5 Truck Stop Wellness Hacks Every Trucker Needs to Know



Truck driving is often considered one of the most unhealthy professions. Long hours sitting behind the wheel, lack of sleep, and limited healthy food options can take a toll on truckers’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Statistics show that around 69% of truck drivers in the United States are obese, compared to only 27% of all U.S. adults. Additionally, 50% of truckers smoke cigarettes compared to just 14% of the general population.

While the trucking lifestyle poses some unique health challenges, there are many simple ways truckers can incorporate wellness into their daily routines. With some small tweaks, you can feel healthier, happier, and more energized out on the open road.

Get Moving

Truck driving involves long hours sitting behind the wheel, which can lead to muscle stiffness, joint pain, and decreased mobility over time. That’s why it’s crucial to incorporate movement and stretching into your daily routine whenever possible.

Even basic activities like taking a short walk when stopped, doing some quick leg or arm stretches before driving, or pacing back and forth during rest breaks can provide much-needed movement for truckers. Trying simple yoga poses and light bodyweight exercises in your cab or at truck stops is also enormously beneficial.

Standing up and walking around for just 5-10 minutes every hour behind the wheel can work wonders too. This boosts blood circulation, reduces body aches, and prevents dangerous deep vein thrombosis. Parking a bit further from buildings to add extra walking steps is another easy habit.

Mobility and stretching helps lubricate joints, improve flexibility, support muscle recovery, and maintain your overall health as a truck driver. Don’t underestimate the value of getting your body moving regularly on the open road. It not only prevents pain and stiffness, but gives you more energy and focus as well.

Choose Healthier Food Options

When you’re on the road, it can be challenging to find healthy food options. Truck stops and fast food restaurants don’t always have the most nutritious choices. However, with a little effort, you can make better choices to keep your body fueled.

Focus on getting lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains whenever possible. Here are some tips for choosing healthier options when stopping at truck stops or fast food places:

  • Opt for grilled chicken sandwiches without heavy sauces. Remove the bun to cut carbs.

  • Choose salads with grilled chicken or salmon. Go easy on high-fat dressings; carry vinegar for a healthy dressing alternative.

  • Look for yogurts, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit cups. They make good snacks.

  • Try to include at least one serving of vegetables, even if it’s the onion or tomato on your burger.

  • Choose water or unsweetened tea instead of soda.

  • Be mindful of portion sizes. You may need to share or save part of a large meal for later.

  • Take advantage of subway-style sandwich shops where you can load up on veggie toppings.

With a little creativity, you can assemble relatively balanced meals from truck stop and fast food offerings. The healthier you eat on the road, the better you’ll feel and perform.

Stay Hydrated

Long haul trucking can easily lead to dehydration if you’re not careful. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headache, constipation and even kidney problems. Getting enough fluids is essential, especially with long hours on the road. Here are some tips to stay hydrated:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle and make a point to refill it at every stop. Attach it to your belt or place it in easy reach as a visual reminder to drink.

  • Drink a full bottle before each driving shift. Hydrate well before you hit the road.

  • Set a timer or reminder on your phone to drink every hour or couple of hours.

  • Choose water instead of sugary or caffeinated drinks that can dehydrate you further. Add some lemon or fruit for flavor if needed.

  • Drink extra when it’s hot out or you’re sweating more than usual. Listen to your thirst cues.

  • Eat fruits and veggies with high water content like cucumbers, oranges and watermelon when available.

  • Limit alcohol intake which acts as a diuretic, causing you to pass more urine and lose fluids.

  • Consider buying powdered electrolyte mixes to replenish sodium, potassium and other minerals lost through sweat.

  • Notice the color of your urine – it should be pale yellow, not dark, which indicates dehydration.

Staying hydrated takes planning and effort, but your body will thank you. Drink up and drive safe.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for truck drivers, but it can be challenging when you spend so much time on the road. Here are some tips to maximize restful sleep in your cab:

  • Invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask. This will block any light that may disrupt your sleep schedule. Avoid bright lights before bedtime.

  • Use a comfortable mattress and pillow. Consider using a memory foam mattress topper for extra comfort. Having the right bedding makes a big difference.

  • Listen to relaxing music or ambient sounds. Apps like Relax Melodies can provide soothing background noise to help you unwind and fall asleep more easily.

  • Keep the cab at a comfortable temperature. Being too hot or cold can impair sleep. Use climate control, blankets or fans to regulate the temperature.

  • Limit caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine can significantly disrupt sleep, so cut off intake by early afternoon.

  • Establish a consistent pre-bedtime routine. rituals like stretching, reading or meditation can get your body ready for sleep at the same time each night.

  • Avoid screens before bed. The blue light from phones, tablets and TVs can suppress melatonin and keep you awake. Turn them off 30-60 minutes before bed.

  • Use blackout curtains and minimize light exposure if you need to sleep during the day. Daytime sleep between runs requires an especially dark environment.

Prioritizing healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in how rested you feel and your performance on the road. Focus on winding down and creating an optimal sleep environment in your cab.

Reduce Stress

Life on the road can be stressful for truck drivers. The traffic, loading/unloading, meeting tight deadlines, long hours, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits can take a toll. Finding ways to manage and reduce stress is critical for both your mental and physical health.

Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help lower your stress levels. Try taking 5-10 minutes when parked to do some deep breathing: inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat several times. You can also look for guided meditations on your phone or listen to relaxing music.

Stretching your body helps release muscle tension that builds up while sitting for extended periods. Simple neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and lower back twists can make a difference. Yoga is fantastic for combining breathing, meditation, and stretching – look online for videos suitable for truckers.

It’s also important to take regular breaks on long hauls to rest your eyes and mind. Get some fresh air, have a healthy snack, chat with a friend or family member, or take a power nap. Don’t drive while overly tired or stressed. Your health and safety should always come first.

Stay Connected

Maintaining relationships and social connections is vital for truck drivers who spend long periods of time alone on the road. Humans are social creatures by nature, so positive interactions with others are crucial for both mental and physical health. When you lack a support system and connection with loved ones, it can negatively impact your mood, cognitive function, and ability to cope with stress.

Staying connected while trucking requires intention and effort, but is worthwhile for your overall wellbeing. Take advantage of technology to bridge the distance. Schedule regular virtual meetups or phone/video calls with family and friends. Join online communities to exchange ideas and experiences with fellow truckers. If stopping at a truck stop or rest area, strike up a conversation with a stranger. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face can go a long way. Arrange meetups with other drivers you know if your routes align. Find local groups and events to attend when off duty and passing through different cities. The connections you make on the road, both brief and lasting, help provide a sense of community and prevent isolation.

Prioritizing social connections, even from afar, allows truck drivers to feel less alone. Don’t underestimate the power of maintaining relationships. It could make all the difference for your health and happiness during long hauls.

Get Regular Checkups

Life on the road makes it challenging to stay on top of health screenings and doctor’s appointments. But getting regular checkups is critically important, especially if you have ongoing health conditions that need monitoring.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea – these are some of the most common chronic conditions among truck drivers. Without proper management, they can take a severe toll on your health over time. That’s why it’s crucial to see your doctor and get lab work done at least annually, if not more frequently depending on your health status.

Your doctor can help make sure your conditions are under control and that you’re taking the right medications as needed. They can also check important numbers like your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Catching any issues early allows you to make lifestyle changes and get back on track.

It’s also important to stay current on cancer screenings and immunizations. Talk to your doctor about what tests you need and when. These screening tests can detect issues like colon polyps before they become cancerous.

The key is being proactive about your health instead of waiting until you have concerning symptoms. Your doctor’s office can work with you to coordinate appointments in advance when you plan to be back home. Telehealth visits are another convenient option for checkups without going into the office.

Investing a little time into your preventive care pays off exponentially in the long run. Getting regular checkups, exams, and lab work helps you stay healthy, avoid complications, and keep doing the job you love.

Disinfect Your Space

Truck cabs can harbor germs that lead to illness, especially with frequent contact from strangers during deliveries. Keeping your space clean should be a top priority.

Wipe down high-touch surfaces like the steering wheel, door handles, and gear shift daily with disinfecting wipes. Use a disinfecting spray to clean hard non-porous surfaces like the dash, seats, walls, and floors. Replace cabin air filters regularly.

Be diligent about washing your hands frequently when returning to your cab, especially before eating. Keep disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer readily available inside the cab.

Wash bedding weekly if possible to prevent germs from accumulating. Dust and vacuum the cab thoroughly each week as dust can harbor germs. Take trash and spoiled food out regularly to avoid attracting pests.

Making cab hygiene a habit reduces your risk of catching colds, flu or other transmissible illnesses from high-contact surfaces. A clean space also promotes better sleep, reducing fatigue. Keeping your home away from home sanitized provides peace of mind during long hauls.


Recapping the key wellness hacks discussed in this article can help truck drivers prioritize their health and wellbeing while on the road.

First, getting regular exercise through stretching, bodyweight exercises, or brisk walking during breaks can provide both physical and mental benefits. Packing healthy snacks like nuts, fruits and vegetables will ensure you have energizing food options when hunger hits. Staying properly hydrated is also critical – drink plenty of water throughout your shifts.

Getting quality sleep each night maintains your energy levels and focus. Be sure to block out light and noise in your cab, avoid screens before bed, and try to keep a regular schedule. Reducing stress through deep breathing, listening to music, or positive self-talk will further enable you to operate at your best.

Staying connected with loved ones provides crucial social support. Call or video chat when you can. Getting annual checkups screens for any emerging health issues. And keeping your space clean through disinfecting kills germs that can make you sick.

Focusing on these wellness hacks while over the road will help you feel your best so you can excel at driving. Your health and safety matters – take steps each day to care for yourself. Safe travels!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *