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This time of year many people make resolutions to improve their overall health and well-being. Making positive changes to make sure you’re getting enough exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep are certainly important. But what about your brain’s health? What are you doing to keep your mind sharp and improve focus on the road?

A recent article on American Trucker’s website spoke with Brian Ryder, a business creativity consultant.  He points out 7 key ways to train your brain and improve mental focus while driving.

As we age, our brain also needs stay in shape. “It’s really not hard to sharpen your thinking and improve your mind power,” Ryder contends. “A lot of people don’t try it because they think that mentally, they ‘are where they are.’ It’s not so. You have a lot of room for improvement.”

It’s all about taking care of yourself and creating new ways to keep your mind sharp. Sometimes the simplest changes to your daily routines are the most beneficial. Add a few of these to your other resolutions for a great 2019!

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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As a truck driver, you spend most of your time on the road, making it a challenge to stay fit.  Your time is limited and access to equipment is a problem.  Here are 5 quick exercises you can easily perform on the road without any equipment:

Hand Stretch

Hand stretches can help relieve some of the stiffness or pain related to steering all day.  When you stop to refuel or take a break, rotate your wrist left and right or in a circle. Stretch your wrist by placing the fingertips of one hand on top of the steering wheel. Gently press your weight into your hand and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

Abdominal Crunch

Strengthen your abs while you’re on the road. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and hold it for the entire length of your favorite song, podcast or news report. If you are unable to squeeze your abdominal muscles for that long, then aim to squeeze them for at least one to two minutes. Repeat at every red light or for every favorite song that comes on the radio.

Planks

Plank exercises help strengthen your back, arm and leg muscles, as well as your core. Find a spot where there is room to stretch out, start off the exercise by getting on your hands and knees. Place your forearms and hands onto the ground with your palms facing downward. Kick back your legs so that you are placing your weight on your toes. Your entire body should maintain a straight line. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Shoulder Shrugs

Help relieve the stress and tension from your shoulder area with shoulder shrugs. Try this exercise while stopped at a red light, waiting on a shipper or taking a break.  Lift your shoulders up to your ears as if you’re saying “I don’t know.” Hold the position for a few seconds then release. Perform 10 to 15 reps throughout the day whenever you are feeling tensed or stressed.

Push-Ups

Strengthen your arms and chest with some push-ups.  You can do regular push-ups keeping your legs extended behind you and your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  Mix things up with a diamond push-up where your hands are placed in a diamond shape directly under your chest.  Or, increase the degree of difficulty by propping your feet up on the bumper of your truck.

Photo courtesy of Men’s Health.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

truck driver heat exhaustionSummer means everything from beautiful drives to unbearable heat exhaustion for truck drivers. To usher in the new season, we’ve gathered a little information on healthy eating and exercise tips for the summer.

Taking care of yourself in the heat is not just a matter of health, but a matter of safety. Consider these tips from The Healthy Trucker:

Exercise in the morning or evenings if possible, avoid the hottest part of the day.

  1. Get acclimated. If you are used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather take it easy at first, give your body time to adapt to the weather change.
  2. Know your fitness level. If you are just beginning a workout regime you may have a lower tolerance to the heat.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids! Dehydration is a key factor in heat related illnesses. Keeping well hydrated helps your body sweat & cool down.
  4. Dress appropriately. Wear light weight, light colored clothing.
  5. If possible, always consider moving your workout indoors to avoid the heat, especially in extreme temperatures.

Keep an eye out this summer for problems like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

  • Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions.
  • Heat exhaustion occurs when your body temperature rises above 104 degrees F. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache and cold, clammy skin.
  • Heatstroke can be life threatening. Symptoms include confusion, irregular heart rhythm, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and fatigue.

When you’re done exercising or when you’re on the road, here are a few snacks that can keep your energy up even under the summer sun as Trucker News shared:

  1. Pumpkin seeds
    Lightly roast them before a trip and keep them stored in a plastic storage bag or other container, and you’ll have a high protein snack at hand for your trip.
  2. Roasted chickpeas
    Chickpeas are a great source for protein, with just one cup of chickpeas offering 39 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
  3. Greek yogurt and granola
    Add granola to Greek yogurt, which has about 10 grams of protein for every 100 grams, and you’ve got a delicious high protein snack.
  4. Hummus dippers in a jar
    In a Mason jar or similar container, add hummus to the bottom and then add cut-up carrot sticks and celery sticks. Put the lid on and store it inside your cooler or your truck’s refrigerator. Depending on the amount of space in your cooler, you could make a few of these up before a trip to have on hand.
  5. Mixed nuts
    Toss some of your favorite types of nuts in a plastic food storage bag and you’ve got your own personalized trail mix for the road.

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun Over the Road as a Truck Driver 

Download the complete guide for 5 easy tips for sun protection while on the road.

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Five years ago, Cynthia Ward weighed 338 pounds. Her ankles, knees and hips were always hurting. She failed her DOT physical and had 30 days to control her sugar levels. She had to make a change, fast.

“I’ve lost a whole person since then,” Ward says. 160 pounds, to be exact. Ward’s story is an inspirational tale that other drivers can learn from.

“If you would have told me that I would have to lose 160 pounds, I would have quit,” she says. “I set out to lose 25 pounds, and I lost 25 pounds. And that’s the way I’ve done it, 25 pounds at a time. Because 25 pounds in attainable.”

Every couple of weeks, Ward allowed herself a cookie or a sliver of chocolate cake as a reward to make the journey more enjoyable.

Start small

Ward took several small steps toward success. She began by buying smaller dinner plates at Walmart. She started parking in the back of parking lots so she would have to walk farther. She also researched diets on the Internet and met with a dietitian, who helped her plan her portions.

“If I ate one thing less, if I took one step farther, that day was a win,” Ward says. “And the rest of it would fall in line.”

Keep it healthy

Now Ward rarely eats at truck stops. Instead, she keeps healthy eats in her truck at all times. She begins her day with a cup of coffee and a serving of Dannon Light & Fit yogurt, with only 9 grams of carbs. Even a small serving of yogurt, with flavors such as banana cream pie, strawberry cheesecake and toasted coconut, is enough to satisfy Ward’s sweets cravings.

At noon, she indulges in raw nuts and indulges in lunch, her biggest meal of the day. Lunch is a serving of meat (the size of a deck of cards) and two cups of low-carb vegetables. Ward tops her day off with a light meal, such as chicken salad with dried fruit and walnuts.

Ward designed her regimen on her own.

The dietician she worked with initially wasn’t helping, Ward says. So Ward did her own research and came up with her own plan of consuming 1,200 calories and no more than 50 grams of carbs daily to keep her diabetes under control.

“By following the diet I’ve followed, I’ve been able to get off medication that was costing me $600 a month,” Ward says. “I ran my diet by my doctor to get the OK, but I’m the one who decided what I was going to do.”

To lose weight, Ward focused on diet, not on exercise. But she walks her dog every few hours, does squats during her pre-trip and often walks with an exaggerated march to burn more calories.

Where she goes from here

Today, Ward weighs 180 pounds. Her goal is to lose 30 more pounds eventually, but she’ll continue to take it slowly.

For others who want to lose weight, Ward has this advice: “Start small. Start with something obtainable. Take one step more than you normally would. Take a complete walk around the store before you start shopping. Leave one thing off your plate that you would normally eat. If you have to give up everything all at once, you’re not going to succeed.”

Ward focused on losing 25 pounds at a time. Do you have a great weight loss tip others can learn from, too? Connect with us here and tell us about it!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

eating right or exercising

What’s more important—eating right or exercising? If you need to lose weight, you might think you need to exercise more often. However, as Mercola.com points out, this idea may actually be the obstacle that keeps you from succeeding in your Battle of the Bulge.

The website asserts that when it comes to weight loss, and keeping weight off, “you cannot out-exercise your mouth.”

Your diet surpasses the importance of exercise. Although, physical movement allows you to truly optimize your health and fitness.

Exercise proves to be as effective (or more) than many drug treatments for common health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and depression. So, exercise definitely plays a role in optimal health — it’s just not the central key for weight loss.

eating right or exercising

You cannot keep eating a junk food diet and simply exercise your way into smaller pants.

In addition, the article states that when and how much you eat influences your weight. Eating less and paying attention to the timing of your meals can move your metabolism in the right direction.

According to Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, more than 700 weight loss studies confirm that eating healthier produces greater weight loss results than exercise.

“On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks. Therefore, it’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.”

Indeed, one of the simplest ways to improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel and lose weight is to replace all sodas and sweet beverages with pure water. Condiments and snacks are other categories that can be eliminated without risking nutritional deficits, thereby lowering your overall calorie consumption.

A recent international study confirmed that exercise was for the most part unrelated to weight loss.

The study also found that even sedentary behavior was not strongly linked to weight gain.

Also, Similar findings were made in 2012. A systematic review of studies found that, over time, people who exercised regularly wound up burning less energy than predicted based on their activity levels. This phenomenon is known as metabolic compensation. Also, they increased their overall calorie intake.

In addition, exercise only accounts for 10 to 30 percent of your overall energy expenditure each day. How many calories you burn in total each day primarily depends on your resting metabolic rate. On the flip side, you have full control over 100 percent of the energy (calories) you put into your body.

Even so, the article states, research does confirm that when you supplement a healthy diet with exercise, you’re typically rewarded with more sustained weight loss over the long term. Therefore, when it comes to answering the question between eating right or exercising, we have our answer.

Want to stay up to date on more great health and wellness tips? Follow Drive My Way on Facebook here.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Whether you spend your down time doing crunches or you’re sick to death of all this health talk, one thing is for sure: Health and fitness is gaining serious traction in the trucking industry. In response to the burgeoning fitness craze, several Facebook groups devoted to truck driver health have popped up. Here are our top 5 picks for you (yes, you, drivers!), whatever your fitness level may be.

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truckin’ Runners

The group’s tagline, “Truckers who run. Runners who truck,” says it all. The group is for people who work in the trucking industry and want to share training tips, playlists, race information and nutrition facts.

What started out small in 2010 has grown to 768 members today.  Truckin’ Runners caters to runners of all levels. That’s exactly why it’s built a strong following, says the group’s cofounder, owner operator Jeff Clark. “We have to take as much joy in the driver who just walked a mile for the first time without having to take a break as we do in the elite runners,” he says.

Health tip: “Recognize that it’s hard to get exercise when you’re a truck driver over the road, but know that it’s worth it.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Big Truck Health and Fitness

This is the latest effort from the people behind the Facebook group Big Truck Cooking. “The goal is to get truck drivers to exercise and eat better,” says Darlene Williams Ventura, the group’s cofounder. “As a driver, the hardest thing is getting exercise on the road. We’re starting them off slow, and we’ll help them build from there.”

The group offers exercises that are easy for people with CDL trucking jobs to do on the road (think: push-ups and planking), as well as nutritional tips, recipes and encouragement.

“My greatest hope is that drivers will realize their potential,” says Kari Fisher, who leads the group’s healthy eating side. “You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to be healthy.”

Health tip: “Download the food app Fooducate. It breaks down nutrition information for all foods. And stay away from sugar and white flour.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition

If it takes a leader who puts his money where his mouth is to whip you into shape, this is the Facebook fitness group for you. The group’s founder, John Reed, is a 35-year truck driver, an owner operator leased to Mercer. Once weighing more than 250 pounds, Reed got serious about his health a couple of years ago. He dropped 75 pounds and returned to school to earn his degree in nutrition.

“People talk about truck driving as being one of the most unhealthy occupations. I’d like to change that,” he says. The Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition is one way Reed helps other drivers get healthy. The group features health articles, healthy recipes, inspiration and more. Reed uses the group mostly to augment his own nutrition website, nutrition-forlife.com.

Health tip: “Stop thinking about food as something to be worshipped. Food is just sustenance.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for TruckersDriven to Be Healthy

This Facebook group started as a six-month contest at GATS 2015, putting people with CDL trucking jobs to the test from August 27-February 29. During that time, drivers strove to eat healthier, lose weight and exercise more for a shot at cool prizes.

While the contest is over, the Facebook page lives on, keeping truck drivers motivated through recipe sharing, inspirational words and exercise tips.

“If we made the difference in the life of one driver and he’s healthier and gets to live longer because of it, then it was worth it,” says the challenge’s organizer, Julie Dillon. “Because that’s our goal. We want to see them be healthier and live longer and enjoy their families.”

Health tip: “Commitment is continuing to push yourself when no one else is around. The days that are the hardest are the days that produce the most results.”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/driventobehealthy/

Big Trucks Fitness

With the tagline “Strive for progress, not perfection,” Big Trucks Fitness is ideal for truckers who want to get fit through exercise or diet. Members share truckside workouts, healthy recipes (Cobb salad on a stick, anyone?), workout articles and friendly encouragement.

“My goal for Big Trucks Fitness is to help everyone stay in shape through tips and motivations,” said the group’s co-administrator, Joshua Briggs, a company driver for MIDI Transport. “The group was created because there were drivers I’ve came across who said they are just barely hanging on to the physical card due to their health, and a majority of gyms are not accessible to big trucks.”

Health tip: “A little stretch can go a long ways when you’re sitting behind a wheel up to 14 hours a day. Try to go no more than 4 hours without stretching every part of your body.”

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Health Benefits
Determining if a specific food is healthy depends on interpretation. One thing that experts (including the USDA) are clear on is increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for good health. The Harvard School of Public Health concludes that you should acquire more of your daily protein needs from sourcesfruitNuts other than red meat, including nuts and seeds — which are often found in trail mix.

We know that trail mixes can be healthy but what are exactly the nutritional benefits? First we must say that not all mixes are created equal. Some mixes contain great amounts of sugar and fat. If you purchase them at the store you must read the nutrition labels on the package. Trail mix can be full of protein and vitamins and full of calories from fat, too.  The glycemic index is one way to determine if a food can metabolize — or be turned into energy — quickly. Some examples of these carbs are pineapples, bananas, and raisins, all of which are often used in a dehydrated form in trail mix. Nuts and seeds are the protein foundation for trail mix. Most commonly, you’ll find peanuts, almonds or cashews, as well as sunflower or pumpkin seeds in your mix.  Avoid trail mixes that are loaded with candy or sugar added dry fruits.  These choices offer empty calories that don’t really offer any nutritional benefits.  Some mixes use other foods — like crystallized ginger or shredded coconut — to satisfy the sweet tooth and add healthier nutrients than candy.

Trail mix can be very nutritional and healthy.  It all depends on what is in it.  Listed below are just a few of the many health benefits that can make up this perfect snack.

Sunflower Seeds

  • Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Bone Health

Almonds

  • Regulation of Cholesterol
  • Good for your heart
  • Immune System Strength
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Good for pregnancy
  • Weight Loss
  • Boosts energy

Raisins

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • A natural antacid
  • Constipation
  • Mood Alleviator

We must also take into consideration the portion size. In some cases a small handful of trail mix can be about 500-700 calories!  This brings us to an important concept. Make the trail mix yourself!!!  In Part 3 of Trail Mix – The Ultimate Travel Snack we will discuss how to purchase, portion, and package your own trail mix.  We will also give you links to some great recipes.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

What is trail mix?

Trail mix is a snack mix, which is usually a combination of dried fruit, nuts, whole grains and sometimes chocolate.  Nutritionists consider trail mix the ideal snack trail_mixfood for travelers, because it is lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious, providing a quick energy boost from the carbs in the dried fruit or grains, and the sustained energy from the fats in nuts.

Brief History

Trail mix has been around longer than most people think. Californians believe that trail mix was invented in 1968 by surfers who mixed together peanuts and raisins to keep their energy levels up during their big wave encounters. In reality trail mix has  actually been around for thousands of years. Ancient nomadic tribes mixed dried berries, fruits, nuts and meats together. Trail mix was (and is) high in energy, needs no specialized storage, and does not require cooking prior to eating.

European explorers continued the use of trail mixes, for the very same reasons, taking the high-energy food with them on their rough travels over oceans, mountains, and trails. Native Americans had a unique trail mix, which they shared with those explorers they had peaceful relationships with. Their mix was called pemmican, and made up of dried buffalo, moose or caribou, mixed with animal fat and berries, and it lasted for several months.

Modern day trail mix most often includes fruit, grain cereals, nuts, flavorings, chocolate or carob, coconut, pretzels, and spices like Cajun or crystallized ginger.

 

In Part 2 of Trail Mix – The Ultimate Travel Snack we will discuss the plethora of health benefits associated with trail mix.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Here is some great advice from a very unique individual. Tony Blake was the first African-American swimmer to be named All-Ivy league. The Yale graduate traveled the world, changed his name, started a family and became a truck driver. Siphiwe Baleka (his new name, which means Gift of the Creator in Zulu) is now a fitness guru, and his goal is to transform what has been one of the most unhealthy occupations into a healthy one. Baleka shares 4 simple tips that will help people with CDL permit jobs maintain a healthy lifestyle.

1. Get enough sleep

‘The change in your circadian rhythms and the interrupted sleep creates sleep deprivation that accumulates. The problem with that is that the hormones http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/truck-driving-fitness-guru-siphiwe-balekas-top-tips/6405778that regulate metabolism are produced in your sleep. When that production cycle is thrown out of whack, the drivers are not able to regulate metabolism properly.”

2. Eat regularly, eat right

‘The other thing that happens is that drivers aren’t getting the signal that they’re full and that they should stop eating. They’re fighting fatigue and boredom, so they’re eating again, and they’re not getting the signal to stop eating, so they overeat. The root of the problem is their sleep cycle and the freight schedules.”

3. Don’t focus on calories, focus on metabolism

‘Instead of focusing on calories we … trained a driver’s metabolism to get higher and trained it to stay up there longer. The outcome was that we could make a driver’s metabolism 8 per cent more efficient if they could get four minutes of vigorous activity every single day.

4. Do whatever you can

‘Drivers have to sit behind the wheel, but there are plenty of opportunities through the day to get movement: before and after work, during breaks, when deliveries are coming off trucks.

Get matched with the very best trucking companies hiring. Register today. It’s free!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

According to  author Dr. Mercola, 80% of Americans fail to meet US government exercise recommendations.  The official standards  the government recommends are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.  Benefits of following these guidelines include lower risk of colon and breast cancer and prevention of unhealthy weight gain.  Move  from 150 minutes a week toward 300 minutes a week and you can add lower risk of heart disease or diabetes to the list.  Weightlifting activities for all the major muscle groups should be done at least 2 days a week.  Here is a list of just some of the low intensity exercises recommended by the government.

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/04/03/recommended-amount-exercise.aspx

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

For instance, just one hour of moderate activity a week may lower your risk of premature death by 15 percent, while just 20 minutes of vigorous intensity once a week may lower it by 23 percent.6 Research also suggests that walking for one to 74 minutes a week may lower your risk of premature death by 19 percent compared to those who are sedentary.7

Just getting started is the key because the greatest improvement in your health is going to be in the initial stages.  You will see immediate measurable benefits.    If time is your problem, doing more strenuous exercising for 20 minutes two to three times a week, combined with weight training can be suffice.  Be careful not to overstress your body when performing high intensity exercises.

As a rule, avoid doing high-intensity exercises more than twice or three times a week. You can enjoy other activities on the off-days, such as swimming, Pilates, yoga, biking, gardening, or whatever other activities tickle your fancy. I also encourage you to use a pedometer and walk as much as possible, ideally 7,000 to 15,000 steps daily.

Here is a list (not all inclusive) of what the government views as vigorous exercising.

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing, with heart rate increases)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now