Truck drivers must be able to drive safely. For their sake, and the sake of all the other drivers on the road. So truck driver health and wellness is an important topic in the industry.

In the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, requires all commercial vehicle drivers to obtain a DOT medical card, showing they’re fit for the road. For drivers in good health, a 24-month card will usually be issued after the screening is complete. But for some drivers with new or pre existing medical conditions, temporary cards may be issued. These temporary cards give the driver time to properly correct or address the medical issue discovered.

For many drivers, this isn’t always that easy. The stress many drivers already have can compound with the added stress of a newly found medical problem. Factor in the sedentary nature of the job, and these medical issues might not be that easy to correct. Or correct in time to meet the deadline on the medical card. If you’re looking to improve your truck driver health and wellness, here are 10 tips from an expert to get you started.

Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer, has worked to bring wellness expertise to the driver community for decades.

Bob brings a unique perspective to the transportation industry. He is the son and brother of career drivers⁠—both owner-operators for the last 75 years. He’s passionate about working with truckers on their health and wellness. Specifically as it relates to drivers losing their jobs as a result of health issues.

“We lose thousands of drivers every year from failing their Recertification Medical Exams. Many of these failures are due to elevated blood pressure, high glucose & BMI’s levels. Weight plays a significant factor in these cases. We need to support our drivers with the tools necessary to live and work healthy on the road”

Speaking with Bob, he’s provided these great tips to help drivers get and stay fit for the long haul.

Tip 1: Goal planning

Sit down and write out what exactly it is you want to achieve. The goal could range from weight loss, to building strength and endurance, or even to relieve depression.

Tip 2: Be honest with yourself and make your goals realistic

Everyone is made up differently. Never compare yourself to someone else; it’s genetically impossible!

Tip 3: Now that you have your goal, write down the steps you are going to take to get there

It’s impossible to reach that higher level without taking one step at a time. No time like the present to set a new goal! February is a good time as any other to make your new year’s resolutions stick. Goals can be as big or small as you need them to be. But be certain that they’re attainable. For each goal you set, break it down into bite-sized pieces. If you’ve got a goal to lose some weight, a good plan might start with simply cutting out one soda each day. Then work to do that every day. Eventually, it becomes a healthy habit.

Tip 4: Water, you need to flush out your system

Drinking enough water and eating healthy foods are so important! If you are dehydrated, it impacts almost every aspect of your body. You don’t think as clearly, your skin shows signs of stress, and it might even make you feel extra tired.

Tip 5: Protein, first thing in the AM

The same goes for eating a healthy diet. Starting the day with protein can help you feel full longer and keep the urge for unhealthy snacking at bay. These tips are good for any trucker looking to start some healthy habits over the road.

Tip 6: Be prepared

Have your protein ready for the next morning and snacks for the day.

Tip 7: Begin your workout routine slowly; two to three times a week is great

Your workout should consist of strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

Tip 8: Think ahead, plan your next workout

Getting into an exercise routine is great advice for any truck driver health and wellness plans. Like Bob mentioned earlier, be realistic and have a plan when starting. Short walks a few times a day, or even some quick exercises here and there, might work better than jumping into a plan to spend 2 hours in the gym every day. Bite-sized progress here is the best plan for long-term success.

Tip 9: Staying motivated

The key to long-term success in being healthy, know how to motivate yourself over and over again. If you do the same thing, you will stay the same.

Tip 10: Last but not least, never beat yourself up if you fall off the program

Avoid going down the unhealthy road two days in a row, it then becomes a habit. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes life gets in the way of any well thought out plan. When you try something new, there’s always a chance that you’re going to have good days and bad days. The key takeaway from Bob related to this is to know that each day is a new opportunity to be happy and successful. If your motivation wanes, have a plan to get yourself back on track. And at each stumble, know that you can dust yourself off and get back on the road to a healthier you!

If you’re looking for some additional information from Bob, and some help for getting healthier to pass your re-certification test, you can find out more here.


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

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Tips for Truck Drivers to Improve Focus on the Road

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!


The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 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.


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.


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.


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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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 

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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!


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

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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 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.


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

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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,

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.”

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!


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