Transportation of goods is an essential service that needs skilled truck drivers. Staying awake for long hours, driving during the day and into the night is not an easy job – and it has its fair share of health issues.
Imaginably, being on the road all day is extremely physically and mentally tiring. The lifestyle of a truck driver is what heightens poor habits. Mainly stopping at petrol stations that only serve fast food because deadlines are strict.
After working for a few years, you’ll notice your health is suffering as a consequence. In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about the common health issues of truck drivers and the habits they can adopt to potentially avoid them.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Truck Driver?
61 years of age. TruckingInfo conducted research around the life expectancy of truck drivers.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said “According to the (CDC), the average life expectancy for a commercial truck driver is 61 years. That is 16 years lower than the national average, and I think you’ll agree that gap is startling.”
What Are The Most Common Truck Driver Health Issues?
Truck drivers are twice as likely to become obese or overweight than any other worker.
The lack of healthy food options while driving is the main cause. Truck drivers are more likely to consume food from a petrol station, fast food restaurant and any other convenient place.
These foods are usually high in calories, sugar, salt and saturated fats. Driving for long hours can lead to feelings of isolation, on the back of this emotional eating can occur. Eating can give the driver a sense of happiness.
Lack of physical activity can also lead to obesity, although the work of a truck driver is exhausting, they rarely get enough exercise or time whilst on duty.
There are many ways to prevent obesity. Specifically, to truck drivers, we’d suggest cooking healthy meals in advance so you aren’t subject to eat at a fast-food place.
If you do purchase food from the places you stop off at, try to avoid fatty foods that can clog your arteries and increased cholesterol level. Scheduling a workout into your hours of driving, you will not just reap the weight loss from it, but it’ll provide you with an energy boost throughout the day.
We understand it can be difficult to find a time and place to workout but try and adapt to your surroundings, maybe purchase some dumbbells or utilise the space around you by going on a walk/jog.
Studies from CDC has showcased that over 70% of truck drivers smoke. Yes, smoking is a personal choice, but many drivers feel it’s the only option to relieve stress and potentially stay awake.
Besides smoking, drivers are exposed to diesel fumes and other harmful chemicals, that can affect the body, thus increasing the risk of developing lung cancer.
To minimise the chance of lung cancer, giving up smoking is certainly the main one. Routinely check your ventilation systems to ensure they’re working properly and try to minimize your exposure to fumes.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts. It can cause unrest, loud snoring, mental issues, and daytime sleepiness.
It is a common health issue among truck drivers, especially those who smoke and are obese. When severe people will have to sleep with a breathing apparatus to get a restful sleep.
To reduce your chances of getting sleep apnea, manage your weight and limit excessive drinking and smoking. Be sure to talk to your employer about a diagnosis because it may affect your career.
Mental Health problems
Truck drivers aren’t just subject to physical health problems, they’re also prone to developing mental health issues. The most common are depression and anxiety. Truck drivers spend most of their time alone, this can lead to isolation and feelings of loneliness and depression.
Having no one to talk to can driving long hours alone gives one plenty of time to overthink and stress. Overthinking can often lead to negative thoughts, worrying about situations at home or work. These can be stressful times and without time to relieve stress, it can circulate in their minds.
By learning and understanding your behaviours on the road, it can help you prevent them. While the common health issues for truck drivers are severe and detrimental to your health, you can take steps to mitigate the problems and in some cases prevent them altogether.
What Can I Do As An Employer?
As an employer, it is your responsibility to be aware of these health problems so that you can help your employees lead a healthier lifestyle. Educate yourself and provide training to your team to help them better understand the risks of unhealthy habits. Having an employee wellbeing programme or initiative is also a great first step in helping your team stay fit and healthy.
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