Truck Driver Health and Fitness

Doing More to Improve Truck Driver Health Issues | The Road

Too often, long haul truck drivers die before their time. Truck driver health and mortality aren’t issues that we have historically paid much attention to, but if we are to achieve our potential as an industry, or as individual companies, we must start helping, enabling, and educating drivers to improve their health and prioritize wellness.

In my 44 years in this industry, I have attended far too many memorial services for my colleagues and friends who passed away for reasons that could have been prevented. Industry statistics show the average lifespan of a long haul driver is just 61 years, while the average lifespan of an American male is 76 years. This 15 year difference is very disturbing. The mortality age of an over-the-road driver should not be shorter than any other profession. It just isn’t right, and it doesn’t have to be that way!

Truck Driver Health Issues

Truck Driver Health Issues

What is it about trucking that creates a shorter life expectancy? Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and sleep apnea are only a few of the most common factors. These severe issues can—and should—be addressed. It is my belief that drivers want to live longer, healthier lifestyles; they just don’t always know how to get there.

Due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits—often brought on by a need for convenience over health—many of our drivers today suffer from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol levels. Any one of these conditions alone can be dangerous; combined, they can be lethal. These factors can dramatically increase the risk of many serious medical conditions, including heart failure, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

Prioritizing Driver Health and Wellness

Prioritizing Driver Health and Wellness

Our goal is to attract the best drivers, retain them, and then take care of them once they’re a part of our trucking family. I consider our drivers my family, and just like with any family member, it’s important to let them know they matter and that I care. That’s why we encourage our drivers to take part in the Prime Transformation program, which was created to provide our drivers with an opportunity to participate in a health and fitness program.

It is up to us as an industry to break the cycle and step up. By providing education and guidance, we can help our drivers make better choices, exercise more, eat better, and take care of themselves despite the nature of their jobs. Simple changes like losing weight, getting 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily, and making better nutritional choices can lead to great results. This lifestyle change can start with a single set of dumbbells and a guide to healthy restaurants.

We can make a difference for our drivers; we can help save the lifeblood of our industry.

What are you doing to prioritize drivers’ health and wellness? Let us know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This post originally ran in February 2016. We wanted to share it with you again to help emphasize the importance of health and wellness within the carrier community.

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