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Tips for Trucker Health in the New Year

As a truck driver, health is a serious matter. As with any job that entails large amounts of sedentary time, maintaining our health and fitness should be at the top of our to-do list in the new year.

Between being on the road and spending time with our loved ones, it’s not easy to fit in time at the gym. Fortunately staying active and healthy doesn’t mean we need access to hundreds of machines. Doing just 20 minutes of exercise a week is certainly better than doing none at all, but can you do even more?

There’s a saying in the fitness world that aptly describes what happens to a human body that doesn’t remain active: “use it or lose it.” If you aren’t using your muscles they’ll begin to shrink and you’ll get weaker.

So rather than doing nothing and being  a party to your own deteriorating health, set some time aside to take care of your most important asset. Let’s take a look at some quick ways to ensure you are keeping your mind and body in top form.

The Anytime, Anywhere Workout

As mentioned before, you don’t need a full-size gym to get the cardiovascular system pumping. Try a short 10 to 20 minute workout at least 2 to 3 days a week.

Even just a short burst of activity a few times a week can improve mobility, increase concentration, and above all, make you feel great! This anytime, anywhere workout can be done at any time of day and the beauty of it is that there’s no equipment required.

All you have to do is get out of your truck and get started. These short workouts can also be performed no matter your fitness level.

Before getting started try going for a light jog for 3 to 5 minutes. If your location doesn’t afford you the space to go for a quick jog, running in place works as well.

After getting your heart pumping with a quick jog, your first quick workout should be the simple squat.

  • Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and begin a squat. Make sure to keep your head up, back straight, and always stay behind your toes. Go as low as you can without causing yourself any pain. An alternative could be sitting in a chair and simply standing up for a number of repetitions. Shoot for 20 total repetitions, but less is fine. Stay within your comfort level.
  • Push-ups: The standard push-up requires little explanation. Assume the position with your hands wider than your shoulder width and make sure you are up on your toes. Lower your body to the ground and repeat the motion. Again, shoot for 20 total repetitions, but stay within your comfort range.
  • Mountain Climbers: This exercise will also start in a push-up position. Instead of lowering your body to the floor, bring your right foot up next to your right hand. Then drop your right foot back to the starting position and complete the same range of movement with your left foot. Just as before, see how close you can safely get to 20 repetitions.

Complete this anytime, anywhere workout as fast or as slow as you like. If you find it’s getting easier to complete required repetitions, challenge yourself to increase it at your own pace.

No matter what you do, the most important thing is to keep your body moving. Lack of movement is one of the major drivers of the back, neck, and knee pain that many truckers suffer from.

Even the industry is getting in on the action with the Healthy Fleet Challenge, where carriers, associations, and allied trades can form a team of five or more people and record their “step counts.” At the end of five months the team that records the most steps counts will be named a winner.

As American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO Bill Graves stated in San Diego this past October, “I think the challenge underscores the importance that we all know in our lives. We need to stay active, we need to keep moving and try to work towards being as fit and healthy as we can be.”

Whether it’s through a quick anytime, anywhere workout or something customized to fit your needs, staying healthy in the new year shouldn’t be just another wasted resolution. Take as much pride in your health as you do in your profession and work to actively stay fit in 2015!

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