6 Health Problems You Might Encounter As a Truck Driver

The world needs truck drivers. People want goods shipped from one side of the country to another, and they want it done quickly. However, as much as society recognizes how important the profession is, they often don’t consider how much health can be impacted by navigating long-haul journeys. 

6 Health Problems You Might Encounter As a Truck Driver mother trucker yoga blog health

You never know how much different truck driving is to other jobs until you experience it. Rather than have the freedom of an office, you are often confined to the small cab. Depending on the destination, you could be away for weeks on end before making it home again. This environment can lead to significant health issues, and here are some of the most common.

 

Mobility Problems 

 

It should be no surprise that sitting in your truck cab for eight hours on end every day can cause issues. The lack of movement will stiffen joints and put pressure on your lower back and neck. Similarly, constant focus could even cause headaches, which will affect performance. 

 

This issue is a lot like sitting at a desk all day. You can’t be rigid in a single place for the entire journey, so take every opportunity possible to stretch your legs and get some much-needed fresh air. As long as you stay on schedule, you can eliminate the risk of severe mobility problems. With Mother Trucker Yoga’s everyday movements you can keep your mobility and your body strong. 

 

Obesity 

 

A lack of mobility could also lead to obesity problems. You won’t get the chance to exercise, and you also can’t rely on a proper meal every day. Instead, you rely on ready meals and processed foods from truck stops and fast food places. 

 

Already, you’re at a disadvantage, especially when you’re on a time limit to complete a shipment. You can’t take a personal day and hit the gym, but you also can’t allow your body to deal with bad food. Instead, consider healthy snacks for truck drivers that will reduce weight gain and provide all the essential nutrients and minerals you need to stay engaged on the road. Read the food label not just for the nutrition but for the ingredients. Make sure you are actually eating real food.

 

Lung Cancer

 

Research from the Center for Disease Control discovered that around 70% of truck drivers smoke, and with little else to do on the road, this can quickly become a way to pass the time. You don’t need anyone to tell you how bad smoking is for your health, but you also might know how difficult it can be to break out of this habit. 

 

Excessive smoking will lead to lung cancer, so as much as it can pass the time and even reduce stress, it won’t do your health any favors. When you compound this with the carbon emissions from the diesel exhaust, you drastically increase your chances of significant health problems, so do what you can to reduce exposure and cut out any bad habits. Our friends over at St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fun has an amazing Rigs without Cigs program to help aid drivers in the process of quitting smoking. 

 

Irregular Sleep 

 

You would think that driving all day will make it easy to get to sleep when your shift finishes, but this isn’t the case. Truck drivers do not have the luxury of their beds, which for some can make it difficult to sleep, and this causes a range of issues that will affect health and performance. 

 

You should never drive while tired, but when you’re on a time limit and it’s dollars for miles you often feel the need to keep on trucking. Focus on a sleep routine and stick with it to help reduce the time spend trying to fall asleep. 

 

Hearing Loss

 

Truck drivers must be aware of everything around them, and this is not possible if they experience hearing loss. Typically, this occurs with older truck drivers who have been exposed to the noisy engine and highways their entire career.  

 

You can learn more about how moderate hearing loss feels, and consider how this could impact your truck driving. If it puts you and anyone else in danger – especially as you’re unable to differentiate sounds or hear upcoming cars – think about possible solutions. When is the last time you got your hearing checked? Some hearing loss as we age is normal, but don’t go without it unchecked if you feel you may have a larger issue going on. Truck driver health is essential and your health matters. 

 

Isolation and Loneliness 

 

There are few things lonelier than taking a journey by yourself and having to come back the way you came also along. Many truck drivers experience significant mental health problems caused by feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

 

As much as the radio or regular phone calls can help, they are no substitute for real human interaction. If you have a family or are someone who loves to spend time with others, you may struggle to cope with the loneliness that comes from driving a truck. So reach out regularly and even things like smiling at a stranger and drumming up a conversation with someone standing next to you can help you feel connected, with a purpose and happiness, and who doesn’t like feeling happy?

 

Keep On Truckin’ 

 

Truck driving can be an incredibly rewarding career, especially if you are someone who loves getting behind the wheel and seeing as much of the country – and perhaps the world – as possible. However, it does not come without its share of truck driver health issues, so consider these and how to overcome them to ensure you make the most of your truck driving career.

Here are a few other blogs you might enjoy:

Mother Trucker Yoga Driver Spotlight – Flatbed Foodie

National truck driver appreciation week mother trucker yoga blog

Driver Appreciation Week may be over, but we still want to celebrate! And what better way than to highlight some of our road heroes. We interviewed drivers and asked them questions about their lives to help others see how unique and hard trucking is.

It’s our truck drivers who keep our great country running strong. Many of these men and women go unnoticed, not because they aren’t necessary, but because what they do doesn’t live in a fancy building or doesn’t require a cap and gown.

These men and women are out on our roads, carrying all our essential and non-essential products we want and love day in and day out. And here at Mother Trucker Yoga, it’s not just trucking fitness that is important to us. It’s the men and women whom we serve.

We love our truck drivers and want to celebrate them in every way we can.

flatbedfoodie mother trucker yoga feature driver daniel

Meet Flatbed Foodie!

 

QUESTION 1: How long have you been driving?

Answer: 3 years

 

QUESTION 2: What do you want to say to new upcoming drivers in the industry?

Answer: Flexible minds and bodies last a lot longer in the end.

We agree with that! Your mind creates your reality, and when it comes to driving, isolation, loneliness, and depression are factors we all must keep in check as drivers and humans. Make sure you take time to stay connected, not just through social media but talk to your friends and family daily, consider meditation, and getting outside for some fresh air every day. And don’t forget to move your body. With nearly 10 hours behind the wheel and on the clock, it can be easy to lose track of time. So schedule movement into your day in five-minute bursts, and with the help of Mother Trucker Yoga’s videos, you will be on your way!

 

QUESTION 3: Trucking is hard. Why do you keep on trucking?

Answer: Still seeing new things, and I train others, so I get to share. Being part of starting someone on a safe and profitable journey is fun.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, state governments issue more than 450,000 new commercial driver’s licenses every year. That’s a lot of CDL’s. And good thing we have people like Flatbed Foodie on the roads training other drivers just like you!

 

QUESTION 4: What is your favorite truck stop?

Answer: Iowa-80 Truck Stop! Who doesn’t love I80? And we agree! We love it too!

IOWA 80 TRUCK STOP MOTHER TRUCKER YOGA BLOG

DID YOU KNOW?

On the eastern edge of Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River, adjacent to the small town of Walcott, you’ll find a place like no other in the world. The Iowa 80 Truckstop, now the World’s Largest Truckstop, established its home here in 1964 and is now in itself a home away from home to countless drivers and a destination for travelers as well.

Some say Iowa 80 Truckstop is like a small city. Others have likened it to a Trucker’s Disneyland. All can agree it is a place not to be missed.

 

QUESTION 5: What do you want to say to new and upcoming drivers?

ANSWER: You will never look back. You are your boss. You get to travel and serve country/towns and people. And you are valued and an essential driver. This is an excellent career.

 

QUESTION 6: What would make trucking easier for you and other drivers?

ANSWER: Automatic logs, healthier food (make sure you read our blog on healthy snacks to pack) on the road, and more efficiency.

 

QUESTION 7: What do you do, if anything, to try to stay healthy on the road?

ANSWER: Light cardio, walking and stretching, and diet planning.

Flatbed Foodie had a final thought he wanted everyone to know.

Trucking is a challenging and rewarding way to support your goals. It can be a lifelong profession or a quick way to earn cash in some cases. The need is real and the compensation is there for those who want to work.

 

What do you like most about the trucking industry?

Have a comment to share with Flatbed Foodie or our readers?

Please share it in the comments below!

 

Mother Trucker Yoga® wants to help 1 million drivers change lanes in their health and fitness by 2031.

To get involved with Mother Trucker Yoga’s mission and help drivers just like you incorporate driver fitness into their lives.  Contact us!

 

Read our other Driver Spotlights:

VW Lady Trucker https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/09/14/mother-trucker-driver-spotlight-vw-lady-trucker/

Mark Iverson https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/10/06/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotlight-mark-iverson/

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age

Back pain is reportedly one of the most common types of pain experienced by adults in the US, with one-half of all working Americans saying they experience back pain symptoms annually. As a middle-aged man, it is easy to assume that back pain is a common side effect of aging. Although this is true to some degree, excess pain and reduced flexibility needn’t be part of the aging experience. Consider these points if you want to learn more about taking care of your back as you grow older. As a driver, your back takes a lot of twists and turns, from the driver’s seat to loading and unloading at the drop of a hat. It’s easy to put off back care when you feel you don’t have time. But now is the time to pay attention to your back before it’s too late. 

  1. Get a back massage regularly.

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age

Image Credit

 

A study published in Pain Medicine revealed that massages could assist individuals with lower back pain. The study found that over 50% of individuals referred to a professional massage therapist for ten massage sessions over 12 weeks reported improvement. Consequently, consider seeing a massage therapist occasionally to manage your back pain and relieve other musculoskeletal problems that worsen your body pain. Alternatively, investing in a great massage chair for your home may be a more straightforward and practical way to enjoy the benefits of a good massage, so keep this in mind. However, remember that more intense chiropractic care may be necessary if you experience back pain due to spine alignment issues.

2. Make changes at work

 

Truck driver health and truck driver fitness also means the health of your back. Many people spend most of their work lives seated, and sedentary working positions have been shown to wreak havoc on your discs and bones. And a passive work environment doesn’t just apply to someone in front of the computer. Professional drivers also face back issues due to the extended lengths of time behind the wheel. The full effects of your sitting habits and posture might be more manageable as you are younger, but you cannot get away with many health concerns in middle age. Therefore, be more mindful of your posture by sitting upright in your chair with your shoulders back. Also, try to move around often if your job involves sitting for very long hours, like truck driving.

3. Watch your body weight

 

Extra weight implies additional stress on your spine and joints, and excess belly fat can cause your lower back and pelvis to slant forward eventually. Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to ensure that your back isn’t burdened by more stress as you age. Thankfully, you can exercise regularly to stay in shape and prevent any additional body weight. In addition, watch your diet to guarantee a strong core that can protect your back as you grow older. And if you think you don’t have time for exercise, don’t stress. Before you even consider adding exercise to your daily regimen, consider looking at how much you move throughout your day, and use those downtime windows to move and groove. Movements like reaching, squatting, bending, twisting, and turning all add up and add to your truck driver fitness. 

4. Let your spine rest while asleep

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age sleeper mother trucker yoga blog

Your spine structures finally get a chance to rest and rejuvenate when you lie down to sleep after a long day. Consequently, it is best to maximize this opportunity to ensure that your spine rests in a supported and comfortable manner. The key here is to keep your spine naturally aligned, so placing a pillow under your knees to minimize stress on your lower back is crucial if you are a back sleeper. If you are a side sleeper, sleep with a pillow between your knees to balance your hips. You can also experiment with a neck pillow to support your cervical spine. However, proper spine rejuvenation can only occur on a firm mattress, so ensure that the bed you choose is hard enough to disallow any spinal sagging.

And when you are in pain and you need relief fast. Don’t forget your tube of STIFF Mother Trucker pain relief cream.

Stiff mother trucker pain relief cream

11 Strategies for Truck Drivers To Start Following A Healthy Lifestyle

There are many benefits associated with following a healthy lifestyle. It can increase your confidence and self-worth, improve your overall health and fitness, and even positively affect your mood and happiness. However, making the switch to a healthy lifestyle can often seem like an impossible task, whether you’ve come to rely on unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms or are simply unsure of where to start.

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that a healthy lifestyle is always within reach – and making a few small changes at a time can have a huge difference, helping you achieve your goals in no time at all.

 

With that in mind, here are some tips and strategies that you can use to start following a healthier lifestyle. 

11 Strategies for Truck Drivers To Start Following A Healthy Lifestyle

1.Identify unhealthy habits.

The first step towards living a healthier, happier life is acknowledging areas where you might have a problem. After all, you may have picked up on unhealthy habits without really realizing it. For example, going to bed late every night can affect your sleep schedule, meaning that you are never as rested as you need to be. Alternatively, you could rely on processed foods as they are often quicker and easier to prepare than fresh meals. Identifying these issues means that you know exactly what changes need to be made. 

 

2.Cook Yourself.

Healthy eating does not mean that you have to eat salad after salad; in fact, you can enjoy thousands of delicious recipes when focusing on healthy living. Therefore, one way to focus on transitioning into a healthy lifestyle is by spending more time in the kitchen, experimenting with new foods and ingredients instead of reaching for the takeout menu or a microwave meal. This is also a great way to develop new skills. And since cooking on the road can be challenging for some, make sure you check out Road Pro’s cookware helping you make eating healthy a little bit easier.  Our two favorites are Road Pro Portable Stove (AKA Lunchbox) and the 12 volt Saucepan. 

Roadpro sauce pan Road Pro portable stove lunchbox

 

4.3.3    3.Practice Preventative Health.

The majority of us have all grown up with the mentality of “sick care,” meaning don’t do anything about your health until you are sick. I’m telling you that mentality is wrong. Don’t wait for your body to show signs of sickness or stress before deciding to do something about your health as a truck driver. Being aware of any health issues you could face, especially as a truck driver, can equip you to find ways to prevent them or minimize their impact. Truck driver health issues like heart disease, sleep apnea, dehydration, diabetes, fatigue, and obesity can all become a concern for a truck driver’s health. We want you to know there are things you can do to help reduce the chances of impacting your health. 

 

4. Keep on walking.

There are many benefits associated with walking more often; it can improve your cardiovascular fitness, balance, dexterity, and endurance. Furthermore, walking also encourages you to spend more time outdoors, which is excellent for your health and happiness. As a general rule, you should try to take around 10,000 steps a day. And as a truck driver, that can be tricky sometimes. Consider laps around your truck, using your truck step as a mini stair stepper to start. If this is not possible for you, don’t worry – give yourself a smaller, more manageable target and work on increasing it over time. 

 

5.Discover what trucker fitness exercises work for you.

Incorporating exercise into your routine is a great way to transition into a healthier lifestyle, but you must focus on activities that work for you and your needs.  Finding a workout routine that works for you protects you from overexertion or injury and helps you see positive results sooner rather than later. It also makes it easier to put together a killer fitness regime.  

mother trucker yoga blog movment

6.Add to your exercise routine over time.

When you haven’t participated in any exercise for a little while, reintroducing it to your routine could seem incredibly daunting, especially if you feel your fitness and endurance levels are not up to scratch.  Therefore, you must start small – focusing on small bursts of exercise instead of throwing yourself straight into a complex and lengthy routine. As your fitness levels increase, you can always build up the intensity of your workout to match. 

 

7.Reduce daily stress.

While stress can be unavoidable, you mustn’t put yourself under stress unnecessarily, as this can have an incredibly negative effect on your overall health and happiness. For example, prolonged stress can lead to a lack of sleep and poor motivation. Therefore, one way you can begin to live a healthier lifestyle is by being honest about what stresses you and then noticing the conversation and action steps you take after you become aware. Much just default to complaining and actually attach to the stress as an identity. Ask yourself, what can I do that I enjoy? What makes me happy? What helps me reduce stress? This could include asking for additional support at work or letting go of friends who drag you down instead of lifting you. 

Life Is About Choices

The great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote a letter to his daughter, who was worried over a mistake she’d made. This is what it said:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

 

8.Schedule in some self-care.

While it may not essentially seem that way, self-care should be considered an essential part of your routine and help you live a healthier, happier life. Therefore, you must add self-care to your schedule in as many different forms as possible. Remember, self-care could include curating a skincare routine or something simpler like giving yourself a break when you need one. 

 

9.Put together a sleep schedule.

Your sleep affects your health in more ways than you may initially realize, meaning that it’s vital you work on improving your sleep schedule. Thankfully, there are various steps you can take to achieve this goal. For example, you can avoid using your phone or staring at a screen before bed, which often makes it harder for your brain to shut off. Furthermore, you could start to go to bed at the same time each evening, as a routine can help you drift off to sleep much easier as your brain and body will begin to feel tired around this time. And when you can’t fall asleep because your back or hips hurt, it might be time for a quick stretch or a readjustment of how you sleep. 

10.Set yourself manageable goals.

Setting yourself new goals is an important part of following a healthy routine, whether they pertain to healthy weight loss or increased ability to do specific tasks. However, the goals you set for yourself must be realistic and attainable – as this is the easiest way to remain on track and avoid feeling disheartened. For example, instead of setting yourself to lose X amount of weight or fat, focus on the health benefits you can aspire towards instead. This could include goals such as feeling more energized, sleeping better, or increasing the amount of distance you can walk/run. (Check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s blog on how to set GOALS)

 

11.Remain positive.

This is perhaps the most important step on the list, as to revamp your lifestyle, you need to be able to maintain a positive outlook. While your friends and family will likely support your journey, you also have to provide yourself with the motivation needed to make fundamental changes. Otherwise, you may find that you give up at the smallest of hurdles. 

 

 

 

It’s important to remember that healthy living is a change of lifestyle, not something you do for a few weeks and then abandon. However, this shift will not feel as dramatic or hard to conquer by incorporating change gradually over time. Therefore, it’s equally important that you do not rush the process and try to change everything about your habits and lifestyle overnight. Instead, try to introduce a few minor changes a month – knowing that big results will follow. You’ve got this!

 

   STIFF Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream

 

World Suicide Prevention Day: 6 Strategies to Improve Driver Mental Wellness

Everyone talks about mental health, and unfortunately, the term “mental health” has a more negative connotation than positive. After talking with dozens of people from various backgrounds, most felt the time “mental health” felt there was something wrong with you, and therefore, you need to take care of your mental health. 

How did we get to this place? This place where we are looking for solutions, answers, and strategies for aspects of our health only when we are in a state of turmoil, anguish, or pain? 

I used to feel embarrassed to tell others that I had “mental health” like a disease. And if I dare mention I need mental health help, I would be mortified of the other person’s response. 

A few years back, I began to change my conversation around mental health. And since the term “mental health” has the stigma of being broken and therefore needing help. I decided to change the term of mental care to mental wellness. 

Mental Wellness is the state in which one makes the state of the mind, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors a priority. Whereas the actions were taken are both proactive and reactive, but really, as a means of a simple lifestyle integration. 

Today is Suicide Prevention Day. It’s kind of a bit strange to have a day focused on this when right next to it is National Hot Dog Day, Love Your Dog Day, and Grandparents Day. But I suppose a day is better than nothing. 

As someone who has stood face to face with suicide more than once, to me, suicide is a feeling of last resort, that all hope is lost, and any other actions taken will not be successful. I believe people are driven to suicide by many factors, and the why is not for argument’s sake, but from my own experience, I reflect on the what and the how. How did I get to that place, and what could have helped or been different? 

To anyone out there that is struggling with their mental wellness, I want you to know that you are not alone. 

I also want you to know that I see you and hear you. The words you don’t speak. The side of yourself you do not show. I see you. 

And instead of posting a suicide prevention hotline number on our blog, I thought it would be more helpful to share some of the mental wellness strategies I have used over the years. And when it comes to truck driver health issues, mental wellness should be a priority. 

6 Things To Improve Mental Wellness and Aid In Suicide Prevention

#1. Believe you are worth it. 

Or at least say it to yourself until you do. For years I didn’t, and I recognize that this was a learned behavior, a lie I was telling myself based on what I saw someone in my own life do over and over again. If you have breath in your body, then there is still a purpose for you. 

This tiny spark inside me kept telling me don’t lose hope. It was quiet and almost impossible to hear or see among the thoughts of self-destruction, self-hate, and sadness. But it was there. Today look in the mirror and tell yourself you are worth it. Despite what the mind says back, fight that other self (I called it my addictive mind) and say it anyway. When it comes to truck driver health, as a driver, you may already feel isolated and alone and that makes it even easier to allow your mind to spiral. Speak positively about yourself every day. 

light - suicide prevention day blog mother trucker yoga

#2. Healthy Expression. 

It is easy for an outsider to tell someone depressed, suicidal, or lost hope to seek help. But the paralyzing effects of negative, depressive, self-destructive thoughts are paralyzing. It can take all you have to get up out of bed and get a drink of water, let alone get dressed and go to work. So rather than suggesting you journal, practice yoga, deep breathe (check out our deep breathing meditation for drivers), meditate, or call a safe friend when you are in that moment. Do it when you are feeling good. You need to cultivate habits in those impossible moments and practice them in the more accessible ones by doing the actions. 

Because our thoughts become our emotions, and our actions become our outcomes, and the cycle continues. And before you know it, every day is the same.

Dr. Joe Dispenza says “that if you keep thinking in the past, you will keep creating the same life”. If you continue to allow your brain to only think about what has happened to you in your life up to this point, you will only get a repeat of what you have had in your life up to this point. That means the same thoughts, emotions, and actions on autopilot. Disrupt that cycle when you are having a good day so that you can do it on those not-so-good days too.

#3. Change the cycle of your day. 

Routine is good when it is good. But routine can also be a toxic habit that leads us down the same pathway we have been down repeatedly. By changing the cycle of your behaviors and routines, you can increase the chances of changing your thoughts, emotions, and now outcomes. 

Start small. Start with something small and easy like drinking a glass of water in the morning, and as you drink it, tell yourself this is healthy for me. Do that every day, and after 90 days, you will have completed 90 new behaviors and told yourself 90 times you are healthy. Do that for a year, and that’s 365 times you have engaged in healthy behaviors and 365 times you have told yourself you are healthy. It all adds up. 

#4. Surround Yourself With Wellness. 

I don’t mean to sit in the middle of a health food store and never leave. I mean, on those good days, make a list of people, places, and things you can do, go to see, listen to, watch, and have that make you feel good. At one point in my life, I found myself consumed with Joyce Meyer’s books. I read them all. I particularly loved the Battle Field of the Mind. I read them over and over. They gave me hope, strength and shifted my thoughts away from the unhealthy cycle and, even if just for a brief moment, into a more healthy one. 

What are you currently doing on social media? If you find yourself consumed with groups and pages where people complain, are angry, and breed negativity. It might be best you delete them immediately. The same goes for people in your life. Find groups, connections, and affiliations where you feel safe and breed a positive vibe, where if needed, you can express yourself and even ask for help. And if you ever find yourself reading a post like that, reach out. Don’t just comment with praying hands emoji or saying I’m here for you. Sometimes the action of half help can make it worse. Instead, reach out directly to them. Private message them and start a conversation, or even call them. You might just save someone’s life.  

What music boosts your mood? I know how tempting listening to the downward spiral number one hit songs where singers share about their pain, hurt, and destruction. But don’t go there. You are only reconfirming how you feel and not allowing yourself to get out of it. What makes you feel good? Surround yourself with it. 

#5 Do It Anyways.

Some things make us feel good AFTER we do them. But getting ourselves to do them is often the problem. The key is not to think and do it. I love how I feel when I do my hair. I also love how I feel when I exercise and go for a walk every day. But the moment I give myself time to think about it, the weight of the world has now seeped in and taken over. So don’t think. And the momentum you feel and receive from the boost in endorphins afterward is the moment that will keep you coming back for more. 

#6 Know when it’s time for more.

I got to the point where I felt there was no hope for me. And although I was not in a place where suicide was on the docket anymore, I felt hopeless, empty, and lost. Physically I felt like I was going to vomit thinking about what I was about to do, but the alternative of living this way any longer outweighed what I was about to do. The day I spoke these three words to someone I trusted, I felt a relief I had never felt before. “I need help.” I had no idea what that helped looked like at that moment, but my ego had finally broken its last piece, and I no longer cared about anything other than not feeling this way. 

Who can you reach out to today? Who is safe? That person didn’t have all the answers that day and what came next was scary too (lots of new things), but nothing is as frightening as where I had already been. I had already experienced hell, so what could be worse? 

I want you to know that there is hope, help, and your mental wellness is a priority. And suicide does not have to be your only solution. Taking care of your mind, thoughts, and emotions is essential and trumps any other tasks you have in your life. Every effort you make is worthy, impactful, and shows you still see that spark at the end of the tunnel. You are worth it. Your mental wellness matters!

Suicide Prevention day mother trucker yoga blog

Truck Driver Health: Guided Meditations for A Happy Mind

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A happy, healthy mind is critical to a driver’s well-being in truck driver health.

The high amount of stress drivers have to deal with day in and day out is often normalized by the industry and never taken seriously. Telling a driver to “exercise” is not a solution and can often lead to more stress, anxiety, and unhealthy practices out on the road.

With the amount of time a driver spends behind the wheel, it only makes sense that they use that time to their advantage.

The entire premise Mother Trucker Yoga is based on is easy three to five-minute moves you can do, strategies you can implement into your day from the cab of your truck. We are the first company to break down fitness and wellness for drivers into bite-size pieces. We have a unique approach to driver wellness because we are not just coming from a fitness, therapy, or exercise background. We are coming from a yoga and functional movement background. Where we focus on the whole person and practical application. And one of those applications is stress relief in the form of guided meditations and relaxation.

Truck Driver Health: Guided Meditations

And while everyone else is compartmentalizing your health, we are integrating it. If you truly want to get healthy, you have to look at the whole self. , Your Body, Your Breath, Your Internal Health, Your External Health, Your Mind, Your Spirit. It would be best if you recognized them all.

The reason yoga played such a big role in my health and wellness journey had nothing to do with a yoga mat and everything to do with what the mat taught me about living and life. And that is what I do with Mother Trucker Yoga.

And when it comes to truck driver health, guided meditation can play a big role in your overall health and happiness.

Because we have to address the mind, or nothing you try to do will ever stick.

We are currently running our 2nd Annual Going the Distance Health Challenge for Truck Drivers and helping support our drivers more during this challenge; I have created several guided breathing, meditation, and relaxation practices to help support the need for mental health mental wellness.

What is Mindfulness?

When you Google the word mindfulness, you get the following:

mind·ful·ness
/ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

 

While driving, there are dozens of distractions, and they all take you away from the present moment of driving. There is a difference between something you need to pay attention to while driving and a distraction. Do you know the difference? Can you tell when you are distracted VS paying attention to something while driving?

Distractions ask you to leave what you are doing and bring your attention elsewhere. They often lead your mind down the rabbit trail of other emotions linked to the past, future, or something outside of what you are doing currently driving.

I created a driving meditation to help support truck driver health. With the time you spend sitting in the driver’s seat, you might as well do something that builds you up, leaves you happy, and supports your health.

A Mindfulness Driving Audio For Truck Drivers

This audio is not meant to distract you or make it more difficult to focus while driving, but the opposite. Give it a try and let us know in the comments what you think.

How To Deal With A Vehicle Accident: Helpful Tips For New Drivers

What do you do when your vehicle gets into an accident? Knowing the best course of action can be challenging, whether it’s a fender bender or more serious. Here are some helpful tips that will keep you safe and protect your vehicle.

Stay Calm And Assess The Situation

It’s easy to get nervous when in a car accident, but you must stay calm and assess your situation before moving. This will ensure that no one gets injured or damages their vehicle needlessly.

Get To Safety

If you are in a severe accident, it’s essential to get yourself and anyone else involved out of the way of any oncoming traffic. If your vehicle is still operational, move it somewhere safe so that no one gets hit by another driver who might not be paying attention or be impaired.

Call Emergency Services

Even if only minor injuries, always call for help when an incident happens with your car. An ambulance will come along with police officers to take statements from everyone involved about what happened before sending them home safely.

It is also possible that someone else was injured more seriously than they let on at first, which means calling emergency services can save lives! This is especially true if both parties were responsible for causing the crash because then nobody would be helping those who need it most.

How To Deal With A Vehicle Accident: Helpful Tips For New Drivers Mother Trucker Yoga Blog iimage

Via Pexels

Call Your Insurer And Call A Lawyer

If you were involved in the accident and caused damage to someone else’s property (including their vehicle), then your insurance company will be getting a call shortly! It is always best that all relevant information about what happened gets passed along as soon as possible so that everybody has an accurate picture of how things occurred. This way, there won’t be any confusion later on if something like liability needs to get sorted out before repairs can begin. Insurance companies are known for playing hardball when they feel they have been wronged by customers making claims against them. With this knowledge at hand, though, drivers can ensure that everything goes smoothly and that both parties feel satisfied with the result.

Many people overlook calling a lawyer as soon as an accident happens, but this is actually one of the most important parts of dealing with your insurance company and any other drivers involved in the incident. Even if you do not think that there was anything negligent about what happened on your part, it’s still worth consulting the best legal representation who can help protect your best interests and guide you through all of the steps to take once an auto accident occurs.

Accidents are scary situations for many people because they often involve unknown or unforeseeable circumstances, which can put anyone at risk of being taken advantage of by others looking to make some easy cash from someone else’s mistake! Calling a lawyer right away helps ensure that no matter how complicated things get within the first hours after an accident, somebody will always be there looking out for you.

Gather Evidence And Take Photos

Even if it’s just a small fender bender, take photos of the damage done to both vehicles involved to present them as evidence when talking with your insurance company or any other drivers who might have been at fault. Make sure that nothing gets moved around until after all necessary pictures are taken so that no one’s story about what happened becomes muddled while trying to piece together what occurred before police officers arrive on the scene (if they do). This is important because once someone moves something from its original place, it can make figuring out where everything should go much more difficult later down the line! Remember, though. It is always best to leave anything that could be considered a piece of evidence alone until the police arrive on the scene or you have been instructed by them otherwise.

In this blog post, we went over what exactly happens when an accident occurs and how important it is for new drivers, in particular, to follow these steps carefully if they end up being involved in any vehicle crash! Even though there are several legalities at play here which might seem daunting at first glance, the most important thing about dealing with auto accidents involving other people’s property (including their vehicles) can come down to simply following orders from your insurance company about what needs to be done next. Keeping calm under pressure will help ensure things go smoothly without too much stress getting in the way of the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

And always remember, if you work for a company, reach out and gain clarity on the policies and procedures that they have in place for their drivers to ensure you have done everything you need to do to ensure the best possible outcome despite the accident.

 

Good Stress, Bad Stress and How to Manage It

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How to manage stress is not something we are “taught”. But everyday life can be stressful. Good stress, bad stress. Stress, stress STRESS. It’s everywhere. 

Job demands, relationships, life events, and social media drama are daily occurrences. Moreover, it can begin to feel like this is just how life is supposed to be, coupled with the stresses of living over-the-road as a truck driver. These things can often have you feeling like you are traveling down a never-ending, bumpy road called LIFE. It’s easy to see how stress can suck you in and not let you go.

good stess bad stress blog post MTY

While stress can help some people perform under pressure, too much bad stress can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health. It’s common for most people to focus on the negative side of stress, but sometimes stress can be a good thing. Good stress can motivate a person and help them achieve more goals. BUT how can a person tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?

Understanding Good Stress vs. Bad Stress

Good Stress

Good stress, often called eustress, is stress that pushes a person to accomplish more. It helps a person achieve those hard-to-reach goals. Good stress also helps a person learn new things, adapt to change, and engage in creative thinking. In a situation where a person is experiencing good stress, they always have control over the outcome of the issue.

Bad Stress

Bad stress, often referred to chronic stress, can slow a person down and prevent them from doing the things that they need to do. It can often lead us down a winding road of helplessness and despair. Bad stress can be things like staying in an unhealthy relationship long-term, living with a difficult person, continual high paced (stressful) workplace, taking on too many things, and continuously unable to complete them. That is continually saying “yes” when you should be saying “no.” When the body feels like it is under too much bad stress, symptoms such as excessive sweating, anxiety, headaches, and rapid breathing begin to appear. 

Managing Stress

As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced, and content. However, sometimes I fail to implement these strategies into my own life. I take on too many things, try to please everyone else, and neglect my health and self-care. It’s a downward spiral, and before I know it, my daily life is fueled by bad stress. Can you relate? 

Unfortunately, stress is inevitable. It’s a part of daily life. The good news is that stress IS manageable. To manage the stress in your life, you must relax your body and mind. You must balance the scale and know what your triggers are and what to do to bring yourself back to center. 

What is center? Center is when you feel like you are on point when you feel like you are handling life and thriving. When you sleep well and respond to life’s circumstances with ease, most people that meet with anger or hate are dealing with something much more profound—usually, sadness or hurt. And in not dealing with those emotions and challenges brings about bad stress and unwarranted responses that hurt rather than help.

Here are three ways to manage stress so that you can live a healthier, stress-managed life.

1. Take a Break

When I say take a break, I don’t mean a break where you are scrolling through social media or watching videos on your phone. I’m talking about unplugging and walking away from all the distractions in your life. Do something for five to fifteen minutes that requires very little of you other than for you just to be yourself and to be present. Sit outside, take a quick five or ten-minute walk, play a quick game of “Go Fish” with the kids, or engage in meditation. And sometimes that break is to help your body to heal. Make sure you take a time out so your physical body can reset and heal as well. Check out STIFF Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream to give your body the boost it needs for rapid healing!

Stiff Mother Trucker

2. Put Away Your Electronic Devices

If you think about it, we live in a world where we have immediate access to almost anything we need. Instant information is available to use with the simple touch of an app on our phones or tablets. But at what expense? Being over connected has created a massive epidemic in our world today. An epidemic that has produced anxious stressed and technology-addicted teens and young adults that are not ok with doing nothing or being alone. The only way to break that cycle and bring more Zen into your life is to put the electronic devices down and slowly back away. Have a no-phone rule at the dinner table, limit screen time, keep your device in your pocket or bag when you are out with friends–whatever you need to do to stop looking at your device–do it. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Be Positive

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? If it’s half-empty, it’s time to change your thinking. Keeping a positive attitude, shifting your negative thoughts to positive ones, and keeping your self-talk encouraging are great ways to reduce stress. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t believe I made the same mistake AGAIN,” think, “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s ok. It is something that I can fix.” Developing an attitude of gratitude toward the people, things, and events in your life is also an excellent way to reduce stress. Write it down or take time to tell the people in your life that you appreciate them–trust me; it goes a long way! Finally, smiling and laughing also helps to reduce stress. I guess laughter is the best medicine. 

AND if you are ready to get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals, my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass is for you! In this sixteen-week program, we cover three key areas: Breath, Body, and Belief. All three of which are necessary for sustainable success!

Utilizing these three tips will help you begin to walk down the path of life a little less stressed and more positivity. 

Need a bit more encouragement? Looking for a quick listen to help you manage stress? Check out the Positive Positivity Podcast with guest Hope Zvara

Self Care is Your Business MTY Blog

The Missing Link In A Safety Check

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More trucking companies are tuning in to incorporate a driver wellness program for their truck drivers and other employees as a means to improving their bottom line and attracting and keeping hold of drivers for the long haul. But what to do and how to implement this for all drivers has yet to be successfully implemented for all drivers to benefit.

Most driver wellness programs currently out there focus heavily on exercise. Traditional methods and fitness models take the driver out of their workflow and ask them to “workout.” And although that approach is helpful and will work for some. The likelihood of the drivers who need it most to implement it themselves and stick with it is lower than anyone wants to admit.

The New Stretch With Safety Checks

It is nothing new for a company to have a list of required safety checks each driver must do every day before heading out on the road. But with the current state of our trucking industry, our driver’s health, the stats don’t lie. These stats lead us to see that 86% of drivers are obese and  54 percent of commercial drivers smoke cigarettes, and only 8 percent exercise. So is it that we need more safety checks for drivers to remain safe on the road, is it that we need another exercise program telling drivers how to do push-ups or pull on a resistance band, or is it about time we require something a bit different?

The missing link in a driver’s safety check is not another walk around on their truck, another electronic device regulating something or another, nor is it another cargo inspection. It’s an inventory of the driver themselves. That inventory is in the name of safety, except it has everything to do with simple ergonomics drivers can implement every day. If you care about the driver being safe on the road, isn’t it time to consider the one behind the wheel?

 

What We Can Learn From the Construction Crews

Those who work in the construction world have had similar fallouts with quality workers and those who stay in the game long term. Many feel it is hard on the body, and those that suffer injury often begin to look for other means for work. Recruiting quality talent and keeping the existing healthy enough to keep pounding nails are becoming increasingly difficult.

However, companies that chose to implement properly designed stretching or ergonomic (driver wellness) programs for their workers found success in reducing work-related injuries. However, for these programs to work, the exercises and stretches must be taught by a well-trained individual and done repeatedly at least two to three days per week with a time commitment of five to ten minutes. What if every driver on the road took 5 minutes every day to do a few stretches designed specifically for driver success?

My Husbands Story

My husband is a construction worker by trade and has done everything from operating machinery (a CDL holder) to concrete forming and pounding every type of nail you can imagine. And at one time, he worked on a crew that required an 11-minute stretching routine each morning before starting work. If you didn’t show up, you didn’t work. Although my husband laughed at it (I was telling him about these stretches for years, but hey, better late than never), after just a few days, he mentioned his hands hurt less, and there was a reduction in tension related to swinging his hammer and gripping certain various tools throughout the day. All of which points to a reduction in future work-related injuries. My husband no longer works on that crew, but he still does many of the previously required stretches he learned during his morning safety routine on the job.

If it helps, this decision is not about making your drivers healthier (although the industry points to us that we should care about this more), but rather making your drivers safer. The truck can only be so safe, and at some point, it is then in the hands of the competent, alert, physically healthy driver to execute and perform the tasks at hand.

The Outdated ROI Decision Making Strategy

Sadly far too many employers (trucking company owners) are still stuck on the old method of ROI (return on investment), where it all comes down to the dollar bills. And although you should always weigh the cost factor when considering a new company program or feature, you also have to ask yourself, what is the potential value on investment (VOI) and long-term ROI, not just the immediate cost?

When a company is considering implementing a well-designed program into their driver’s safety check routine, they are showing future drivers, lawmakers and hopefully it never comes to this, but lawyers or agents that they have done all they could to help reduce the chances of an accident, injury or hazardous outcome by implementing the missing link into a drivers safety check, with a properly designed wellness program.

It’s about demonstrating that the expenditure comes with a benefit (ie. Reducing soft tissue or musculoskeletal injuries, reducing fatigue, improving reaction and response time while behind the wheel, all for a reduction in workers’ compensation costs and improved worker productivity and wellness). And if you can do this, then the training or program will be more likely perceived as a benefit by the employer, driver, and even insurance company.

truck driver wellness program the missing link in a safety check mother trucker yoga blog

With nearly 20 years of experience designing usable fitness, wellness, and ergonomics programming for both individuals to take part in and companies, I have learned that when choosing a driver wellness program, make sure:

  1. The program is broken down in an easily digestible way, meaning drivers can utilize the content in a way that makes sense for them and their day. Have you ever seen an entire parking lot of drivers working out outside their truck? Great concept, but highly unlikely.
  2. It’s simple. When you incorporate a driver wellness program into a safety check, you are showing drivers when and where to apply these strategies, and that will ensure a greater means of measurable success. More does not always equal better, and in some cases is confusing, overwhelming, and causes wellness regression.
  3. Finally, it happens from the top down. When the owner, CEO, or the man/woman in charge is all in on their drivers, you’ll see your drivers boost your bottom line all on their own. ,.once you have a well-designed program and safety protocol when integrated properly with the right leaders in place, anything can happen! As humans want to feel cared for, a program can only do so much for the company and drivers.

The Bottom Line

If you fail to make any newly implemented program mandatory, you will struggle to see any real value or ROI on your investment. Don’t look at mandatory as a bad thing. You require your drivers to secure the load a certain way. You require them to wear a safety vest. You require them to fill out certain forms regarding the load they are carrying a certain way-right? All in the name of being able to run a successful company. A safe, reliable trucking company.

When implemented correctly, asking drivers to integrate specific stretches or ergonomics into their day as a part of their safety check will help both the driver and you as a company overall. While others in the trucking industry are focused on exercise programs for drivers, I’m telling you that it won’t do much of anything in the immediate and long-term it may end up as just a feel-good box checked.

We have to start small and start smart. If exercise were the solution, then the stats wouldn’t be reading like they are, that drivers are amongst the most unhealthy in our nation compared to any other industry. These are the men and women driving your company’s trucks, shipping your cargo, and driving your bottom line in one direction or the other. They deserve more. They want more. They are just as critical to your companies success as a well-running truck. And if you are ready to improve your company in the name of safety. And I’m here to show you how simple it can be.

If you would like to learn more about Mother Trucker Yoga’s Driver Wellness Program and Safety Check / Pre-Trip Initiatives-

Learn more about Driver Wellness Program HERE

Contact Hope HERE

 

Trucker Fitness: Managing Stress Through Movement – Part 1

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As a truck driver feeling the pressure to be ready at any given moment can be stressful and downright irritating. Hurry up and wait seems to be the constant mantra most truck drivers adopt into their lives, and with that comes the added stress of never having control over the situation you are in. But you don’t need to let that keep you from finding ways to feel and stay calm no matter what comes your way. 

Do you ever feel as though you are permanently stuck in overdrive? Like it’s zero to sixty in T-10, and you need to stay there until the job is done, only to feel like you want to crash but are never 100% able to recharge your batteries when you need to. 

You are not alone. 

Trucker Fitness: Managing Stress Through Movement: Part 1 Mother trucker yoga blog on stress 1

Truck driver fitness is more than just exercise. While everyone else is focusing on push-ups and mountain climbers, Mother Trucker Yoga is saying let’s learn from what yoga can teach us about living a healthy, happy lifestyle, and yes, that includes truck drivers. 

There are dozens of natural, easy, and effective ways to manage the stress that will help you deal with the day-to-day ups and downs, unexpected delays, and schedule changes with ease. 

The best way to manage stress is to keep moving!

Keep moving. Yes, I know you are a professional driver, but that seat doesn’t mean you can’t move at all. Movement trumps exercise in that movement is not designated to a specific time, a particular style of movement, or outfit choice. Movement is a way of life; if you aren’t moving, you are training yourself not to move. And that lack of movement will leave you feeling stressed, worried, and unable to sleep. 

Movement and exercise encourage the brain to release “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. 

WOW! Just 15 to 20 minutes of movement every day can help you fight the urge to overeat. That movement can come in the form of dancing, walking, squatting, using weights or a resistance band from the driver’s seat, or even doing a little yoga in your truck, and of course, exercising in any way you choose. Do not let your mind limit you or tell you the lies that this movement has to come in a certain package. We often complicate things to keep us from achieving the results we are looking for. It’s called a Fixed Mindset, and it creeps up on us whenever we are faced with doing something different from what we have been doing up to this point. Even when we know the change is good for us, our minds will try to convince us otherwise. Adding movement into your day is one of those things that you just have to do anyway despite what your mind may tell you. 

When done correctly and done regularly, it’s movements like this that can have a positive impact on your emotions and, in turn, on your life. 

Today instead of thinking, I can’t find the time. Decide that there is always time. 

Today instead of thinking, I don’t like exercise. Decide that movement is more important than exercise. 

Today instead of thinking, I am too busy. Decide that you are never too busy for your health. 

There is a small window of time before you look back and say, I wish I would have. That window of time is now. And great news, you can start today. Join the movement over at Mother Trucker Yoga and see for yourself how easy it can be to de-stress as a truck driver and feel good again.