Get Onboard With Fitness
Drivers have discovered innovative ways to work exercise into their schedules
By Heather Larson
It’s no secret that driving for several hours straight for several days in a row, and only taking breaks to eat and sleep, can play havoc with your health. You’re a prime target for gaining weight, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and a variety of other health problems.
But life on the road doesn’t have to be unhealthy. More and more drivers now incorporate physical activity into their workdays.
Feidt was one of them and she soon became something of a fanatic about staying healthy on the road. She did not accept that extra weight and the sedentary lifestyle that often goes hand in hand with trucking, so she searched for ways to stay physically active on the road.
Feidt started working out whenever she had a chance. Her exercise sessions were relatively simple and included walking while talking on the phone with her family members, climbing up and down the steps on her truck repeatedly and using the equipment in the fitness rooms at TA and Petro locations she and her husband frequented. She plans to put an Xbox game system in their new rig so she can get back to doing a Zumba routine (an exercise that combines dance with aerobic moves).
“It’s a big challenge to stay fit and healthy on the road,” says Feidt, who has lost the weight she gained that first year.
Watching her diet was a big part of achieving that weight loss, but keeping active was equally important. Vigilant about keeping it off, Feidt constantly looks for ways to incorporate some form of physical activity into her day.
“I park as far away as I can when we stop, I walk down all the aisles in stores instead of just going to the ones that have what we need and I power walk around the perimeters of truckstops,” she says.
Feidt often asks other drivers to join her on her power walks and says she’ll even slow her pace for anyone who accepts her invitation. She reduces her speed considerably when her husband walks with her. Although she hasn’t had too many take her up on her offer, she has noticed more drivers walking this year than she did last year.
Truckers’ Exercise Tips
Jeff Clark, who lives in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and has been driving for 24 years, runs marathons and created a Facebook page for other drivers who run. At “Truckin’ Runners” drivers who run share training strategies, race information, the best places to run near truckstops and more.
His advice to fitness procrastinators: “Buy yourself a new pair of walking or running shoes and you’ll be encouraged to use them. Put them where you’ll see them first thing in the morning and you’re more likely to put them on and go for a walk or run.”
Toby Bogard is based in Crossville, Tenn., and has been driving for the past 12 years. He began exercising five days a week about a year ago and has lost 40 pounds. He sets up his TV and DVD player on a milk crate in front of his truck and works out to a video, but he knows that won’t work for everyone.
“Drivers just starting out on an exercise regimen should begin by walking as much as possible, park as far away from the truck stop as you can and the walking will get your heart rate up and burn calories and fat,” Bogard says. He’s also working on his own video of exercises for truckers.
Joe Martin, of Porter, Texas, has been driving for 47 years. A few years ago, he created an exercise system for drivers that has them use their seat, steering wheel and hand weights for an aerobic and isometric workout.
His video, Truckercise, explains and demonstrates the method. Martin recommends that you start slowly, “Do a few repetitions of each exercise you’ve chosen and then gradually increase the repetitions each week until it becomes part of your regular routine.”