Fit to Drive: Increasing the Health of You and Your Fleet
It does not take someone familiar with the trucking industry to know that being a commercial driver requires extensive testing that must be passed in order to legally operate. What you might have not thought about in a while is the medical examination that the Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require all truckers to take every 24 months (with exception until September 30th due to the coronavirus pandemic).
It sounds absurd that a skilled driver can be taken off the road due to health concerns that otherwise have no impact on driving, but the FMCSA wants to keep truckers safe beyond collisions. Here are our tips to avoid heart conditions and other diseases that may put someone out of commission.
You have probably heard that losing weight is a basic math equation of calories in versus calories out, but Bob Perry, a trucker wellness advocate who helped develop a paid program to help truckers pass their medical examinations, has studied and come to the conclusion that the average trucker consumes 4,500 calories per day. That is over double that which is considered the standard calorie intake for an adult male.
The best way to cut calories is to make small but consistent changes to your diet. Instead of ordering a salad over a burger, order a burger with no cheese or, if it comes with mayonnaise, ask them to hold the mayo. Small adjustments to diet are much easier to keep, especially for those with a disdain for salad.
Another important step to lose calories is to avoid being hungry. The hungrier you are at lunchtime, the higher the propensity of engorging yourself. Have some emergency snacks in the cabin such as almonds or crackers to turn the tide when it is still a little too early to pull over for a meal.
When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, the most important factor is your basal metabolic rate, or the amount of heat your body gives off just by living. Being younger, taller, or heavier increases this rate. Calculate how many calories a day you burn doing nothing, and use that as a baseline guide for your diet. You can exceed it, as even sedentary or low-intensity tasks such as driving and walking burn more, but try not to exceed it too much.
We have written an entire article about truckers needing sleep, but the benefits of getting quality rest are more than just reducing the chances of an accident. Sleep allows your brain to better cope with stress and to maintain a better memory.
Here is a summary of that previous article:
- Every hour, the body expels about 9.4% of its current caffeine. Three cups of coffee at breakfast can and will impact your sleep, despite being eighteen hours later.
- Alcohol can help people fall asleep, but it will often make sleep less restorative. Just another reason to avoid heavy drinking.
- Blue light reduces melatonin production. Cut out screen electronics an hour before bed, or use an app that reduces blue light for you.
- Exercise helps with sleep if done early in the day, but late at night produces adrenaline and does more harm than good.
There is a good chance you have taken steps to avoid contracting COVID-19, such as wearing gloves when handling the diesel pump for a refuel. Have you considered other diseases and the steps you can take to overcome them?
- Wear clean clothes and clean dirty clothes often. Excess bacteria can cause an infection.
- Wash cuts with water and soap as soon as possible, then cover with a bandage.
- Do not drink water where you do not know where it came from.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to improve blood circulation and reduce sweat production.
According to the FMCSA’s own FAQ, “CMV drivers are held to higher physical, mental and emotional standards than passenger car drivers.” With current suspensions of these medical examinations due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be an influx of people who will need these examinations once the suspension is over. Now is the time to prepare and adopt habits that will make you and your fleet more likely to pass the examination when the time comes.
CORONAVIRUS [COVID-19] UPDATES AND ARTICLES
- Trucker’s Guide to When Every State is Reopening
- FMSCA Extends Hours of Service Relief Declaration
- How Truck Drivers Can Keep Their Cabs Clean During COVID-19
- International Roadcheck Delayed Over COVID-19 Fears
- Pennsylvania Reopens (Some) Rest Stops
- Truck Dealers Seek “Essential Status”
- Navistar And Paccar Halt Production
- Mack And Volvo Suspend Truck Production
- Fmcsa Expands Its COVID-19 Response
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