Former Olympic Hopeful Works To Improve Truckers’ Health

The trucking industry remains one of the most stable in the nation, providing thousands of well-paying jobs to drivers across the country. But many truckers fall into bad habits that, if gone unaddressed, can lead to health problems. Luckily, one trucker is working to highlight how drivers can stay healthy when they hit the roads, and he certainly knows what it takes to stay healthy.

Siphiwe Baleka, a driver for trucking company Prime Inc., is a former swimming champion who nearly competed in the Olympics. And today, he’s using his athletic background to help the company’s drivers as Prime Inc.’s coach for drivers’ health and fitness.

Check out some healthy eating tips for truckers in the video below: 

Are Truckers Unhealthy?

There are plenty of truckers who maintain healthy lifestyles, but it’s no secret that long-haul truckers tend to have more health problems compared to U.S. averages. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 70 percent of truckers are obese, putting them at high risk for heart disease, diabetes, and more health problems. A recent industry report revealed that 21 percent of truckers who left the industry left due to health reasons.

As Baleka noted in a recent interview with NPR, long-haul truckers face difficult lives while on the road. “There’s not a whole lot to make you feel good,” says Baleka, who further stated, “So eating is one of the things you kind of have some freedom with, to make you feel good.”

Obesity Of Truck Drivers

How Companies Can Help Truckers Stay Healthy

Baleka’s health and fitness program is centered on teaching drivers healthy habits while also monitoring their health while they’re on the road. He was inspired to design the program by the ways that trucks and their cargo are closely monitored while on the road. Baleka figured that if the trucks were being monitored, why couldn’t the drivers be monitored as well? Advances in technology allow companies to track the health of their drivers with ease, and Baleka’s philosophy convinced Prime Inc. to give it a shot. As he notes:

“At that time, the only thing that we didn’t have any real-time information on was the driver — the physiological state of the driver. These digital health devices now allowed me to do that. I can monitor the physical condition of the driver just like we do with a truck.”

But Baleka’s program goes beyond monitoring truckers’ health. He teaches drivers healthy habits of diet and exercise, encouraging them to do short bursts of exercise while on the road, cut carbs, and consume healthy proteins every few hours. His fitness plan is aimed at boosting truckers’ metabolisms, improving their overall health while they’re stuck driving for hours a day.

For more on the trucking industry, check out the blogs below: 

Siphiwe Baleka’s program for Pilot Inc. provides the support truckers need to remain healthy while hitting the road, but the basic tenets of the program can be followed by any driver. You need to be sure to get some exercise, try to eat healthy, and avoid the temptations and bad habits often found on the road.

Of course, you’ll also need to comply with the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol policy in order to remain healthy and safe on the roads. If you’re looking for affordable and reliable drug and alcohol testing services, consider New Era Drug Testing. Our consortium offers testing services across the nation, helping you stay compliant with the DOT and other organizations regulating the trucking industry. Contact New Era Drug Testing today for more information on our services.