Today, nearly 30.3 million Americans are living with diabetes — a disease that has been ranked the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In order to raise awareness and help in the fight against diabetes, November has been named National Diabetes Month.
Diabetes holds a particular significance for us in the trucking industry. In fact, several years ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did an extensive study on the habits and lifestyle of truck drivers. While they explored common problems, such as fatigue, injury history, and sleep patterns, they also found that truck drivers are at a higher risk of diabetes than other U.S. workers. Certain factors that contribute to diabetes are genetic, but there’s a lot you as a truck driver can do to prevent it in the long run.
In honor of National Diabetes Month, we’ve gathered five tips that can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle on and off the road:
- Partner with fleet managers for subsidized memberships. Across the country, national gym chains make it easy for you to catch some exercise on your own time. If cardio or weightlifting aren’t for you, you can try other recreational places, like sports centers or yoga studios. Often times, trucking organizations will pay the fees for you, so be sure to check in with your fleet manager.
- Invest in some in-cab equipment. Keeping a few light pieces of equipment in cab, like dumb bells or straps, can make a major difference — especially when you’re trying to squeeze in a quick workout between shifts. Just add some workout clothes and the right playlist, and you'll have all the ingredients you need for some prime sweat-burning time.
- Become a nutritional whizz. Regular exercise alone is not enough to prevent diabetes – diet plays a critical role. Studies have shown that choosing whole grains instead of white grains can actually reduce the likelihood of type 2 diabetes by a whopping 30 percent. While we all love white grain foods, like white rice, mashed potatoes, and donuts, saving these foods for “treat yourself” moments rather than incorporating them in your everyday diet can drive your health a long way.
- Replace energy drinks with coffee. Having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes means that your body has trouble regulating its blood sugar, so overindulging on sugary products can be detrimental to your physical health. If your drink of choice for overnight driving is a sugary energy drink, consider swapping that out with coffee. Adding cream and sugar equates to fewer calories than what you’d get in an energy drink — although doctors recommend black coffee as the healthiest option.
- Switch up your exercise routine. Even if you exercise regularly, sticking to the same routine can cause your body to plateau and reduce the multiple benefits exercise can bring. Exploring different exercise options to keep in shape is a great way to avoid pesky plateaus and may simultaneously introduce you to a new way of burning calories you’ll love.
We want to hear from you! Tweet us @OmnitracsHQ to share your recommendations for healthy driving this National Diabetes Month. In the meantime, find more tips on driver health and wellness by reading our blog post from earlier this year.