HGV driving may be a very demanding job, but it’s also one that’s very sedentary. As a result, many HGV drivers suffer from health problems in some way, from injuries to cholesterol. In reality, what many people see as an ‘easy’ job actually requires a lot more discipline than your average 9-5 routine does. But if you know the right habits to focus on, your HGV career can be successful and you can be healthy, without having to sacrifice anything.
Sleep is a big one. As a driver in charge of an 11-tonne lorry, it’s your job to be as awake and alert as you can be. That means getting a minimum of 6 hours restful, deep sleep every day. This can sometimes pose a challenge to drivers who work unsociable hours, frequently have to sleep away from home or just have tight deadlines to run to. But there are rules around how much rest you need to have for a reason. So one of the biggest changes you can make is making sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep every day. Even this little change will make a huge difference in how you feel, and make it much easier to tackle your everyday tasks. So grab your fluffy pillows and hit the hay!
It’s true what they say – you are what you eat. And for many HGV drivers, that tends to involve a lot of fast food, sweets and fatty snacks to top up the appetite while you’re on the road. And there is nothing wrong with a burger from the van on your way through once in a while – providing it is once in a while. But drivers need to take control of their diet and make the choice to eat healthier. That might mean packing some meals in advance and taking them with you. It might mean stocking your cab with fruits, nuts and healthier snack options instead of sweets and crisps. Or it might just mean choosing the healthier option at the rest stop when you get hungry. Switching to healthier food options will make you feel better, improve your concentration and give you the fuel you need to do your job well.
Hydration is an important thing for humans. And yet 75% of UK citizens are chronically dehydrated. As a nation, we don’t drink enough even when we have easy access to it, so it’s no surprise that those who aren’t water-cooler-adjacent are also suffering. Luckily, the answer to this one is simple – just keep water nearby at all times. Not fizzy or sugary drinks – just good, wholesome water. It will quench your thirst, aid in digestion and keep you feeling more awake for longer. And for HGV drivers, staying hydrated has an added benefit – it prevents spinal problems. Most HGV drivers’ spinal issues come from dehydrated spinal disks, which is partly from dehydration and partly from long periods of inactivity. So keep your H2O levels up, and you’ll be amazed!
Another thing many HGV drivers don’t get enough of is exercise. A large amount of the job is sedentary in that regard, and with long, unconventional hours, it can sometimes be a challenge to fit in some exercise. But fit it in you must – because it’s crucial to maintaining good health and avoiding injury in your day to day work. We don’t mean you’ve got to go and do crunches at the local gym or anything like that. But simply by making some time in your day to go for a quick jog, lift a few weights, do some press ups and crunches or even just some good stretching, you’ll find yourself feeling fitter and more alert in no time.
At the HGV Training Centre, we pride ourselves on educating all of our trainee drivers about all aspects of their HGV career. That doesn’t just mean learning how to drive safely and operate professionally – but how to take care of themselves as well. If they invest some time into self-care, then their career will be longer and happier as a result. For more information, just get in touch with us today.