Prioritizing Employee Health and Fitness Benefits Everyone

During the month of May, Global Employee Health and Fitness Month aims to improve the overall health and wellness of the global workforce. Employers are encouraged to engage their employees in healthy activities by offering wellness programs and incentives to those who participate. For those who are in the transportation industry, this month is especially important. This is because driving for long periods of time can be both physically and mentally taxing. For instance, sitting for long periods has been known to cause muscle stiffness and pain. Ignoring these aches and pains can lead to chronic musculoskeletal injuries. To combat this, it is imperative that fleet managers encourage their drivers to stretch regularly and to move around when possible. Similarly, truck drivers are also at higher risk for obesity and diabetes due to the difficulty of finding healthy food on the go.  

Another health risk drivers should be mindful of is skin cancer. Notably, a trucker’s left side gets more sun exposure since they drive on the right side of the road. Dr. Mitchell Chasin, a dermatologist, told ABC News, “Most people who come in to have sun damage treated, will often point to their left side saying they see more spots, more wrinkles, more aging, but never put two and two together.” This is because people fall under the assumption that they are immune to sun damage if they are in a vehicle or if it’s a cloudy day. However, this is not true, UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and the standard cab window only protects against UVB rays, not UVA rays. These physical health problems significantly increase the risk of developing mental health problems , not to mention solo truck driving can be incredibly isolating and cause feelings of loneliness and depression.  

Implementing health and fitness programs allows drivers to invest in their well-being and provides them with the resources on how to build healthy habits. Employees who participate in wellness programs have lower stress levels, better overall health, and improved confidence. But a wellness program doesn’t just benefit employees, employers with wellness programs see increased employee productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and lower incidences of illness and injury. 

Overall, cultivating healthy habits in the workplace (eating well, exercising, and getting plenty of rest) has incredible benefits. There are free online, video-based wellness programs available such as the “Driven To Be Healthy” (DTBH) initiative. DTBH is a 12-week total body wellness program available to all Class A, OTR drivers. You can learn more about this program and encouraging health and wellness in the workplace by visiting St. Christopher’s Truckers Development and Relief Fund.