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This country runs on it’s trucking industry. The availability of products, shipping of mail, and of food stuffs would not be possible without truckers pulling large loads across huge stretches of highway. However, this countries’ truckers run on long hours, little sleep, and unhealthy food. All of these factors can lead to a stressful job environment of making deadlines and getting paid for how long you can drive in a day. A trucker’s number one enemy is obesity, suffered from much of the industry due to a sedentary work place and less than healthy eating practices. Obesity has been linked to sleep apnea, which causes thousands of deaths and injuries each year, linked to driver fatigue. Obesity has been identified as one of the strongest predictors of high blood pressure, or hypertension, which increases your risk of heart disease, renal failure, and stroke. However, there are some simple steps that truckers can follow in order to reduce their chances of life threatening conditions.

The first, and most important step to alleviating the problems of obesity, and with that the problems of sleep apnea and hypertension, is exercise. This can prove to be a more difficult task than many would think for truck drivers who sit for the majority of their day and then sleep for the rest. The key to exercising and staying in shape is committing the time to it. Every time your truck is stopped, walk around the parking lot, rest stop, or gas station you happen to be at. Each time you do this, you’re burning calories and will see improvement in overall fitness and mobility.

The second is focusing on your diet. On the road it can be tough to regulate your intake and portions when your only options are fast food restaurants. The key is making small changes that will eventually lead up to a marked change in your diet. Substituting regular sodas for diet, or fries for fruit. Small changes can lead to be improvements.

Finally, take the time to relax, and sleep. Although making that extra money in your pay check might feel worth it at every pay period, the added stress and health injury you may be causing yourself might not end up paying out in the end. Your health and safety are of utmost importance, not only on the job, but in life itself. So take the extra time, get some extra sleep, park farther away from the restaurant and walk the extra distance, and order water with dinner. Small steps, big changes.

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