The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step

A few issues ago I wrote about breaking the stereotype of the obese and unhealthy trucker. I said it’s time to throw out the excuses – too many hours behind the wheel or desk, no healthy food at truck stops, too much stress, blah, blah – and take charge of creating a healthier you.

Since then I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the first two legs of the Healthy Fleet Challenge, put on once again by Healthy Trucker in partnership with the American Trucking Associations, NAL Insurance and Truck News.

The goal is to get our industry more physically active in the simplest, most inexpensive, way there is: walking. (You can also run, dance, cycle or do basically anything that makes you move your arms and legs and still take part in the Challenge). To make it more fun, the Challenge includes a competitive spirit. Participants’ daily steps are measured through wearable technology and an online leaderboard shows their step count. That makes it a lot of fun whether you are trying to push your company team totals past the rival company’s team or, like me this time, if you set your sights on competing for the best individual results.

You can read our report on the latest Challenge on page 15. In addition to the team and individual standings, we profiled several participants who really brought their A game and you can pick up some good tips from them. I know I did.

Take for example Rajdeep Singh, a safety and compliance manager with Challenger Motor Freight. He finished third overall, averaging 28,101 steps per day. His advice: Get up early in the morning and go for a brisk walk. He takes a 45-minute walk before heading to work.

And here’s another piece of advice that I love: Instead of e-mailing people in his office, to increase his step total, Singh actually walks to their office and speaks to them. Imagine that.

Sherry Rodrigues, who does payroll/invoicing for Elgin Motor Freight, has made accumulating more steps part of her lifestyle. When she goes to the grocery store, she will walk up and down each aisle even if she doesn’t have to. Think that’s silly or extreme?

Consider that the human body is not made to sit anywhere near as much as we do. Isn’t it smart then to think up little ways to get as much walking in as possible?

I also love the advice from Chris Illes, operations manager at Stream Logistics. Illes finished second overall, averaging 33,402 daily steps. Like Singh, Illes gets up early to go for a walk and also gets some walking in at lunch. And when he goes home, he walks with his family. How beautiful is that? Time to connect with your family while participating in a healthy habit.

For those of us in central Canada this was a particularly tough challenge because of the high summer temperatures. But every morning when I checked the leaderboard I was inspired to see industry leaders like Dan Einwechter and Eugene Moser from Challenger and ATA president Bill Graves leading by example and churning up those steps.

The final leg for the Healthy Fleet Challenge starts Sept. 1. Join us.

Lou Smyrlis

With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics.

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