Long drives on the road will inevitably wear your health away. In fact, studies from the National Institute of Health report that more than 50% of truck drivers are obese, as opposed to the national rate of 26.7%.
To avoid becoming another statistic, truck drivers need to make sure to offset travel days with physical activity. One of the best ways to do this?
Humans have been traveling through nature since the dawn of time—it’s what our bodies are used to. In contrast, traveling by car is a relatively new method of transportation that can quickly take its toll on your body.
Simply put, it’s not what we’re used to.
Hiking has several benefits that can offset the stationary lifestyle of a truck driver. Let’s take a look at what hiking can do for you.
Hiking is a great way to get your cardio in because it can be eased into. Moderate trails and shorter hikes are still often more beneficial for the body than walking on a treadmill due to the natural terrain of the land.
Cardio is one of the best kinds of exercise you can get. It’s a lot like swimming or cycling in that it works out most of the muscles in your body. Most importantly, however, it strengthens your cardiovascular system which in turn strengthens your heart.
Your health starts with your heart, making cardio important for your overall vitality. Regular cardio helps to prevent a host of common health problems that commonly plague truck drivers, like heart disease and hypertension.
While your cardiovascular strength is important, strengthening the rest of the body is important as well. It’s easy for your muscles to weaken, especially when you’re sitting stationary in a truck cab for extended periods of time.
Exercises like hiking help prevent muscle deterioration because they work out multiple parts of the body, especially your lower body and core.
Hiking works out the following:
For a more strenuous workout, you can also add weight in the form of water, snacks, and other essentials for hiking. This extra weight will not only work out your core and lower body more intensely, your shoulder and abdominal muscles will get to feel the burn as well.
Hiking is great for burning excess fat because it involves cardio and works out multiple major muscle groups. Whether you’re trying to lose or maintain your current weight, regular hiking can help keep those pounds off.
This is because hiking burns more calories than simply walking. Natural terrain, even on easier trails, is often more difficult to navigate than regular pavement or a treadmill.
This can translate to higher stamina. As you hike more and more, you’ll be able to tackle longer and harder trails. This leads to a snowball effect. The stronger you become, the more you can hike, and the more fat and calories you can burn on your outings.
Regular exercise from hiking can also help to regular blood sugar levels and promote a steadier metabolism, giving you a better chance at staving off weight-related problems like diabetes.
Hiking not only strengthens your heart and muscles, but your bones and joints will thank you as well. Hiking on trails has the added benefit of burning more calories than just walking and the terrain of hiking trails is also better for your joints.
This is because walking on dirt or grass is more natural for your joints than walking on the concrete or asphalt of roads and sidewalks. This in turn offers less of the stiff resistance that can lead to joint pain and even arthritis.
That being said, the resistance your bones and joints encounter while hiking can be beneficial because it encourages the growth of bone density. In turn, this prevents health problems like osteoporosis as well as arthritis.
Hiking has obvious benefits like weight loss and muscle growth, but it can also provide mental health benefits to those who take part in it. Mental diseases like stress, anxiety, or depression are common in the truck driver community, but hiking can help alleviate these symptoms.
Being out in nature has been shown to one’s mood, whether it’s deep in the Everglade forest or just a small city park. Hiking in the outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety by giving you a chance to disconnect from the world for a short time and decompress. Being in nature can help you to ruminate less and bring your focus away from the problems that face you, while also giving you the ability to process them more effectively.
Hiking alone can be a good experience for destressing, but inviting friends, family, and other loved ones can also give you an opportunity to connect with the people in your life. The life of a truck driver can sometimes make it difficult to communicate, but taking the time to enjoy the outdoors together can lead to more meaningful connections with loved ones.
The lifestyle of a truck driver can often lead to health complications further down the road. Hiking has been clinically proven to prevent a whole host of illnesses, including obesity, arthritis, and heart disease. Taking the time to go for a daily or even a weekly hike can bring about positive physical, as well as mental, health benefits.