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Strong Driver – Benefits to Strengthening Exercises

In our twenties, we typically feel invincible, like we can do anything and are unbreakable. Then in our thirties, we may feel a little wear and tear, but for the most part, we are at the peak of our lives. But by age forty, fifty, and sixty, the ability to carry loads of life the way we use to start to show signs of weakness both mentally and physically.

Having Strength means

  • Having strength does not mean we are the strongest person in the room. 
  • Having strength does not mean we can do 100 push-ups in a row. 
  • Having strength does not mean that we are working out 24/7. 

Being strong is an inner game just as much as it is an outer game, and the two often play off each other. As we age, life can often get busier; we have more responsibilities and more things pulling at our focus. They sacrifice exercise, movement, and mental wellness to meet those other needs’ demands for many. 

If you feel exhausted, mentally spent, short-tempered, distracted, lacking excitement for life, even showing signs of depression, you don’t need more rest; what you need is to feel strong again. 

Whether you are a truck driver, someone who sits at a computer all day, or on your feet doing every task known to man, when you don’t physically feel strong, it impacts how you feel mentally. Which in turn affects how you live your life.

“As a recovering addict and someone who has experienced the depths of depression firsthand; when you use your physical body in a way that helps you feel and build strength, it dramatically impacts your mental strength and state of mind as well. It was yoga that gave me my first glimpse beyond high school gym class at what feeling strong tasted like. And every time I would strike a pose, do a Plank, or hold a Downward Facing-Dog for what felt like 5 minutes, even though I was shaking, it was mentally building strength just as much as it was physically. I kept coming back to yoga. All the poses challenged my body in a way I had never been before; they looked easy but took such a tremendous amount of physical and mental strength. It taught me how to shift my mind away from the weight of the world and into the moment and task at hand. I felt strong. Many think yoga is just stretching or meditating. Still, yoga is a total body experience that many do not fully understand until they participate in the first, second, and even tenth time.” 

But why build strength? 

Why focus on exercises and movements that build muscle? As we age, we lose three to five percent of our muscle mass each decade after age thirty. But if you aren’t doing anything to maintain what you have, that number only grows, and your body loses muscle, that is. It’s a misconception that to build muscles; you need to lift heavy weights. Research has proven that after age thirty, switching to lighter weights or focusing on resistance training has a more powerful impact on your physical body and decreases the chances of getting injured. So for all my friends out there who are worried about that bum shoulder or aching hip or back, lighten up. There are more ways than heavyweights to build your strength back up. 

Don’t forget the impact of feeling physically strong has back on your mental state. Even if the weight feels heavy or the Plank feels shaky, the effect it has on your brain, thoughts, feelings, and outlook on life is nothing short of transformative. Working out regularly for just 20 minutes can boost long-term memory by 10%. It also improves cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and slows down dementia.

What are Strength Training/Exercises?

Strength training, typically known as weight or resistance training, is an anaerobic exercise that includes the breakdown of glucose (sugar) for energy without oxygen.  Strength training plans to assemble and keep up muscle tissue using bodyweight or external obstruction, for example, free-loads, weight machines, or resistance training. Weight training can be utilized to reinforce and build up significant muscles, like the legs, back, glutes, chest, shoulders, arms, and midsection. These muscles are all needed in daily tasks and help reduce pain. Stretching allows our body to release tightness, pulling, and snags in our tissues that could be causing pain and discomfort. But building strength also allows us to reduce pain and discomfort by ensuring the muscles in our body supporting us are at peak performance and up for the job. 

Benefits

I believe taking care of your body is about balance. Not that fancy balance where life is a walk in the park talk. But balance where you give your body a little bit of everything. A few stretches, a dash of cardio-like walking, or even stepping up and down off your step while you are parked all counts. But let’s not forget the need to build and maintain your strength. 

When we focus on building up strength and toning our muscles we:

  • Make the muscles of the whole body stronger.
  • Stimulate bone growth.
  • Lower blood sugar level
  • Help in maintain weight.
  • Improve posture and balance.
  • Reduce mental fatigue.
  • Improve memory.
  • Improve oxygen to the brain through more regular breathing.

 Exercises to Build Strength

There are many ways to build up strength no matter what age you are, and when you live over the road as a truck driver, you often have to use what you have. Not every driver has time, means, or ability to pull over and park near Planet Fitness or have a total weight or gym set up in their truck. Many carrying around dumbbells or fancy equipment is not first on their necessity list when packing their vehicle for their next trip.

Planks and Push-Ups on the step of your truck.

Throw on a pair of gloves and use your truck steps or your frame steps on your trailer to set your body up for these quick moves.

Your body weight is an excellent way to maintain strength and it up as well. Plus, moves like this require no extra equipment to travel with, but if you have the equipment, make sure you have a secure toolbox to store it in your truck.

Plank on the truck Mother Trucker yoga

 

 

 

Bicep Curls, Tricep Extensions, and Shoulder Overhead Presses.

You don’t need a zillion moves, just a few good ones to keep you moving strong. If you are traveling and tight on space, swap out an actual hand-weight for two wrenches, water jugs, or something heavy inside your truck. No one said fancy is necessary. 

Try to do ten reps of each move one to three times a day. With all that sitting at the wheel, posture and upper body strength and tone can begin to fade. Ensure you have a supportive seat and your steering wheel at the proper height not to cause shoulder or neck pain. But when you aren’t driving, you snuck in a few quick strength-building moves that you can do anywhere in under five minutes. 

Bicep curls weights mother truckeryoga blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resistance Band Training.

There are all sorts of fancy resistance band kits available for purchase, but you don’t need any of them. All you need is a six to eight-foot physical therapy grade resistance band, a door loop, and a loop band to get the job done. I love resistance bands because they are easy to travel with and fit into a purse, bag, or door cubby. Resistance band training is fantastic for building up joint health and maintaining lean muscle mass. As we age, it’s my number one choice for strength training next to body weight. 

Next time you are at the truck stop, thread your resistance band through the door loop, close the door, grab each side, and pull down. Get creative, try using one arm and pull, or create a combo and as you pull on the resistance band, add a squat. You can quickly build hip and leg strength with a loop band by placing it around your ankles and walking ten paces forward and back or doing a lap around your truck. Adding in resistance band work a few times a week, even just five minutes, you will notice a difference in posture, strength, and a reduction in joint pain. 

resistance band training mother trucker yoga blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter what type of strength training you choose to incorporate into your day as a driver, the most important thing is that you add it in. Paying attention to your physical strength and feeding your physical body what it needs will also benefit how you feel mentally. If you want to improve your mental wellness and mental strength, consider adding a few moves to build your physical strength first. Before you know it, your mind and body will feel like they are twenty again but with the wisdom of a forty, fifty, or sixty-year-old. 

Happy Moving!

A Truckers Workout: Resistance Bands Exercises

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It can be hard to get moving, stay fit and be active whether you are a truck driver, a traveler, or a commuter, being in the driver’s seat all day long sucks. And when we can’t be active that can also wear on our mental state. Resistance bands are a wonderful way to get in a truck driver workout anytime, anywhere.

Resistance Bands Are the Best Truck Driver Workout.

Exercise comes in all forms, and using resistance bands is one quick and simple way to stay fit, stay healthy, and stay mobile.

Movement is partly what saved me from a life strangling addiction. And when I’m not moving, long story short, it is often a slippery slope to the land of sorrows, depression, and anxiety. When you don’t feel good you tend to not make the best choices, and that is why getting in a trucker workout can make all the difference.

And there is something so amazing about feeling strong, feeling alive, feeling in my body.

I love exploring movements. I love being creative and pushing myself in a way that can best serve my body.

But too much of anything can be a bad thing-even exercise. As I get older, I’m more conscious of my joints, bones and trying to stay pain-free, not just trim and fit.

And about two years ago, I took a terrible fall, and it landed me a slow recovery and a body that felt like it was well into its 70’s or 80’s. Muscles wouldn’t let go of the trauma, and I started to develop imbalances that were wreaking havoc on the body I fought so hard to keep living in.

Resistance Bands Make an Easy Truck Driver Workout

Rediscovering resistance bands was one thing that jump-started my body’s recovery and really began to heal my injuries and imbalances without pushing it too hard (and I had no intention of being as big as the Incredible Hulk).

In my eye’s resistance bands are a very unappreciated piece of exercise equipment. So many get sucked into believing that the more expensive, the better, and then never use it. But truth be told, bands are great, think of them as one step up from bodyweight exercises and super nurturing to your joints!

And when implemented correctly into your workout and daily life, you will see a big difference in your strength, pain level, and mobility because resistance bands strengthen the attachments where the muscle and bone meet. In contrast, free weights bulk the belly of the muscle making this a great trucker workout. And to make sure you are moving towards your healthiest self, don’t forget to download our free Healthiest Self Check-List

resistance bands easy workout guide blog post mother trucker yoga

10 Benefits to a Resistance Bands Workout:

  • 1) They improve the quality of your exercises.
  • 2) They help to focus your control, form, and function.
  • 3) They recruit your stabilizing muscles.
  • 4) They’re fundamental for functional training.
  • 5) A great alternative to machines.
  • 6) they’re lightweight and easy to use for travel fitness.
  • 7) They’re designed for compound exercises.
  • 8) You have control over the angle.
  • 9) They help you feel your muscles working or not working
  • 10) They work your muscles differently than the use of free-weights

Variety is the spice of life. Stop thinking you have to do the same old thing every day.

You can easily add in a resistance bands workout that lasts 5 minutes, and you can get an amazing workout in no time!

How do Resistance Bands Work?

Unlike weights, resistance bands don’t rely on gravity. The more you stretch the bands, the more they resist your movement, want to work harder, and increase the band’s stretch. That means that if you work with a free weight, you can only go as far as your joint will allow, but with a band, create more resistance, and you have just increased your workout. And I love resistance bands because you can get creative, way more creative than you can with weights.

Here are some of my current favorites when it comes to working with resistance bands.

Resistance Band Exercises

Foot and Leg Exercises with Resistance Bands: Great Trucker Workout

Because a truck driver spends a lot of time sitting, their legs can become weak and tired, and we need our legs to be mobile and strong to help support our back.

Place a tied or loop resistance band about the length of your forearm and place it over the balls of your feet. Stretch the band just enough so there is no slack. Keeping a tall body (no rib thrusting or booty pushing), start to march in place. Really work to lift your knee without leaning back or tipping forward. March in place 30 times.

Next, ground into one leg and keep a strong neutral rotation on the leg (pit of the back of the knee pointing back and on dumping into the hip), engage your glute, and press out with the opposite leg for a lateral lift. Think about kicking out with the heel, not the toes (almost like internal rotation).

Do this 10-20 times on each side.

Trucker Workout: Resistance Band Arm Exercises

Standing strong in neutral, feet grounded, and no rib thrusting. First, anchor your elbows at your sides and press out with both fists (the movement comes from the elbow) on an exhalation. Place your fists inside the tied-off or loop resistance band.

Try this 10-20 times. Next to keeping your upper body strong and stable, pull one fist up, and one fist down, like your arms, are marching in place. Do this 10-20 times. Finally, pull your fists diagonally and then back to the center 10-20 times. Notice which arm is stronger and tune into making sure you don’t dominate the movements with that stronger arm.

 

Resistance Band Exercises for Hips and Glutes

This was a lifesaver because my left hip and hamstring weren’t cooperating, and my right glute was weak (a very unstable pulley system). Place the tied off resistance band around your ankles (shoes optional) and walk 30 paces forward and back in the following ways:

  1. Wide Monster Strides (pull the band as wide as you can comfortably and walk forward and back)
  2. Normal Walk (Walk in a normal hips distance and stretch the band with enough resistance when you walk)
  3. Diagonal Walk (Step to the right one foot at a time, then to the left, alternating forward and back)
  4. Sideways Walker (Create a slight squat and step foot to foot to the right, then to the left)

Leg Strength with resistance bands Mother Trucker Yoga blog

So many think their workout has to be at the gym in workout clothes and X minutes long to be “worth it.” But here’s the thing, I carry my bands with me in my car. Yes, I do a three-minute workout here or there, and it all adds up! To step out of the box, you have to start to think out of the box!

And you might as well add resistance bands into that thinking too!

Don’t have bands? Grab this kit and join me! I got you covered! 

Want more great moves like these? When you buy our mini travel resistance bands kit, you get: 

  • One Large Physical Therapy Grade Resistance Band (Medium or Heavy Resistance)
  • Two loop bands with varied resistance
  • Door Loop to attach your bands to your truck cab door or door at home for an easy portable workout
  • 13 Page Resistance Bands Guide for easy go-to workout ideas! Making a truck driver workout even easier no matter where you are.

And after a great day of movement with your newfound love of resistance bands. Don’t forget to help your muscles recover with our exclusive pain relief cream made for drivers… STIFF Mother Trucker. After a great trucker workout, your muscles may feel a bit sore or even stiff because you are now using them, and there is a window of time where your body has to readjust. STIFF Mother Trucker pain relief cream is a perfect remedy for your trucker driver workout to help you feel better wherever you are.

STIFF Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream for Travel

 

Travel Exercise: Top Things You Need To Have

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Over time many of us collect fitness favorites and pile them in a corner to pull out whenever you want when you spend most of your time at your home. But for those that travel a lot and those that live over the road like a truck driver or even someone living the RV life, it is essential to consider what you need to keep you healthy. 

If you are living out of a backpack, a suitcase, or the cab of a truck, that lifestyle choice does not make it any less important to find time for fitness. But it does make it a bit more challenging to decide what to bring with when it comes to a workout or fitting in fitness each day. 

A lifestyle that keeps you on the move all the time can leave you feeling like working out seems like a chore or too complicated to take on. That’s mostly because everyone assumes that you need a lot of equipment and time to get yourself fit. But the truth is, you need a few basic things to stay fit while you’re on the road. 

As a trucker, it can be quite challenging to take out time to hit the gym every day as you’re on the road most of the time, and let’s be honest, pulling in an eighteen-wheeler to a strip malls parking lot is not always an option. To ensure that you’re on top of your fitness game, keep some basic things on hand to exercise whenever you get the time. Here, you’ll find some basic yet essential things to keep with you to help you stay physically fit. 

When I travel, I try to consider how much space I have to pack extras, what is the area I will have to do something, and what do I want to spend my time doing? One of the things I teach our drivers at Mother Trucker Yoga is you don’t need to overcomplicate fitness to be fit. Others tell you that you need their fancy, complicated and expensive equipment to stay healthy, but I’m telling you that it’s as simple as one, two, three, and you are off to the races…well off to a workout when you work with us. 

Five Things You Need to Exercise While They Travel:

1. Sneakers

Sneakers are essential to exercising. You might think that you can get it done with any shoes on, but that’s not true. Make a habit of keeping a pair of sneakers with you in your truck at all times. This way, whenever you get the chance, you can pause and get your daily exercise in using the most basic equipment that you can think of. Ensure that the sneakers you choose are comfortable, fit securely to your feet, and aren’t full of foam. Yes, I said foam, it may seem like a great idea to wear a shoe all day long with pillows in the bottom, but our feel needs to feel the ground beneath us. They need to move and be stimulated when we walk. 

Wear your steel-toed boots when you don’t want something to drop and damage your foot. Wear flexible, bendable shoes when you want yourself also to be flexible and bendable. 

I personally love ASICS, New Balance, Merrell, Brooks, and Under Armor. And when buying a pair of shoes, make sure you can try them on, walk around in them, and how they fit. This is a device that will be carrying your body around all day long. Don’t you think it should fit, right?

 

2. Travel Yoga Mat

Another essential item that you will need to assist you in your workouts is a travel yoga mat. They’re lightweight and don’t take up much space at all. They’re essential as they provide you with the right surface to do your exercises on. Since there’s very little space for you anyway, you can take the yoga mat outside and start working out on it, without having to worry about hurting your body. There are all different brands of yoga mats to consider, and some of my favorites are Jade, you can get it in various lengths, widths, and they are made out of recycled materials. When traveling, because you don’t know what the surface you will be exercising or practicing yoga on making sure your yoga mat is heavy and has enough traction, it won’t slip. So you don’t slip. 

3. Resistance Bands

Can’t get yourself to carry weights around with you as you drive your truck around? Who wants to stuff a set of hand weights in their suitcase when they travel around? Well, guess what? You don’t necessarily need them. Instead, you can invest in some resistance bands that can help you keep your body in shape. Resistance bands are great for strength training and can help you maintain your physical health. You can find some excellent resistance band kits at Mother Trucker Yoga to help you keep yourself fit. 

Resistance bands are a great way to tone up, build muscle, and strengthen joints. Different than using weights, resistance bands build up the connection between muscle and bone, rather than focusing on building bulk. When shopping for resistance bands, make sure you get a high-quality material like one made for medical use or at a physical therapy quality level. Make sure they are cut to a minimum of 6-feet, so you can do endless exercises. And you’ll want to get a door loop so you can double the number of activities you can do right from the door of your ride. 

Not sure where to find that. No stress Mother Trucker Yoga has that all figured out for you! Check out our band kits in their convenient travel bag and get our 11 page PDF guide so you can get to moving ASAP. 

Resistance Bands for Travel Exercise with Mother Trucker Yoga

4. Smartphones

Smartphones are things that everyone has nowadays. They’re essential even if you’re not into fitness. So, all you need to do with your smartphone is to help you place reminders about when you should exercise. You will also be able to watch videos on YouTube or read up on exercises that you can easily do while you travel. 

5. Bicycle

Cycling is a natural and essential physical activity that helps you keep in shape. You can easily place a bike in your truck that you can use when time allows you to. Get your bicycle out and not limit yourself to only views of the landscapes you see. Go out and explore all the routes that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Not only will you get your exercise in, but you will also feel much more refreshed than ever. 

Are there ways you can mount your bicycle to your truck? We’ve seen some great ideas from drivers mounting kayaks, bikes, and more to their rigs so they can stay active. We know you can too!

Don’t miss out on your exercise just because you’re always moving. Try to come up with ways to make sure that you incorporate some activity. Hopefully, the next time you’re out and about, you’ll be able to get your exercise in without having to worry too much about the equipment!