Benefits of walking mother trucker yoga blog post

Attention Truckers: Step It Up with Interval Walking

Attention truckers let’s stet it up with interval walking. This is a perfect way to increase your efforts to add more movement into your day?

Maybe you are getting the toning or even stretching you need, but the cardio just isn’t there.

And it can be challenging. As someone who travels on and off quite a bit. The neighbor hood can look a bit sketchy when it comes to getting out for a walk.

I have no trouble hoofing it in the airport with roller bag in tow. But I know what you are thinking. Hope I’m usually pulled over in a truck stop parking lot, where do I go now?

And that’s a great point. Good news! Truck stops like TA Petro have roughly have 211 truckstops and of them have 171 have walking trails!

So depending on where you are located and where you drive regularly. At least you know there are some options made available!

But no matter what:

  1. You’ve got feet.
  2. You’ve got asphalt/parking lot
  3. A few minutes to burn on a break or parked for the night.

On an average day you want to walk close to 10,000 steps. However the average American barely walks 3,000-4,000 steps per day. Which is roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends you walk an average of 150 minutes a week!

Lets do the math. That’s roughly on 21.7 minutes PER DAY! That’s it!

So between you and me. We got this! And lets turn up the heat a bit so you can get the most bang out of your stride every single time!

Interval Walking Check List:

Protocol: Start small and simple. Try 5 minutes of easy walking. Next you want to increase intensity only about 15% for 4 minutes. And continue to do so every 4 minutes. Keep going until you reach your maximum amount of available walk time. And don’t forget to include a 2-5 minute cool down walk as well.

Example: 5 minutes of easy walking -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 9 minutes) -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 13 minutes) -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 17 minutes) -> 15% increase for 2 minutes -> decrease to original pace for 2-5 minutes (total time 21-24 minutes)

What should the level of intensity be?

1 being no exertion at all

15 being maximal exertion

Start at about a 5 – “Light”. Much like a warm up in an exercise class.

And each increase, bump yourself up one exertion level.

Think of the goal to get to 10- “Hard”. Where the workout feels difficult, but you can keep going.

Every little bit counts.

Can’t do 20 minutes straight? Consider five minutes and increase rate each minute after minute for 3 minutes, with a cool down minute at minute five.

Interval walking is great for weight-loss. And if increasing your interval like above seems a bit much. Reduce the time and consider adding in 30 second rest periods.

The only excuses are the ones you make up in your head. It doesn’t matter if all you can do is one minute of walking and then you have to take a break. Because it all adds up. And the biggest critic is the one inside that head. And I want to tell you it’s all lies. You can do this! Walking can be fun. And it’s free!

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-use-interval-walking-to-lose-weight-3495456

Mobility Exercises for Truck Drivers Blog Post Hope Zvara

Fit for Driving: A Truck Drivers Assessment

Have you ever been questioned if you were “fit for driving”?

Has it ever come to mind that someone, anyone, you, could be unfit to drive?

This is a reality not just for truck drivers, but America. Driving may be a sport for some, and leisure for others. But for a truck driver it is there life line, their job and for many their passion.

So what does it mean to be fit for driving?

How can someone increase their overall health to become more fit for driving?

Taking into consideration like functional mechanics- how you move or should move, quick reactivity, mobility, whole-body coordination all while driving. The question becomes: “do you know what the signs are? And are you up to speed?”

It use to be more of an aging conversation, when you get to X age then you will have to stop doing this. Or you will no longer be able to do that. But more and and more research is indicating, and heck, just look around you, it is obvious that we all need to get up to speed with our health and it may serve us all to check in with our ability to drive. For not only our own safety but the safety of others.

Similar to the freedom of walking, the thought of not being able to drive is daunting. Yet I have worked with tens of thousands of individuals and many still aren’t motivated to make even the smallest changes until it is almost too late.

Why wait until you can’t walk to see it as important.

Why wait until you get your license revoked, or you get into an accident to decide it is a necessary privilege.

The AMA in 2010 stated that lack of mobility is something that doctors take into consideration with older adults when assessing weather driving privileges should be taken away.

But here is the reality check: How many of you reading this honestly feel you move like a senior (75+) but most definitely are not one?

So many of us consciously refuse to take care of our bodies like they are made of steel. That they will just keep taking the beating. That they will jump up upon request no matter what situation, what age, what variable.

Mobility Concerns to Consider While Driving:

Grip strength for simple things like opening the door and pulling it closed

Looking back while backing up (although review cameras are great, this is a basic function we must not lose sight of) requires neck and torso rotation. And good eye tracking.

Varying degrees of hand, elbow and shoulder coordination while handing the steering wheel. And good hand eye coordination.

Gas and pedal breaking which uses ankle mobility and control.

For my truck drivers multiple hand-eye-foot coordination functions combine with fine motor skills while shifting, breaking, and turning.

It is easy to say these things are not a big deal. Until we can no longer do them. And it then becomes hard to say as to when it is those fine motor skills were lost. Technology has rob many of us of basic movement patterns. Where now we have to work twice as hard to keep to it or we will surely lose it.

But as a truck driver, driving a big rig takes a lot of handing, not to mention the loading and unloading that comes with the territory but can wear on the body overtime.

Now you may be shaking your head saying this is all nuts and you move just fine. But the thing is, basic mobility patterns like the above are often what are first to go and can often go un-noticed. But it is often the overlooked issues that can cause the greatest concerns later on in life when they slowly begin to take the things we love most away from us in a blink of an eye.

Take the Fit for Driving Test:

The Ankle Mobility Test:

Get into a lunge with the front foot’s big toe roughly 4 inches (3 inches if 5’2″ or less) and without allowing the heel to pick up. Try to lunge the front knee into the wall.

Ankle Range of Motion Test Mother Trucker Yoga

Having trouble?

You may want to tune into the notion that this mobility has everything to do with you coming off the gas or break easily accident free.

Exercise: Two Part Calf Stretch

(LEFT) From a standing position place one foot up on a half dome (or something firm and rolled up). Anchor the heel down and do not let it lift. Align the outer edge of the foot with something parallel with it. Keeping tall, and not allowing your pelvis to tip forward. Begin to walk the free foot forward. You should begin to feel a stretch. Hold that stretch for minimum 30 seconds.

(RIGHT) Standing tall take a casual step back with one foot. Not allowing the pelvis to tip forward, bend the front knee. Now work to bend the back knee without lifting the back heel. Hold that stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

On both stretches notice if the inner ankle collapses or the knee bends inward. Try to keep the knee forward and he ankle in neutral.

Mother Trucker Yoga Fitness Test Calf Stretch

Hand Mobility Test: 

Hand Corrective Exercise Proper Way Mother Trucker Yoga

Correct Placement

Hand Corrective Exercise In correct

 

Get down on all fours (oh, there is more to this test than just your hands). Spread your fingers out wide with the middle finger pointing forward and the thumbs pointing at each other (feel free to help your thumbs). Is is tender or difficult to flex the wrist in a 90 degree angle?

Is there space under the palms or are your fingers curled up (flexion) off floor? These are warning signs that gripping tension which is a common occurrence and needs to be counter acted. This is a road that will lead to immobility in the joints of the wrists, fingers and thumbs.

Exercise: Flexion and Extension

Wrist Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

Forearm Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

Shoulder Mobility Test: 

Get down on all fours and plant your hands as done in the Hand Mobility Test.

Work to draw the thumbs out as close to 90 degrees from the middle finger as possible. Can you do this without the folds of the elbows turning inward? This will clue you into excessive tension between the shoulder, elbow and wrist. As a driver this is critical to assess, as one needs all hands on deck and this could be a shoulder issue.

Sitting Twist Test:

Sit in the drivers seat or in a chair with both feet flat on the floor and pelvis evenly planted. Work to rotate like you are reaching for your seat belt (but keep hands on lap) and try to first rotate with your rib cage only. No lifting your hips. Can you see behind you yet?

Next try to rotate your neck? Can you see over your shoulder now? At what point to do you need to cheat and lift your hip? Or maybe you need to use your hand to force the rotate due to tight muscles?

Exercise: Seat Belt Grab Sit and Twist

Sitting in the drivers seat or on a chair practice rotation daily. And don’t forget to incorporate daily stretching in that release tight back muscles and neck muscles like in Mother Trucker Yoga’s online membership site. 

Seat Belt Twist Test Mother Trucker Yoga

Intrinsic Muscle and Nerve Foot Test:

Take off your shoes and socks  and try to spread your toes apart.  Can you separate each toe?

Can you give yourself a “thumbs up” with your big toe?

Issues like these can be a big indicator of intrinsic foot muscle atrophy, or weakness in the muscles of the foot. This is an issue because this could mean nerve issues in the lower leg (many of which come with lack of use like from long-term sitting).

Foot Health Mother Trucker Yoga

Exercise: Toe Piano & Dancers Feet

Get your shoes off daily! Yes daily! Move your toes around, stretch your feet. Roll on an acuBall! I’m going to get a lot of flack for this, but don’t listen to people who tell you to keep your shoes on when your feet hurt. That is part of the problem! Would you keep a casts on after you injure your arm, or leg, or even foot? Heck no!

acuBall mini for foot pain

Shoes are casts, and the longer you wear your casts, the bigger the issue becomes.

Taking care of your body has less to do with how many push-ups you can do and more to do with asking yourself “can I still do all the things I desire to do every single day?” If not, then something has to change.

And most people swing far left and go off the handle with implementing things that quite possibly aren’t necessary. Now that is not to say that deciding to run a marathon or exercise for 2-hours each day is a bad thing.

But if at the end of the day we all simply want to age gracefully and keep doing the things that are necessary, and love. Then I recon we start there. But keeping the physical body healthy. Your muscles and nerves working optimally is also an internal thing. And as the saying goes “you are what you eat“. So equally ensure you are fueling your body with the same care you are your rig.

Are you fit for driving? 

Let us know how you fared out with our test?

Need help?

Contact Hope via email and she can help you get fit for driving today!

 

Trucker Walk Tips Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

10 Quick Tips to Improve Your Walk

Do you need to improve your walk?

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk. If you ask anyone that knows me the will tell you I love to watch how people move.

Not to poke fun of them. But it’s like a puzzle to me. Why does this not move?

Or why does that go that way when this goes this way?

See how they swing their leg when they walk, but only on the left side?

All these little things started from something.

An injury. A pattern. A pair of shoes. A particular lifestyle choice that has now rearranged muscles and tissues all around their bodies and as a result. Things just don’t move quite right when they walk.

Most people are unconscious of these issues when they first start. And many go unnoticed until an injury or pain occurs. And when this then happens, the moment it occurred is usually blamed for the reason of the issue or injury. When more than likely what caused it has been an accumulation over time, you adapting to your environment.

Walking Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

What is the environment your feet are kept in on a daily basis? How long do you keep those casts on your feet also known as shoes? Have you ever flipped over those casts of yours and looked at the worn down tread underneath? Check out VeryWellFit.com  article on reading the tread on the bottom of your shoe.

A fair amount of people unfortunately wear ill fitting shoes and shoes that do not communicate well with the rest of the body. And it is only a matter of time before your body tells you it does not like it’s current situation.

Wondering how you can improve your walk today?

Here are 10 quick ways to improve your walk today!

1. Check the current state of your shoes. Flip those babies over and check the tread. And take note. Is the tread worn off on the edges? Heel? Only one side? Do your feet spill out the sides of your shoes? This will give you insight as to how your foot strikes the ground. But more importantly how your hip and foot communicate.

 

2. While walking feel and tune into how and when your foot actually meets the ground. Do you feel a slight skid or drag on one or both feet? Do you constantly stub your toe on only one side? Do one or both of your feet point any other direction than forward? The moment you become more conscious of something is the moment you can begin to create a pathway to change.

 

3. Try to walk with your feet forward. I know it may sound basic. But it can often be easier said than done. Focus on rolling through the middle of your foot for a complete take off. Not only will this improve the function of your feet, but it can ease pain on your knees and hips brought on by how you walk. As I tell all my students: “If you are going forward, your feet should be pointing forward”.

 

4. Have someone watch you walk. Sounds silly I know, but they can offer you feedback in real time as to what you are doing and you may not even know it. And have them assess your entire body. Do you swing only one arm? Lean forward. Limp? Swing your left leg? Drag your right foot? Are you a speedy walker? Do your feet cross the mid-line? Feedback is key to assessing for a change.

 

5. Can you extend your hip? What is your hip range of motion? Do you only walk with your legs in front of you? Do you walk from your knees down? Practice hip extension by practicing lunging, or practice walking and make sure your leg actually extends behind you when you walk. This doubles as a stretch after all that sitting. (Those that sit often struggle with this) Check out this video to find out more about how to improve your walk.

 

6. Take your shoes off. Yes. your shoes, your casts need to be removed! And even if that just means relaxing or hanging out in your rig barefoot. Do it! Or better yet, log into Mother Trucker Yoga’s online studio and do some yoga!

 

7. Roll out your feet. Your body is held together by a sea of tone. Also known as fascia! And that fascia is either like a piece of plastic or elastic. Wearing shoes all day do not help turn that plastic back into elastic. Try a acuBall to help break all that plastic up. Have plantar fasciitis (check out this article I wrote on MindBodyGreen on the subject)? Then you don’t want to skip this step. Check out this video for how to roll out your feet. And grab your acuBall in our MTY store.

acuBall mini for foot pain

8. Stretch your hip. A pain in your hip can mess with your gait (fancy word for walk/stride). Every morning when you wake up take 30 seconds on each side and stretch your hip out. Be ready to feel some tightness, but what you will feel afterward is relief! Mother Trucker Yoga suggests trying the seated Figure 4 stretch!

Trucker Walk hip stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

9. Stretch your calves. Your calf is not only the hydraulic pump to pump blood flow back up to your heart. But they also serve as a springboard in your walk and and releasing them will give your knees, arches and ankles relief. Try hanging your heels of the step of your rig for a quick once over!

 

10. Challenge yourself and walk on different surfaces. We live in a concrete jungle so whenever you get the opportunity, change it up. Grass, gravel, dirt, rocks. And ask you walk tune into how your body responds to the ground beneath you. Not only will your feet enjoy the change of pace. But so will the rest of the muscles in your body.

Improve Your Walk Surface Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

It is vital to not over-complicate the changes you want to make in your life. But also don’t just think about the changes you hope to make. Don’t say you are going to make the tomorrow. Start today! Start today, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to take up all your free time. It just needs to happen. Let your allies at Mother Trucker Yoga support and help you along the way.

 

Health Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

7 Little Changes Drivers Can Make To Improve Their Health

There are changes every driver can make when it comes to improving their health.

Taking charge of your health no matter how you are and what you do can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. I have been helping individuals and companies make healthy changes for almost 20 years and just because your job take you over the road is no reason to feel that your health has to be left at home.

Most of the time we over think the changes we can start making today. And as a trucker, over the road or not, I can imagine that your health can easily take a back seat to what is on the road in front of you.

7 Little Changes for Drivers Health Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Post

Here are 7 little changes you can start to make today to start living life a bit on the healthier side of the road.

  1. Park further away. I am certain someone has told you this before. But I am going to tell you this again. Park further away! When you pull in for the night, if it’s available, find the furtherest parking spot available that will make you have to walk a few extra steps into the truck stop. Those extra steps add up.
  2. Drink up. Time is of the essence. But so is your health. And considering our bodies are primarily made up of water, it is best you start get to drinking. Water that is. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. And to help avoiding extra bathroom breaks, try getting up an hour earlier and start guzzling 10 ounces of water. Then an hour before you stop for break another 10 – 20 ounces. And then an hour before you unload and stop for the night…well you get the picture.
  3. Do something while you are driving. Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Be safe! But what about a hand weight, or resistance band, or shoulder rolls, or something! Better yet, tune into Mother Trucker Yoga’s 42 minute audio track that guides you though simple movements you can do while driving!
  4. Take a deep breath. Before you roll out of bed, take two minutes and breathe deeply. Your breath is the engine for your metabolism. Yet few look to this when it comes to getting healthy. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and just breathe as deeply and calmly as you can. Stress wrecks havoc on your body. Here’s one way to curb that. And try Mother Trucker Yoga’s audio track for better stress free breathing.
  5. Container eating. Sounds silly I know. But portion control can be one way to help control what you put in your mouth. It’s easy to all of a sudden have eaten that entire bag of chips. Or even though it’s healthy, an entire plate of rice, veggies and chicken. Most people eat when they are not even truly hungry. Here is what I ask myself daily: “Hope, are you head hungry or really hungry?” Most people are head hungry and not truly looking for nutrition. Make sure you know the difference.
  6. Add more movement in. I’m not saying you need to try to park your rig at a gym or yoga studio. But start to notice the moments in the day you have down time. The moments you are doing something, but nothing all at the same time. The moments you could be moving! Somehow moving. A stretch here, a squat there, it all adds up. And don’t forget to log into Mother Trucker Yoga’s online studio to get fit anytime, anywhere!
  7. Finally, start to believe you can live healthier. Visualize yourself a healthier, happier you. I use to think that was silly. Visualizing myself that way, and writing it down. Now that was ridiculous. But when asking people who have made big changes in their lives what they all did. The one thing they all have in common is they visualized themselves already there and they wrote it down. So, if anything, today, start here.

Don’t over complicate health. And believe that you can feel better than what you do now. But you, yes you have to make the first step.

The first step is usually the hardest, and after that, well that is why Mother Trucker Yoga is here. We got your back!

Trucker Fitness Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

Trucker Fitness: Expectations vs. Reality

Trucker Fitness: Expectations vs. Reality IS something that needs to be discussed because it IS tricky to stay fit and healthy while on the road. But with a little planning ANYONE, can improve their over the road lifestyle.

Now lets be clear: I am not a trucker. But I have had the privilege of working with drivers over the last fifteen plus years locally in my Wisconsin yoga studio. And now hundreds of drivers through Mother Trucker Yoga.

And as someone who does travel quite a bit, fitness on the go has to be a priority or, it can fall to the bottom of the list quickly.

Fitness first.

Let me say that again: fitness first.

I don’t care how old you are, how stiff, overweight, arthritic , what your gender, skin color or what brand of truck you drive. Fitness first.

And to be even more clear: Fitness does not mean you have to be the most fit. And it surely does not mean you have to chisel out 60 consecutive minutes each day to qualify for such a badge.

When many hear “fitness” they instantly think long workouts, classes, and getting to the gym. But for most drivers that is not reality.

Reality is, you if you are a driver, then… wait for it… you are driving for most, if not all of the day or all night.

But wedged in between tough traffic and arranging your load are small bouts of time where you CAN insert fitness.

Yes! You, the one who rolled your eyes at the sight of my website titled: Mother Trucker Yoga, but were intrigued enough to read on CAN be fit while being a truck driver.

I’ve done a lot of research, I mean a LOT of research when it comes to fitness, and what I call everyday functional fitness. Meaning: movements that make sense for your life and lifestyle and enhance your abilities to keep doing what you love and assist in you living life.

So that means for you- AKA the truck driver, that trucker fitness IS a reality and can be achieved. If you are open minded enough to start to make some small yet powerful changes to your every day life.

Things like (Click links to access video on each move):

  • Stretching your fingers and wrists against the steering wheel to help combat tightness and arthritis in those very necessary joints.
  • Twisting your entire spine on purpose when reaching for your seat belt and buckling up- because it’s the law.
  • Stepping up into your rig, and instead of doing those two steps just once and in. Creating your own stair climber and for a minute straight stepping up and down as quick and safely as you can.
  • Filling up with fuel and down dogging it like no one is watching (like the Half Dog pictured below). And if they are… Asking them to join. Trucker Fitness - Downward Dog Blog

These are just a few ways you can create a reality around fitness for YOUR lifestyle.

When I dove deep into research on yoga and fitness for truckers I found a few videos with someone standing next to a truck doing push ups or jumping rope. And for the one app I downloaded, it was again someone doing jumping jacks next to a big rig, toe touches and then a few demonstrations of sit ups. That with all my research on core health, I wanted to come through the phone and offer some tips on how to safely and more effectively work your core.

Today, I want you to not over think fitness. Consider what you can insert into your already busy day. What moments (and that is all it takes) do you have that you can make a conscious effort to insert a quick move here or there.

Mother Trucker Yoga’s whole premise is 3 – 5 minute EASY moves explained for the drivers body for a move that make sense and you can feel the difference with. Why? So you can keep doing what you love with less pain.

So don’t be distracted by someone telling you you NEED 60 minutes of exercise daily. And what they mean is hitting the gym for 60 straight minutes.

What I’m telling you today is if you add a move here, and a move there and a few moves at the end of the day right inside your rig. You WILL feel the difference! And as a result start to make more positive changes to your life.

Because every little movement adds up! And we are meant to move. Not just once a day for 60 minutes. But all day long. And Mother Trucker Yoga is here to show you that it CAN be done! And currently truckers all over the US are incorporating this very idea into their day with BIG results.

So what is one move, one thing you can add to your day today?

What one move?

For just a few minutes?

Master that move.

And before you know it, fitness will become a reality.