February is dedicated to heart health
Posted: February 28, 2022
February is not just about candy hearts – it’s also the American Heart Month to raise awareness of heart health and the prevention of heart disease. Do you have any of the following risk factors? If so, it’s never too late to take some steps toward reducing the danger they present to your heart health.
High blood pressure/hypertension
87 percent of truck drivers have hypertension or pre-hypertension compared to the national average of 58.3 percent. Those aren’t numbers any of us wants to see since hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a risk factor for major health problems including heart attack and stroke.
The Department of Transportation requires truck drivers to have a BP reading at 140/90 or below. If you think yours may be higher, the best thing you can do for your blood pressure is to see a medical professional for appropriate guidance on how to best manage it. Consider the following:
- Lose Weight: If you lose those extra pounds, you will start to see your BP numbers going down.
- Exercise Regularly: In addition to helping you lose weight, exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system.
- Eat Right: A healthy diet is good for your waistline and your heart. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Moderate your alcohol and caffeine intake as much as possible.
- Reduce Stress: Practice stress-management techniques to help keep your stress low.
High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity
Statistics from the National Institute of Health show that more than 50 percent of professional truck drivers are obese, compared to the national rate of 26.7 percent. Obesity has a huge influence on cholesterol levels, particularly the good HDL numbers. Also, compared to the general population, the prevalence of diabetes is 50 percent higher for truckers.
- Walking: One of the easiest ways drivers start your fitness journey on the road is by walking a mile whenever you stop. One mile equates to 130 calories burned for a 250-pound male and even one mile per day (32 times around a tractor-trailer) can add up to a weight loss of over six pounds.
- Vegetables: Cut unnecessary calories by replacing unhealthy snacks with vegetables. One cup of sugar snap peas is approximately 35 calories with fiber and vitamins compared to a candy bar with 240 calories plus 5 grams of saturated fat.
- Water: This may seem obvious but too many drivers don’t drink enough water. Stick with water to stay hydrated and maintain energy without any calories.
- Portions: Small reductions in caloric intake can go a long way over time. For instance, medium-sized fries instead of large can save between 100 to 200 calories, which can lead to a weight loss of more than six pounds over the course of six months.
Trust us, we know smoking is a tough habit to kick! Over 35 million adults in America are smokers, and more than half of long-haul truck drivers are current cigarette smokers —over twice the general working population (51% vs. 19%). But there’s no question that the best move you can make for a long, healthy life is to quit.
- You need a plan! First, set a date to quit, mark it on your calendar and tell your friends and family. Quitting smoking is easier when the people in your life support you. Let them know you are planning to quit and explain how they can help.
- Calculate your savings. For example, note how many cigarettes you smoke each day and how much a pack of cigarettes costs. You’ll find out how much money you can save by quitting.
- Remind yourself why you want to quit. Knowing this can help keep you motivated and on track, especially in difficult moments. Here are some good ones:
- Live longer and healthier
- Save money
- Take back control of my life
- Baby on the way
- For my family and friends
- For my pets
- Set a good example
- Hard to find places to smoke
- To look or smell better
Quitting smoking is difficult so don’t think you won’t have set backs. But think of quitting as a long-haul run. You just keep driving forward. If your truck has a flat tire during that long haul, do you get it towed back to your starting point? No, you address it and move on.
Make a change for a healthy career
CalArk has your best interests at heart! If you’re looking for a carrier that supports you every day, we invite you to join us. We offer high-paying runs and great benefits plus the home time, pay and support you deserve. CalArk offers opportunities for regional company drivers, teams, and owner operators plus warehouse and delivery positions.
Connect with us today to find an opportunity that fits you!