When you are a driver or an Owner Operator it is very easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle, which could lead you to have a difficult time passing your DOT Physical Examination. Status Transportation truckers report there are many things working against you, from the foods eaten on the road to the fact that most of the day is spent sitting
Many deleterious things can develop from a lack of movement. Those long hours on the road, committed to focused concentration, can lead to some vicious hunger cravings. We all know that the next truck stop visit could have some new tasty food choice. These may not seem bad at the moment but in the long run, could be costly. A poor diet can cost you time, money, and passing the DOT Physical Examination. Companies like Status Transportation, truckers report, are leading the industry in health awareness. There is an effort to constantly look for ways to improve driver safety, health and well being.
We are going to look at a couple of ideas on how to stay healthy on the road. These could assist you with staying on top of your DOT Physical Examination.
There are a couple of things you want to avoid when you are sitting for extended periods of time. One that could lead to a serious emergency is a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot that someone who is sitting down for an extended period of time can develop. It usually appears behind the knee or further along the leg. The blood clot will feel like a lump and can also give you a warm burning sensation. This is something you do not want to have before your DOT physical exam.
They should not be taken lightly either. If part of the blood clot breaks it could go into your lungs creating a pulmonary embolism or to your brain and cause a stroke.
The takeaway for Status Transportation truckers: report after report indicates the most obvious way to avoid DVT is to walk. Get some blood flow through those legs. I know you are thinking, “Well how am I going to start walking when I’m pulling a load?”
The answer is, you probably won’t, but take advantage whenever you can to move those legs. Even if you are doing a couple of laps around a parking lot.
There is something that you can wear while on the road to help prevent this. Consider wearing compression stockings. Compression stockings help with circulation and leg health. This is especially true if you have a history of a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), edema (Swelling), or Lymphedema (Swelling in the lymph).
The compression stockings will actually promote circulation and energize your tired achy legs.
As far as supplements or medicines to take while on the road, Status Transportation truckers report their concerns to their doctors. Let them know about your line of work. They may recommend something as simple as a baby aspirin or maybe a small dose of a blood thinner. Your doctor will also be able to give recommendations that are tailored to your lifestyle in helping pass the DOT physical exam.
If you suspect having a DVT, this is something to act upon quickly. You may need to go to an Emergency Room to have an ultrasound to diagnose it. This is obviously something everyone wants to avoid or need to share when in a DOT physical examination.
DOT Physical Exams can reflect what kind of food you have been eating. Road food can force some difficult choices, especially if your only stops are at truck stops. Plenty of Status Transportation truckers report healthy selections are available at supermarkets like Publix, found in the southeastern U.S. The variety of food is abundant at these kinds of locations and generally, it is easy to park on the outer part of a lot.
Most of the time if you park at these kinds of stores there are different restaurants in the area or at least across the road in walking distance. Utilize the Yelp app to see your options for restaurants. This app gives you an inside look at what restaurants are in the area, how good they are, and foods that are recommended. You will be able to see photos of the food and get a feel for what kind of cuisine you will encounter. With the DOT physical examination in mind, you may be able to see menus that would offer healthier choices before you commit and walk into a restaurant.
Go ahead and set a goal of what you want to eat by looking at the Yelp app and stick with it.
Some of the more well-known truck stops are starting to notice that more truckers would like to make better choices when it comes to food. Consequently, they are producing a nutritional value spreadsheet for truckers. However, this only reveals the nutritional value of different items. It doesn’t really mean they are giving a healthy variety of food.
The king of calories and high sugar seems to be soft drinks. Do your best to avoid these sugary beverages! You may find yourself sipping on these sugary treats for hours on end. They contain huge amounts of sugar that will make you crash after the caffeine has faded. Just stop buying them.
Drinks that seem better for you but are just about as bad include work out drinks. These may actually be worse than soft drinks. A single 44 oz sports drink like Gatorade Fruit Punch can contain 330 Calories, 615 mg Sodium and 84 grams of sugar! This is a drink designed for athletes, not guys to sip on while cruising down the highway.
That amount of sodium can raise your blood pressure and the amount of sugar can lead you to diabetes. If your blood pressure and blood sugar are high it will be very difficult to nearly impossible to pass the DOT Physical Exam.
An alternative option is to try some of the little squirt flavor enhancers that you can put in bottles of water. Be careful, there are some that give you more energy by adding in heaps of caffeine. This will not help you pass the DOT Physical Exam either, and that’s not what I am talking about.
I am referring to some of the 0 calorie flavor enhancers that taste like coconut or pineapple. They are actually very good. I get a couple of different flavors; it takes 2 seconds to squirt them into the bottle and I’m good to go.
Less sugar and caffeine intake will help in the long run, and in passing your DOT physical examination.
If you haven’t noticed, we all have gotten used to eating massive amounts of food without burning massive amounts of calories. For trucker portions, these may be slightly bigger than normal. Starting to track the number of calories we are actually burning in one day vs how many we are taking in can be very revealing. This may be something as easy as using an app on your smartphone. Anything that will help you pass your DOT physical exam that is simple, easy and ethical is a good idea.
I have heard of an intriguing technique used by some people that have lost weight. At first, I thought it sounded pretty crazy but now I understand how it works. What they are doing is basically skipping breakfast then eating at lunch and dinner. They are intermittently fasting.
Basically, they are giving their bodies a chance to reset. You can get more information about this on YouTube. I definitely feel lighter since I have started.
It turns out there are actually health benefits to this. It helps with sugar levels, regeneration of cells in your body, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It also can help with losing weight! Those are all great things when passing the DOT physical exam.
This is one of the easier options when it comes to food intake. I have simplified it to only eating lunch then making sure that my dinner is my last meal for the day. At first, you have some cravings, then after a couple of days, you are pretty well used to it. Just use the thought of you passing your DOT physical exam as motivation to push through the first couple of days.
I know these are brief situations but they could help you out. I don’t think it is about going to the gym every day or being at the top physical condition at every moment. I do think it’s a great idea to keep healthy so when you retire you have a life to look forward to.
A lot of these little techniques will not only help with passing your DOT physical exam, but they will most likely start to make you feel good.
Be good to your body because we only get one, and drive safe.
This blog is from Dan Casey of Status Transportation and is solely based on his opinion. If you have a medical concern please see a doctor. He is not a doctor.
He has had 12 years of Clinical Emergency Medicine experience having worked at a level one trauma center in the Emergency Department before getting into the trucking industry. After joining the trucking industry he started to make connections on health concerns based on what Status Transportation truckers report, and health issues of concern everywhere. He found great interest in driver health due to the nature of the trucking industry and passing standardized health examinations like the DOT physical exam.