Walking It Out: A Trucker’s Guide to Active Breaks on the Road


Truck driving is a sedentary profession that can take a toll on health over time. Sitting for prolonged periods while driving long distances increases the risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. That’s why it’s critically important for truckers to take active breaks, get the blood flowing, and move the body regularly throughout the day.

Even short 5-10 minute active breaks can provide tremendous benefits. Walking, stretching, bodyweight exercises or simple calisthenics during rest stops will boost energy levels, improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, enhance mental clarity, and reduce driver fatigue. Staying physically active is key for truckers to stay alert on the road, avoid drowsy driving, and protect their long-term wellbeing.

This guide will explore the many benefits of active breaks for truckers, provide examples of simple activities to do during breaks, offer tips for overcoming barriers and sticking to a routine, and cover important safety considerations. Taking active breaks can significantly improve health, safety, and performance on the road.

Benefits of Active Breaks

Taking short active breaks while trucking can provide many benefits that improve overall health, safety, and performance.

One major benefit is improved circulation. Sitting for prolonged periods can restrict blood flow in the legs and increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins. Getting up and moving around helps circulation by contracting the leg muscles to push blood back to the heart. This prevents blood from pooling in the lower extremities.

Active breaks also reduce mental and physical fatigue from driving long distances. Muscles become stiff and tense from sitting, while eyes and brain feel drained from intense focus on the road. A short 5-10 minute break to stretch and move can re-energize the body and mind. This helps truckers stay alert while driving.

In addition, brief bursts of exercise help boost energy levels. The short duration prevents overexertion while the movement increases heart rate, improves oxygen intake, and releases feel-good endorphins. Truckers avoid the post-meal slump and afternoon lull by incorporating active breaks into their routine.

Overall, taking regular active breaks offers circulation, fatigue reduction, and energy boosting benefits for truck drivers. This improves safety, focus, and stamina while on the road.

Types of Active Breaks

Truck drivers have several options for active breaks while on the road. Here are some of the most accessible and effective types:


Taking a short 5-10 minute walk during breaks is one of the simplest ways to add activity. Walking helps get blood flowing, stretch stiff muscles, and counteract the sedentary nature of driving. Look for safe places to walk around the truck stop like parking lots or open spaces. Walking up and down stairs is another good option.


Performing basic stretches is an easy way to loosen tight muscles and increase flexibility. Focus on major muscle groups like hips, legs, back, neck, and shoulders. Some examples of good trucker stretches include calf stretches, hip flexor stretches, shoulder rolls, and neck rotations. Make sure to warm up muscles first before deeper stretching.

Bodyweight Exercises

Simple bodyweight exercises require no equipment and can be done in limited space. Options like pushups, planks, lunges, squats, and crunches can help build strength and get heart rate up. Target major muscle groups and perform 10-15 reps of each exercise. Mix up the routine each break for variety.

Finding Safe Places to Take Breaks

Truck drivers spend long hours on the road, which can make it challenging to find safe places to take active breaks. However, with some planning and creativity, there are options. Here are some potential places truckers can consider for active breaks:

Rest Stops

Highway rest stops are designed for truckers to take breaks and are ideal for short active breaks. Most rest stops have parking spaces large enough for semis, bathrooms, vending machines, and sometimes picnic areas or green spaces. Taking a quick 5-10 minute walk around the rest stop area or doing some bodyweight exercises like squats or lunges can re-energize during a rest stop. Just be mindful of traffic and other vehicles.

Parking Lots

Well-lit and spacious parking lots at truck stops, travel centers, or shopping centers can also work for active breaks. Make sure to park away from other vehicles and be aware of traffic patterns. Walk laps around the perimeter of the lot or utilize a clear area for exercise routines. Parking garages are another option when needing shelter from weather.

Parks & Recreation Areas

When passing through urban areas or cities, consider stopping at a local park, hiking trail, or recreation area. Take advantage of playgrounds, fields, walking paths, and open spaces that parks provide. This is a good way to take a mental break from driving and get fresh air. Just confirm the area is truck accessible before parking.

The key is finding safe, legal, and accessible places to park and take active breaks from driving. A little creativity goes a long way – any place you can park and walk around safely will work. Taking active breaks helps improve energy, focus, and overall wellbeing for long haul truckers.

Sample 5-10 Minute Active Break Routines

Taking short 5-10 minute active breaks throughout your workday can provide many benefits. Here are some sample routines you can try during your breaks:

Walking Routines

  • Walk around your truck or around a safe area near where you parked. Even 5 minutes of walking helps get your blood flowing.

  • If you parked at a rest stop, walk the perimeter or walk around the facilities.

  • Walk back and forth the length of your trailer. See how many round trips you can get in 5-10 minutes.

  • Find a safe flat area and incorporate intervals of walking and jogging into your break.

Stretching Routines

  • Do a full body stretch routine targeting your neck, shoulders, back, legs and hips. Stretches can be done standing next to your truck.

  • Try a deep breathing stretch – breathe in deeply through your nose as you reach your arms overhead, then exhale through your mouth as you bring your arms back down. Repeat 5-10 times.

  • Interlace your fingers and reach your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing out. Push your arms forward and hold for 30 seconds. This targets tight shoulders.

Bodyweight Exercise Routines

  • Do squats, lunges, pushups, planks, calf raises. Choose 2-3 and do 10-15 reps of each.

  • If you have a pull-up bar installed on your truck, incorporate pull-ups and chin-ups into your routine. Do as many reps as you can.

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how many jumping jacks, high knees, butt kickers, and crunches you can do. Shoot for continuous movement the entire time.

Taking regular active breaks helps you feel energized and focused. Sample different 5-10 minute routines that work for you. The key is to keep moving throughout your workday.

Overcoming Barriers

Truck drivers face unique challenges when trying to incorporate active breaks into their routine on the road. Common barriers include lack of time, limited space, and boredom with repetitive exercises. However, there are strategies to overcome these hurdles.

Lack of Time

It’s understandable that truckers are crunched for time between strict delivery schedules, traffic, loading/unloading, and mandated rest periods. The key is prioritizing just 5-10 minutes 1-2 times per day for active breaks. Even short bursts of movement will energize you. Try marching in place while refueling or doing calf raises during a quick bathroom stop.

Limited Space

The confined space inside the truck cab poses an obvious limitation. Focus on exercises that can be done right beside the truck, like walking laps around the perimeter. Dynamic stretching and bodyweight moves like squats work well too. For variety, find a grassy area to incorporate ground exercises like pushups. Yoga and Tai Chi flows can be adapted for tight spaces.


Repetitive exercise routines lead to boredom quickly. Try listening to music or podcasts to make your active breaks more interesting. Another strategy is doing a different 10-minute circuit each day of the week to keep it fresh. Switch up the exercises regularly. Ask other drivers to exchange routines. Having an exercise buddy makes it more motivating too.

With some creativity and commitment, these barriers are surmountable. Taking active breaks will make you feel more energized and alert behind the wheel.

Making Active Breaks a Habit

Truck drivers often face long hours on the road which can make it challenging to stay active. However, building a habit around taking active breaks is crucial for your health and wellbeing. Here are some tips for making active breaks a regular part of your routine:

  • Schedule breaks ahead of time. Take a look at your route and driving schedule and plan when you will take breaks. Block off time for at least one 10-minute active break every 2-3 hours. Put these breaks in your calendar or set reminders to help hold yourself accountable. Planning ahead helps build the habit.

  • Start small. Don’t try to go for long or intense workout breaks right away. Start with just 5-10 minutes of light activity like walking or stretching. As the habit becomes more natural, you can gradually increase the length and intensity of the breaks.

  • Find an accountability partner. Having someone else help keep you on track can be motivating. Recruit a fellow driver, friend or family member to check in on your progress. Share your active break goals and plan to update them after each break on how it went.

  • Make it enjoyable. Look forward to your active breaks by doing activities you genuinely enjoy. Listen to an upbeat playlist or podcast while you walk. Do stretches or bodyweight exercises you find fun. Finding activities you like makes it easier to stick to the habit long-term.

  • Reward yourself. After completing your scheduled active breaks for the week, treat yourself to something you enjoy like a good meal, movie night or other fun activity. Positive reinforcement helps solidify the habit.

With some advance planning and accountability, taking active breaks can become a healthy habit you look forward to each day on the road. Investing just 10 minutes at a time will pay off tremendously in your overall health and wellbeing as a truck driver.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated to take regular active breaks while on the road can be challenging, but there are some effective strategies to help.

Track Your Progress

  • Use a tracking app or notebook to record each time you take a walking or active break. Checking off each activity provides a sense of accomplishment.

  • Set a goal for the number of active breaks per shift or week. Seeing your progress helps motivate you to keep it up.

  • Consider using a fitness tracker to count your steps. This provides tangible proof of your increased activity.

Set Goals

  • Set short-term goals like taking two 5 minute walks per shift. As these become habits, set new goals.

  • Set longer-term goals like increasing your average daily steps or walking a virtual route over months. Having an endpoint keeps you focused.

  • Join workplace fitness challenges or competitions to stay accountable. A bit of friendly competition can provide extra motivation.

Reward Yourself

  • After reaching a certain number of activity breaks, reward yourself with a healthy treat, fun outing on your time off, or coveted item.

  • Build up points or stars for each activity break that can be redeemed for rewards. Gamification makes it more enticing.

  • Share your progress and successes with others. The encouragement and praise can help keep you motivated.

Safety Tips

When taking active breaks, it’s important to stay safe, especially when walking or exercising outdoors. Here are some tips:

  • Wear proper footwear. Make sure your shoes or boots have good traction and support to avoid slips and falls on uneven or slippery surfaces. Avoid flimsy sandals or flip flops.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk or jog with headphones in, as this can make you unaware of traffic or other potential hazards. Keep your head up and pay attention.

  • Consider weather conditions. Avoid walking outdoors in extreme heat, cold, ice, snow, or storms. Check the forecast and opt for indoor options like stretching or marching in place if needed.

  • Bring safety gear. Equip yourself with reflective gear or lights if walking near roads at night. Carry water and your cell phone in case of emergencies.

  • Tell someone your route. Let a colleague or loved one know where you’ll be walking and when you plan to return. Check in after completing longer walks or hikes.

  • Stay on designated paths. Stick to sidewalks, trails, and pedestrian areas. Avoid walking along busy roads or highways. Scope out safe routes in advance if possible.

  • Watch for traffic. Be very cautious when needing to walk along or cross streets. Make eye contact with drivers and watch for turning vehicles. Cross at designated crosswalks when available.

  • Get to know rest stop areas. Identify well-lit locations with good visibility and foot traffic in case you need assistance. Try to avoid extremely isolated spots.

Taking basic precautions allows you to enjoy the benefits of active breaks safely. Staying secure and aware helps make outdoor walking a healthy habit.


Taking active breaks while trucking is beneficial for your health, wellbeing, alertness, and safety on the road. Even short 5-10 minute breaks to walk, stretch, or do bodyweight exercises can boost energy levels, relieve stiffness, improve circulation, and clear the mind.

It just takes a bit of planning ahead to identify safe places to park and get moving. Rest stops, truck stops, parking lots, and wide shoulders provide opportunities. Over time, taking active breaks can become a healthy habit to embrace throughout your trucking career.

The key is to start small and build momentum. Try taking one active break per shift or every few hours. Or make a commitment to walk after each meal or coffee stop. As the benefits stack up, you’ll likely feel inspired to incorporate more activity. Small steps lead to big rewards.

Going forward, prioritize your health by being proactive about taking active breaks. Your body and mind will thank you through increased stamina, better focus, and a sense of wellbeing. Making this a regular practice sets you up for improved performance and longevity in this demanding profession.

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