A healthy truck driver sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?
A job which requires you to sit down all day long doesn’t exactly scream health and fitness. Plenty of truck drivers experience all sorts of health issues during their years behind the wheel – and we wanted to find out which are the most common.
We asked the question: ‘since being a truck driver what ailments and illnesses have you gained?’ in an online poll.
Here’s what you told us:
Back injuries 27%
Depression and loneliness: 20%
Sleep apnoea: 4.6%
Arthritis and deep vein thrombosis also made it onto the list as conditions truckers have to put up with as part of the day job. Just 3.5% of those questioned said that their health hadn’t been affected by driving a truck.
Obesity takes the top spot, with 38% of respondents ticking that box. This should come as no surprise – after all, the classic truck driver stereotype tends to be overweight. So why is obesity so prevalent in the trucking industry? A lack of opportunities to exercise and the convenience of unhealthy food seem to be two of the main reasons. We all know the drill, eat less and do more, but that’s easier said than done.
Another occupational hazard is back pain, taking 27% of the votes. The body is meant to move around, so when it remains static for long stretches of time, back pain is an almost inevitable part of the job. It’s all about posture, changing position in your seat, making the most of rest stops and using ice to ease the pain.
Depression and loneliness also scored high in the poll (20%). Conditions that have gone unmentioned for so long are now getting the attention they deserve. Time spent alone, lack of sleep, and money worries can all lead to feelings of depression and loneliness and they are all part and parcel of life of the road. The more truckers feel able to talk about their mental health, the better.
Interestingly, lots of respondents ticked more than one box. This suggests that one problem often leads to another. for example, obesity is linked to a number of additional health concerns such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and sleep disorders.
All the findings point to the fact that truck driving can be brutal both mentally and physically.
Truck drivers are in a tricky (mainly seated) position when it comes to their health. Unlike the millions of desk workers out there, they don’t have the option of standing up whenever they wish. Plus, stand-up desks are becoming increasingly popular. I’m yet to hear of a stand-up and drive cab.
Access our latest poll here: What is the best truck stop in UK? and what makes it the best?