by Pride Transport | Jun 30, 2022
We all know exercise is part of staying healthy, so it’s fair to assume a career involving lots of sitting isn’t great for our bodies. Extended periods of sitting, which can be the result of desk jobs and truck driving alike, has been found to contribute to a number of health issues. Mayo Clinic reports that studies have shown sitting over 8 hours a day for work without exercising regularly outside of that time indeed causes increased health risks.
The CDC has also recognized that long-haul truck drivers have greater health risks due to their work environment. They note obesity, smoking, low physical activity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are all prevalent issues in the trucking industry. Those conditions can lead to related health problems like heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. The CDC reports only 1 in every 4 male drivers and 1 in every 5 female drivers say they exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Everyone knows exercise improves health, builds cardiovascular strength, increases muscle tone, and improves flexibility…but it can be hard to find time to exercise as a truck driver. While we definitely recommend making time for physical activity when you’re not driving, there are also some ways that you can work in a little exercise while you’re on the road!
Safety is always our first priority for drivers, please make sure you are safely off the road in a secure area.
Seated Arm Exercises
You might need some space and weights to really build arm muscle, but you can certainly work on toning your arms while waiting to load or unload.
- To work on your forearm strength, grab a tennis ball (a great exercise tool for when you’re on the go) and squeeze it as hard as you can. Hold for one second, then release. Aim for 12-15 reps for each arm, working your way up to longer holds as you get stronger. Alternatively, you can also intensify your grip on your steering wheel in a similar pattern.
- For biceps, make a fist and curl your arm toward your chest. It might feel silly without a weight, but if you clench your fist (around that tennis ball, if it helps) and move slowly, your reps will add up. Keep tension in your arm and you’ll definitely start feeling the burn.
- You can also work on your deltoids while you are on the road. Holding your arm out straight (either to your side or down towards your knee, depending on cab space) make tight circles with your fist. Do 10-15 rotations in each direction, then switch arms.
- It’s common for sedentary jobs to cause us to hold a lot of tension in our shoulders and neck. Loosen up by lifting up your shoulders, tightening up your shoulder and neck muscles, then release them down away from your ears. After you finish 20-30 reps you can loosen up by rolling your neck from side to side and doing loose shoulder rolls (without the added muscle tension of the squeeze).
Seated Core Exercises
Having a strong core can make a big difference in your comfort while you’re driving and improve your posture while standing, too.
- A seated crunch is all about engaging your abdominal muscles. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much actual movement. Sit tall in your seat and think about contracting your abs. Think of trying to pull your belly button toward your spine. Tighten up and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Release, take a deep breath, and repeat about 10 times.
- Sit up tall and imagine you’re trying to pinch a coin or pencil between your shoulder blades. Don’t forget to engage your abs while you squeeze your shoulders back and down. Hold for a few seconds, then relax and repeat 15-20 times.
- Rotating your core is a great way to strengthen your oblique muscles. This is an easy one to do when you’re stopped at a red light or sitting in traffic. Your goal is to twist from side to side, rotating your abs, without moving your legs. You can use your steering wheel to help you get a little more range of motion.
- This is another exercise that’s great when you’re at a red light or in traffic. Grab that tennis ball and hold it between the palms of your hands. Lift up your elbows so that they’re even with your chest and push your palms toward each other to squeeze the tennis ball. Squeeze and release 10-15 times, adding on more sets as you get stronger.
Seated Lower Body Exercises
Remember the tennis ball we used for arm exercises? You can use it for leg exercises, too. Here are some moves to work on your lower body while on your down time.
- You can exercise your inner thighs by placing the tennis ball (or a small yoga ball if you want something larger) between your knees and squeezing it for 5-10 seconds. Relax and repeat for a few rounds.
- Tone your glutes by squeezing them together (you’ll sit a little taller as a result) and hold for 5-10 seconds. Relax and repeat for 8-10 reps.
- Stuck in a traffic jam? Put your truck in park and work your calves. With both feet flat on the floor, raise up your heels to flex your calf muscles. Squeeze your leg muscles as you roll up, then relax when your feet are flat on the floor again.
Exercising while you drive is all about holding tension in your muscles, so it’s important to stretch them out and relax when you reach your destination. More reflexive movement, like walking and taking deep breaths, is still really helpful to your overall health, so taking a walk before you settle in for the evening is also a great idea.
Pride is a firm believer of protecting the health and safety of our drivers and promotes this sort of movement every day. Learn more about how we keep our drivers safe on the road and see what opportunities there are to drive for Pride Transport.