Aside from driving their favorite stretch of road or stretching their schedule to make more stops, most truck drivers give little thought to the concept of stretching while on the road.
It’s easy to be laser focused on the trip and the destination—however, it’s critical for truckers to put their wellbeing first. Long hours in a stationary position can lead to cramps, muscular issues, and other health problems.
Whether the vehicle is in motion or park, stretching can help anyone stay healthier. Give these great stretching exercises a try, no matter if you’re a member of the trucking industry or an outside spectator.
Health and Wellbeing is Crucial for Truck Drivers
The trucking industry is one that gives its workers plenty to focus on. This includes everything from making trips on time and earning as much money as possible to enjoying the sights and soaking in the open road.
However, health and wellness should function as the foundation of every truck driver’s focus. Think of it like any other machine, such as your own truck. How you care for and use it matters, but both are enabled by your commitment to keeping your truck running properly.
By taking part in healthy stretching exercises, truckers can keep themselves mobile, focused, and energetic.
Why Truckers Develop Pain and Mobility Issues
It’s no secret that the trucking industry brings with it a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours in the cab are rough on the body, and this is often compounded when people don’t make time to exercise.
Even if you don’t have time to get to the gym between trips, you should still make time to complete some basic stretches. Why? Because trucking careers can leave people with various muscular and skeletal health issues if they don’t take precautions.
Our bodies, like our trucks, are meant to move. If you don’t stay mobile, you may develop joint pain or even weak muscles and limited balance later in life.
Remember the Fundamentals of Stretching Exercises
Before we go over specific stretches truckers can use, let’s go over the “warm ups” of these warm up exercises and how to do them.
You don’t have to push yourself to be so flexible it hurts. It’s actually better to focus on symmetry than flexibility. You should also hold stretches for a second or two in a gentle, focused manner—and most importantly, stay consistent with your healthy stretching routine.
Safe Stretches Truck Drivers Can Do Behind the Wheel
Even if your trip is lengthy and leaves little room for breaks, never fear—there are plenty of healthy stretching exercises you can do while on the road. These allow you to keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Brace Your Core: This one can help truckers strengthen their abs, as well as help them to reduce back and neck pain. Sit with your back straight and head pressed back against the seat. Try gently tightening your abs for ten second intervals, with ten seconds of rest in between.
- Shoulder Steering: With your hands pressed up against the steering wheel firmly and your arms at 90-degree angles, try to steer by using your shoulders to push the movement. You can also try gently rolling your shoulders, alternating between these two exercises for reduced neck pain and firmer shoulders, along with a stronger back.
- Squeeze Your Glutes: Some people love to work their behind off, but as long as you still have yours, try tightening up your glutes for ten seconds intervals with ten seconds of rest in between. This can strengthen your upper thighs and lower back, helping you with balance.
These are just a few exercises you can do during your trip to reduce neck pain and back pain, while also strengthening your balance. Remember, to go over any stretching routine that you are thinking about with your doctor or personal trainer and take new routines slowly and sparingly at first.
Why Stretching Helps When You’re in Park
Sometimes the best way for a truck driver to get moving is when their wheels aren’t spinning. While there are stretches you can do while driving, there are many more you can try out once you’re in park.
Some great stretches to try include the classic ankle pump, which helps you strengthen your lower legs to work the gas and brake pedals. You can also use seated knee lifts to make sure your knees and hips stay flexible.
There’s also the seated side bend, which gives your body a much-needed escape from the upright driving position truck drivers stay in. These are just some of the options you have to make your body healthier and your trip more enjoyable.
Don’t Forget Good Posture
We can’t understate the value of good posture on the road either. Sitting up straight provides you with a clear path to reduce neck and back pain while also keeping you more alert and energetic. You can even use cushions or strategies like holding something between your shoulder blades to promote good posture.
Stretching Helps Commercial Drivers, Office Workers, and More
While not everyone has a trucking career, these stretches are not just valuable to the world’s commercial freight workers.
Whether you’re in a commercial car or a passenger car, mobility matters. The same principle even applies for those who spend hours sitting stationary in an office chair or cubicle. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you’re still for too long, you should try some of these stretches.
Sometimes it’s good to memorize multiple routines, such as stretches for drivers vs. passengers, or driving stretches vs. stationary stretches. Either way, build your routine around your lifestyle and your health concerns for your own body.
Hermes Puts Trucker Health and Wellness FIRST!
We know it can be a stretch to try and manage your health on the road. But we believe it’s a carrier’s job to support their truck drivers in this worthwhile endeavor. It’s why we strive to create an informative and empowering environment where drivers are always the top priority.
We make it our mission to create an environment that makes your trucking career more enriching and enjoyable. Our benefits package, frequent home time, and supportive team all work together to help truckers enjoy health and wellness both on the road and off. Click here to apply.