By Jeff Dinkelman
Bootstraps and better health
Speculators are driving the price of diesel through the roof. Brokers are swallowing up the fuel surcharge. Inflationary costs are not being matched by increases in freight rates. As relevant as these concerns are to drivers, it is curious to note that the sources of all these problems are external to the drivers. Attention to externalities can too easily become a means to divert our focus away from matters that are within our control.
One component of our national narrative speaks of the importance of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. This implies using the resources available to bring about positive change. The question to ask is, “How we can make the most of our time and knowledge base to improve our lives?” With this in mind, I want to focus on the health of our bodies, since it is something for which we are individually responsible and which, ultimately, is the most important asset for a driver.
As summer changes to fall, I think this is the ideal time to explore the potential for positive changes in driver wellness. I am going to present what can be considered “low hanging fruit.” These include alternatives in one’s daily routine that are not overly disruptive but still effective.
1. Water. Make this your beverage of choice. H2O is vital to the function of the human body, but the cocktail of additives and sweeteners found in many drinks is not. By quenching your thirst with water you do not have any worries about insidious calories that creep into your body by way of artificial beverages.
2. Walk. As the summer heat gives way to the coolness of fall, so too do reasons for not getting out and ambling about. Strive for frequency so that you walk several times a week.
3. Write it down. If driving has resulted in additional and unwanted pounds, it is necessary to get a grasp on what you are consuming. As a professional driver, you have the skills to record a daily accounting of your activities. Apply them to what you eat. This won’t improve your health, but it will help you confront the numbers behind what you eat.
4. Stand. Celebrate your bipedalism by making use of it. Instead of reclining to watch television or sitting to surf the net, try doing these activities while standing. This offers your legs a small amount of exercise, something which they had been denied during the day’s drive.
5. Stretch. Be inventive. This can be done in those cracks of time that can otherwise be frustrating: loading and unloading, in line at the shipping office, waiting in line for fuel, etc. Even minor stretches will give you the benefit of better circulation.
Remember that if you make an effort to develop some new habits and end up failing, it’s all right to try again. Those bootstraps will always be there.
Jeff Dinkelman is an over-the-road driver.