How To Stay Healthy As A Truck Driver

The truck driver lifestyle comes with many challenges. Long hours spent sitting in a small space, limited food options, and weeks away from home make it difficult for many drivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

If you’re a driver, it’s vital to learn how to overcome those obstacles and improve your physical and emotional well-being. Illnesses or chronic conditions could affect your quality of life and make it difficult for you to keep working, so knowing how to stay healthy as a truck driver is essential to your safety and career. 

Understanding Health Risks
for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers’ health often suffers because of the nature of the work environment, which limits movement and promotes unhealthy eating. According to the Centers for Disease Control, some of the most prevalent health risks for long-haul truck drivers include: 

  • Obesity 
  • Smoking 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes

While you might be more likely to develop one of these conditions, they are not inevitable. Making careful lifestyle choices can help mitigate the risks and enhance your overall well-being. 


Eating balanced meals helps keep your energy up and contributes to better long-term health, reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can cause nutritional deficiencies, such as low vitamin A, B, and C levels, which can weaken your immune system. 

It can be difficult for truck drivers to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals because of their limited lodging conditions and lack of equipment. Following these healthy eating tips can help you get the nutrition you need:  

  • Plan meals ahead so you’re less likely to rely on fast food.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables that you can eat raw or easily prepare in advance, such as baby carrots, snap peas, and apples.
  • Eat foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal and nuts.
  • Select healthy pre-made meals and snacks, such as pre-packaged salads, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. 

Your cooking methods are also a big part of eating healthy as a truck driver. Some drivers get creative, using small electric grills and pressure cookers to prepare flavorful, protein-rich foods like chicken and beans. 


Hydration is critical for truck drivers, particularly in the summer when temperatures are high and there is high sun exposure. Recent studies show that men should drink an average of 15.5 cups of water per day, and women should drink around 11.5 cups. 

The Dangers of Dehydration

Failing to drink enough water can cause serious health problems, including: 

  • Heat stroke
  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Seizures

These issues are more likely if you undergo frequent or extended periods of dehydration. 

Increasing Your Water Intake

Keeping a water bottle with measurement lines on hand is a good strategy to ensure you get enough water while traveling. It allows you to keep track of how much water you’ve had throughout the day and encourages you to hydrate more frequently. 

Avoiding certain types of dehydrating beverages is equally important to drinking plenty of water. Coffee, tea, and soda often contain caffeine, which has diuretic properties and may worsen dehydration

Physical Activity

When you sit in a truck for hours at a time, it can be difficult to get regular exercise. If you drive long distances and sleep in your truck, you might not have access to gyms or open spaces suitable for exercising, which might discourage you from staying physically active. 

The Importance of Exercise

In addition to eating healthy meals, physical activity is the key to maintaining a healthy weight as a truck driver. However, moving your body is about more than shedding a few pounds. The National Health Service says that regular physical activity can significantly lower the risk of developing certain conditions, including diabetes, colon cancer, depression, and heart disease. 

Activity Options on the Road

Don’t let the absence of a full-fledged gym stop you from staying active. You can do many exercises while on the road, such as: 

  • Squats
  • Push-ups 
  • Planks
  • Crunches 
  • Lunges

Use portable equipment, including resistance bands, small weights, and jump ropes, to make your workouts more challenging. You can also develop a workout routine with simple activities, such as walking or jogging laps around your truck. According to the Diesel Driving Academy, 16 laps around the truck is the equivalent of half a mile.


A truck cab bed might not be the most comfortable place to rest, but finding a way to get quality rest is critical to your health and safety. A lack of sleep can increase the chances of developing a chronic health problem, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Studies have also found that fatigue is a contributing factor in 30 to 40 percent of heavy truck accidents

Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, even if your schedule is irregular. If noise from outside the cab tends to wake you up, try using a white noise machine or an app on your phone to block out external sounds. 

Finally, avoid watching TV or looking at your cell phone, computer, or tablet screens for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light from these devices can make it difficult for you to relax and fall asleep. 


When you feel unwell, you might be tempted to push through and keep driving anyway. Doing so will likely make your condition worse and could even impact your truck driving career. It’s illegal for professional drivers to operate their trucks if they are too sick. If you have a fever, feel severely fatigued, or are struggling to concentrate, it’s time to take a break. 

When you’re already on the road and illness hits, find a safe place to park and give yourself time to rest. Drink plenty of fluids and contact your supervisor to talk about how you’re feeling. For severe symptoms, find transportation to a local urgent care clinic or hospital using a taxi or rideshare service. 

Mental Well-Being and Stress Management

Being away from home and in a confined space for long stretches of time can affect your emotional health. Truck driving is also a stressful job, particularly when weather or road conditions are poor or when other road users are aggressive. 

To cope with these difficulties, it’s important to develop stress management techniques, such as: 

  • Taking breaks to stretch and get fresh air outside of your truck 
  • Listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts during breaks
  • Practicing mindfulness or meditation 
  • Using deep breathing exercises to relax
  • Talking to loved ones

If your stress becomes unmanageable, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Speaking to a mental health professional is an excellent way to improve your coping skills and vent your worries and concerns.  

Avoiding Common Unhealthy Habits

When you make daily visits to truck stops and gas stations that are stocked with sweet, salty, or fatty foods, it’s easy to develop unhealthy habits. Be prepared before you start each trip so you have better snack options available. 

Choosing Better Beverages

Energy drinks and coffee might help you stay awake on the road but beware of indulging in them too often. According to the Food and Drug Administration, over-consuming caffeine can have many negative effects, including: 

  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiousness 
  • Upset stomach 
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Smoothies are an excellent alternative to caffeinated drinks because they taste good, limit your snacking, and are high in nutritional value. Keep frozen fruit, milk, and a portable blender in your truck so you can prepare smoothies when you want something flavorful and nutritious to drink. 

Steering Clear of Junk Food

Truck drivers often snack due to boredom, stress, and hunger. Unfortunately, many of the foods that are most accessible to drivers have high amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat. 

As with your full meals, plan your snacks in advance so you won’t grab the closest bag of chips or stop for another order of fries. Consider options such as: 

  • Protein bars 
  • Fresh fruit 
  • String cheese 
  • Tuna pouches 
  • Granola 

Eating these foods in moderation won’t make you feel drowsy or uncomfortable like many unhealthy snacks. 

Tips for Long-Term Health Maintenance

Meeting your short-term health goals is a great achievement, but maintaining your health is a lifelong task. Focus on both your physical and emotional well-being to achieve the best outcomes. 

Prioritizing Preventive Care

Frequent travel makes it more difficult to keep up with doctor’s appointments, but it’s crucial that you invest time in your preventive care. See your physician, dentist, and other health care providers for regular checkups and screenings. This will help you catch potential health issues before they get worse.

Strengthening Personal Relationships

Spending time away from family and friends can become draining and disheartening. To maintain those bonds and feel less isolated, try communicating with loved ones as regularly as possible while on the road. 

In addition to focusing on your relationships with loved ones, build new connections within your profession. No one understands the ups and downs of truck driving better than other drivers. Create a support network that you can turn to for advice, support, and friendship. 

Keep Truck Drivers Healthy

Following some of these basic guidelines is a great way to begin making better health choices, but nothing can replace a doctor’s or nutritionist’s professional care and insight. If you want to learn more about how to stay fit as a truck driver, consult with your health care providers to get personalized advice. 

Most importantly, always take your health seriously. Once it deteriorates, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to restore. Remember, if you keep yourself healthy, you will be a safer driver, protecting yourself and everyone you encounter on the road.