Getting truck drivers to move more than just their wheels

by Derek Clouthier

A lot of truck drivers are probably sick and tired of hearing about the myriad of health issues that are associated with their profession.

After all, in today’s high-tech, computer/gadget/mobile device-dominated world, there are countless jobs that involve sitting down and doing nothing even remotely active for hours on end…truckers are certainly not the only ones, but with up to 11 hours behind the wheel each day, sedentary time does add up quickly.

During my talks with the drivers I have run into in the past few months, I get the impression that for many, the attitude toward being fit is changing, and they want to make more of an effort to eat healthier and be active.

Which is why it surprised me to discover that one of the options truckers had at their disposal to be more active during their travels was no longer available.

I had heard of Snap Fitness’ ‘Rolling Strong’ effort from a truck driver, who had nothing but good things to say about the program, and I had planned on doing a story on it to make sure our readers were aware it was available.

But alas, Snap Fitness informed me that the program had folded.

There are several studies and surveys that address the health concerns of the truck driving profession. A Canadian study done in 2007 by the Institute for Work and Health indicated that the Trucking Association of America had found that 49% of truckers were considered to be obese, 39% were overweight and 31% had high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, there was no Canadian data on this, as much, if not all of the studies on these health issues come from the US.

Fast forward eight years, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that seven in 10 long-haul truck drivers are obese, which can lead to a variety of health concerns, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and joint and back pain. In turn, these health issues can lead to disqualification from getting a commercial driver’s licence.

Either the two organizations came up with very different results or things have gotten a lot worse since 2007.

Though the solution to this problem is not rocket science, it is difficult, nonetheless. We all know hard it is to change our lifestyle and equally tough it is to maintain it.

Images of Sylvester Stallone performing his shoulder and arm curls in Over the Top may be entertaining (and I have to admit, I loved that movie when I was a kid…and still do to this day) but they are not reality.

Which is why it was so encouraging when I heard that a fitness chain was doing something to help get truck drivers moving more than their wheels.

It’s not the company’s fault the ‘Rolling Strong’ program ended. Successful business endeavours do not end, only unsuccessful ones do. And clearly this one met its demise because not many trucker drivers took part, for whatever reason, be it lack of interest, or simply not knowing it even existed.

To coin a phrase articulated several times at the safety conference I attended in Lloydminster, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about your family.’

The phrase was declared during the conference to get across to attendees that driving safely was not just about themselves and others on the road, but about continuing to be around for the one’s who love them.

Maintaining good health is exactly the same thing.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data