Healthy Mind, Healthy Body - Eating, Hydrating & Resting Whilst Driving
We don’t have to remind you how tough long-distance driving can be. Taking you away from home for weeks at a time is bound to take its toll, both physically and mentally. The hours are irregular, and it is easy to find yourself relying on a number of unhealthy choices to get you through your working week.
Now we’re out of the Christmas slump and January has sailed past, it is the ideal time of year to think about making a few lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Eating well on the road
With the average driver being in his mid-fifties, research has found that 84% of HGV drivers are overweight or obese, compared to 75% of the general population. Additional weight goes hand in hand with an increased risk of related health conditions, from diabetes to heart disease. Fast food is bad for us (we all know that), but it’s also easy, quick and tasty. Making better diet choices now will have a large impact on your life in the future.
Think ahead before you start your journey and stock up on healthy alternatives. Pack some meals before you hit the road and stock up on healthier snack like fresh fruit and protein bars, if you need that sugar fix.
If cooking isn’t your thing, go for the healthier option at a Truck Stop. Swap the chips for a jacket potato, try a lean steak rather than a burger and change the cake for an apple. Whilst possibly not as exciting, your arteries will thank you!
A number of health issues can arise from dehydration and our bodies can struggle to tell us when we need to have a drink. Sluggishness, irritability and lethargy are most commonly caused by not having enough to drink, so grab some water and drink, drink, drink!
Sugary and caffeine filled drinks can easily become a crutch when you’re at the wheel. Coffee and fizzy pop are easy to get down and usually give you a spike of energy to keep you going. Unfortunately, they do very little to quench thirst. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day however will improve your levels of concentration, keeping everything working as it should and make you far more alert at the wheel.
Getting enough rest
We cannot stress how important it is to get enough sleep. It’s our body’s natural way of recharging itself. When we don’t get enough we simply don’t function as well as we should do.
You don’t need us to tell you how hard it can be to get your full eight hours rest cooped up in a cabin, but when you are at home, make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Lack of sleep can result in slower reactions, lower performance and irritability, which aren’t a good combination when you spend days driving such long distances.
Take appropriate measures to ensure that you sleep a little easier – both at home and in your cabin. Invest in a pair of earbuds to block out the outside traffic or upgrade your mattress for a better night’s sleep. Sleep is so important. It won’t be fixed by a cup of coffee.
Make the change
Remember, you must want to change your lifestyle. It’s no good being lectured about how to stay healthy when you like things the way they are. Change starts with you so pick one aspect of your life that you want to get a handle on and take it from there.