February is National Heart Month and since 2014, CFI is recognized as a Fit Friendly Workplace from the American Heart Association.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Given the nature of the job, professional drivers are more at risk for heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical conditions. There’s good news though! These things can often be prevented by taking an active role in your health. Making good, healthy choices can go a long way.
In an effort to raise awareness about heart disease the American Heart Association’s annual event, National Wear Red Day, is this Friday, February 2nd. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds. National Wear Red Day is a way to raise awareness about heart disease and raise funds for research.
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to your health. Check out our tips below!
Maintain a healthy diet
Truck stops across the country are actively working to improve their food/snack options for professional drivers and travelers alike. Pilot Flying J recently partnered with Stay Fit and are revamping their food selection to offer more fresh food options. Another option is to cook in your truck. There are a ton of recipes for your slow cooker, pressure cooker or grill as good alternatives to fast food. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water or drinks that are low in sugar. Remember, the key is moderation. If you do have burger or a coke don’t beat yourself up. Balance it out by making healthier choices throughout the day.
Low impact exercises like yoga can be modified to fit your cab. Some truck stops are starting to incorporate basketball courts, walking trails and traditional exercise equipment in their travel centers. During the spring and summer months take advantage of nice weather! Rather than parking close to the building, choose one a little further out to get in your steps so long as the location is safe. If you need entertainment while running or walking, try listening to an audio book or music to help distract you from the task at hand. When you have a choice between an elevator and the stairs consider taking the stairs. Small changes can have a big impact on your overall health.
Watch your blood pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, take it seriously! According Heart.Org high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” Ignoring your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem is like playing Russian roulette with your life. Foods you eat, exercise programs you adopt and if needed medication can help control your blood pressure. If left untreated, you run the risk of having a stroke, heart attack or even heart failure.
Talk to your doctor
If something ever feels off, tell your doctor! Unexplained fatigue, lack of appetite, dizziness, headaches, these can all be warning signs that are body is sending us to tell us something is wrong. Keep a health journal and bring it with you to your doctor’s appointment. Write any questions or major concerns you have prior to your appointment to help you remember everything. Don’t forget to mention to your physician if there is a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease etc.
There are online resources and apps available that are geared towards wellness. They should not be a substitute for seeing your doctor, but they are great tools to help you stay healthy on the road.
What are your favorite resources to turn to?