There are many benefits to a trucking life, but there are also some downsides, with fatigue being one of them. Even if you get enough restful sleep every day, unhealthy habits such as poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to unnecessary tiredness.
Maintain your health, or adopt some healthy habits, with the following tips. Followed daily, they aim to boost your energy levels, lower blood pressure, promote weight loss and improve your overall quality of life.
Here are seven healthy habits to be mindful of in the trucking industry:
1. Exercise every day
Regardless of the industry you work in, Australia’s health experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, which is based on your health and fitness level. Allocate time to exercise before or after driving and do some stretching exercises every time you need to refuel. If you want to stimulate your metabolism and feel energised throughout the drive, find a safe place to park your truck and walk for at least 10 minutes to get the blood pumping.
2. Skip the fast-food
Fast food often equals high amounts of salt and saturated fat and offers few nutritional benefits. If you’ve forgotten to pack your meals, try the supermarket for pre-cooked convenience foods like salads, sushi or deli sandwiches. Concentrate on high-fibre and protein-rich foods that will help keep you feeling full for longer. Look for any opportunity to increase vegies (especially greens) and fruit to your diet – think soups, stews, smoothies as examples.
- Eatforhealth.gov.au is an excellent resource to find out about the foods we need to eat for optimal health and wellbeing.
3. Relieve stress
Look out for signs you’re stressed. That way you can identify what triggers your stress and how to better manage it when it does happen. If you’re driving, listen to your favourite music – just doing this will increase dopamine – the “feel good” neurochemical in the brain. Other ways to de-stress include exercise, spending time outdoors or practising mindfulness.
4. Get plenty of water
Dehydration leads to fatigue. It impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain and causes your heart to work harder. Drinking lots of water will boost your energy, helping to keep you more alert. Not only is it the healthiest drink to have, it is the most important element for our bodies after oxygen. Try to drink filtered or boiled water where you can and have at least two litres a day.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking robs your body of oxygen, which is required for energy and healthy brain function. Call Quitline on 13QUIT if you need help.
6. Prioritise sleep
Ensure good, quality sleep by ensuring your sleeper berth is a slightly cooler temperature and has a comfortable mattress, pillow and other bedding. Put your phone on silent and consider getting a white noise machine to block out outside noise.
7. Measure your fatigue
Use SmartCap’s “Life” wearable technology inside to help alert you to when you become fatigued. The wearable technology monitors your brainwaves and sends alerts to the application on your phone. This way you can eliminate microsleeps – the number one cause of accidents in the trucking workplace. By knowing what your tired triggers are, you can then more proactively manage your fatigue and adopt healthy habits to suit your drive/lifestyle.
- Learn more about how SmartCap can help you manage your fleets fatigue.