatigue, and harmful levels of stress.

Here are four work life balance tips that will ensure you never have to face these challenges  on the road:

1. Include Movement in Your Daily Life

The demands of over the road driving can make time for exercise seem scarce. However, exercise does not have to take a long time. Start with 15 minutes of activity each day, and try to keep your heart rate up during that time. You should be able to carry on a conversation with effort. Working harder for shorter periods of time maximizes the positive effect of exercise. Focus on building muscle by including weights in your short-burst workouts. Keep your fitness gear handy and simple. A jump rope, exercise mat, and resistance bands can help you get your heart rate up and build muscle.

Adding exercise to your life will help you sleep better, motivate you to eat more nutritional foods, and give you more energy throughout the day.

2. Feed Your Body Great Food

When you sit for long periods of time every day, your metabolism burns fewer and fewer calories. This is a huge problem for truck drivers, who spend hours in the cab of their truck. There is no shortage of processed carbs at truck stops and fast food joints, but these should be avoided whenever possible, especially on longer trips. Eating well on the road requires a plan.

You can save money and have more healthy choices if you buy groceries beforehand, and pack good food that you can eat while on the road. Here are just a few things you can keep in your truck to help keep your body fueled up and feeling great:

  • Water
  • Cooked turkey or chicken breasts
  • Washed and cut vegetables and fruit
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sub sandwiches

Avoiding processed carbs is crucial. If you stay hydrated and eat a healthy snack every two or three hours, your urge to eat large amounts of unhealthy food will greatly diminish over time.

Identify dishes and meals you enjoy that have high nutritional value. Be sure to plan ahead, but try to keep things simple. Many grocery stores like Walmart and Sam’s Club have ample parking for tractor-trailers. The extra effort it takes to get groceries is well worth it. After just a few days of eating well, you will feel more alert, energetic, and motivated to continue with your new habits.

3. Sleep Well

Getting consistent, high-quality sleep helps you stay safe on the road, and bolsters your mental and physical health. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dictates that truckers include protection against fuel leaks, exhaust fumes, and heat from exhaust in their sleeper berths. The berth must have proper equipment for sleeping, a means by which to communicate with the driver, and proper ventilation.

Do everything you can to make your sleeping area comfortable. Since getting a good night’s sleep is so important to over the road drivers, investing in a good quality mattress is a smart move. Also, be sure you have a portable heater and fan with you. If your truck breaks down, you will want to be able to rest comfortably while you wait for repairs.

4. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Driving for long periods of time can be mentally and emotionally draining. You can stave off boredom by using the time to learn, be entertained, or stay in touch with friends and family.

Listen to an audiobook that your spouse or child is reading, so you can talk about it with them later. You can connect with your loved ones by talking about the places you drive through, as well.

Your ability to learn new things is limitless with technology and the availability of books on tape. Learn a new language, listen to different types of music, or even listen to lectures from professors and universities all over the world. If you have ever wanted to learn more about a topic, do some research, and set up a few hours of content an your subject of interest.

Podcasts are a great way to learn about current events. There is a podcast for any area of interest. When you are on the road, keeping your mind active and engaged will not only make you happier, it will help you be a better driver.

Over the road driving can be very rewarding, especially if you take the time to plan for trips. Take good care of yourself so you can make the most of your opportunity.

Ready to go to work for a trucking company in Little Rock? RCX Solutions, Inc is looking for great drivers. You can learn more about our available jobs by calling 866-336-9697 or apply online, now .