How to Stay Healthy on the Road Without Losing Your Mind
When most of your waking hours are spent behind the wheel, sticking to healthy habits can be tough. The average person has access to a kitchen and nearby gym, but truck drivers, road warriors, and serial travellers lack those common luxuries.
But thankfully, you don’t need those things to care for your health—even if you’re traveling a lot. Here are some simple, foolproof ways to stay healthy and fit on the road.
Note: These tips are geared towards truck drivers and road warriors, but they can work for anyone wondering about how to stay healthy on the road (or on a plane) while traveling.
Being Healthy on the Road Can Save Your Life
There are some real negative effects of sitting too much. Being too sedentary increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. Lack of exercise can also affect your bone density, posture, and more.
Office workers are advised to get up every 30 minutes or so to stretch and walk around. But this isn’t always possible when your job requires you to drive. Plus, when you’re out on the road, access to well-balanced meals can be few and far between.
All this to say, truck drivers and other road warriors have to think a little differently about how they stay healthy on the road. But it’s entirely possible! By making some everyday changes to your routine, you can improve your health and feel great doing it.
Below are the best ways to upgrade your physical fitness, your nutrition, and your overall mindset about health as someone who has to travel all the time.
Fitness Tips for on the Road: Truck Driver Workouts and More
There are tons of quick yet efficient workouts for truck drivers and others on the road. Consider choosing one or two of these to try.
Get Back to Basics
Just because you don’t have regular access to a squat rack or decked-out gym doesn’t mean you can’t stay in shape.
Stick to basic exercises like:
- Bicep curls
- Tricep dips
- Jumping jacks
These are all simple movements that go a long way. They can build strength, increase endurance, and get your blood flowing. Even if you just have a few minutes at a time, challenging yourself to a round of bodyweight exercises will get your heart pumping and build up a good sweat.
Include Core Workouts
Like the bodyweight workouts above, core workouts can be done anywhere, and with very little space. Core workouts strengthen the midsection to prevent back issues and tone your abs.
Good core workouts include:
- Leg lifts
- Boat pose
Also, core moves don’t need to make up a big portion of your workout time if you’re doing other functional moves. Squats, push ups, and the like use your core muscles to stabilize during the move, giving you a full body workout.
Look for Ways to Add Weight
Adding weights to the basic exercises above will increase your burn and build strength. Free weights are good for this, although they can be hard to transport on the road. If you have large water bottles or heavy tools in your truck, those can be held for extra weight as you perform exercises.
However, any types of weight can feel impractical when you’re a truck driver, road warrior, or when you’re just simply traveling. For building muscle and getting an all-around great workout on the go, resistance bands are better. That’s one of the biggest reasons we developed the Gorilla Bow.
Do It All with Gorilla Bow Resistance Bands
Free weights and various other pieces of equipment can be hard to manage on your schedule and with your other cargo. But the Gorilla Bow solves this problem. It works as an all-in-one system so you only have to worry about one thing to grab.
And with our NEW travel version of Gorilla Bow, you can easily fit your Gorilla Bow in a travel bag for the truck, car, or on the plane.
Here’s how Gorilla Bow benefits truckers and anyone else traveling:
- You can do resistance training workouts anywhere you go. It’s a home gym you can take with you.
- It supports every fitness level. No need to learn anything fancy to use it.
- The resistance training is joint friendly, utilizing tension instead of gravity.
- You also don’t need to worry about building your own workouts, as the Gorilla Bow includes free workout plans and videos that cover every muscle group.
- Made of aircraft aluminum, the Gorilla Bow can handle more than 300 pounds of tension. It’s tough.
All you have to worry about is the Gorilla Bow itself, four resistance bands, band wrap, and the case it all travels in. Learn more here
Utilize Hotel Gyms
If you stay at a hotel or motel on the road, chances are it has a gym. If so, you can use that time to get in a gym session. Take advantage of the cardio and weight machines or free weights—or the hotel pool, if they have one.
… Or Hotel Rooms
You don’t even need a gym to get a great workout. If you’re extra tired or don’t feel like putting on gym clothes, a quick Gorilla Bow workout in the privacy of your hotel room.
Find a Park
Another option when you’re stopped is to walk to any nearby parks—or find a paved path.
Do some power walking or jogging. Spend some time outside in nature as you move your body.
Look for Opportunities to Move More
You don’t need a gym or hardcore sweat sessions for it to count as exercise. But don’t neglect the little ways you can get more movement in:
- If you’re off the clock and a destination is less than a mile away, walk instead of drive.
- Bring a bike on the road with you and use it around town.
- Carry your groceries out of the store instead of using a cart.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do squats or lunges when you have a few extra minutes.
Even small amounts of movement can add up throughout the week, and they count.
Don’t Forget About Stretching
Any time you’re outside of your vehicle, stretch!
Stretching keeps the muscles strong and flexible, improves range of motion, and helps prevent injury during workouts. This makes it a crucial companion to strength training and cardio workouts. You should also always stretch after a workout.
Stretching is recommended for everyone, but it’s especially important for those with a sedentary job like truck drivers. Muscle can become shorter and tighter with prolonged sitting and inactivity. Stretching helps loosen and lengthen, improving your workouts and protecting you from getting hurt.
If all you have is an extra five minutes or you get to the end of a day without exercise, you can always do some stretching. This wikiHow article covers some good stretches for all areas of the body. For the most benefit, hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Yoga is also a good stretching practice for road warriors that has strength and mindfulness benefits.
Practice Good Posture When Driving
Slouching is extremely common when driving, and it can put a lot of strain on your shoulders, neck, and back.
Thankfully, strength training can help you correct bad posture by strengthening your muscles. But you’ll want to practice good posture behind the wheel too.
Here are some tips for good driving posture:
- Position your seat as high up as it will go.
- Keep your elbow low and close to your body (not on the window or flared out).
- Keep your head and neck in line with your spine and in between your shoulders. Prevent your neck from slouching toward. Tuck your chin slightly.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your shoulders away from your ears. Hold this posture as long as you can to strengthen these muscles.
How to Stay Healthy on the Road When Eating
Now that we’ve covered the physical side of health and fitness on the road, let’s talk about some healthy eating tips.
Here are some ways to improve your diet while out on the road or traveling.
Invest in a Mini Fridge or Cooler
Either of these is great for transporting fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, dairy or non-dairy milk, and lean meats you can use for meals and snacks. Fresh is always better than packaged and gives you more healthy options.
Shop Smart at Gas Stations
When you’re in between towns and gas stations are your main stops, look for healthier options you can grab like:
- Fresh fruits: most places will at least have bananas and apples, and many have pre-cut fruits too.
- Fresh veggies: some gas stations will have pre-cut veggies like carrots and celery.
- Popcorn: look for ones without butter and seasoned with sea salt.
- Jerky: stick with traditional style and avoid flavours with lots of sugar.
- Trail mix with just nuts and dried fruit, preferably unsalted and without added sugar.
- Nuts: raw, unsalted.
- Snack bars: but only those with real ingredients like Larabars, Kind Bars, and RXBARs.
Be Prepared with Your Own Snacks
Food deserts can leave you with little to choose from except the Podunk fast food options or measly gas stations for miles and miles. If you know you’re going through an area with minimal options, try to prep your own healthy snacks setting out.
Healthy snacks for truck drivers include:
- Fruits, especially portable fruits like apples, bananas, and pears.
- Portable veggies like carrots and celery. As mentioned above, you can often buy these pre-cut at gas stations and grocery stores.
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews.
- Trail mix with unsweetened dried fruit and unsalted nuts.
- Low-sugar granola with unsweetened Greek yogurt and berries
Bring a Slow Cooker
If you want an easy way to make healthy meals from literally anywhere, use a slow cooker. Throw in some vegetables, meats or other proteins, and water. By the end of the day, you’ll have a meal ready to eat.
Search online for simple slow cooker meals that require little prep and have healthy ingredients. You shouldn’t have to look for long.
Have Some Oatmeal
Oatmeal is filling, fiber-rich, and very quick and easy to prepare. All you need is the oatmeal, a microwave or heating unit, and water. You can also add a variety of things to oatmeal, giving you many options.
Dried fruit, peanut butter, blueberries, cinnamon, and healthy sweeteners like stevia are all great in cooked oatmeal.
Batch Cook Weekly Staples
A big reason we turn to less-nutritious options like fast food and sweets is a lack of other options when hungry!
Fix this problem by pre-cooking basic healthy foods in large quantities before you’re on the road. Some good things to batch cook include:
- Grains like brown rice, couscous or quinoa
- Beans and legumes like black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Chicken breast
- Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and sweet potatoes
- Whole grain pastas
You can pre-cook a big batch of these (in a slow cooker, instant pot, or on the stove or in an oven) for throwing together quick meals for the week. You’ll have something healthy at-hand all the time.
You can even portion out your meals for the week and simple reheat when it’s time to eat.
Use Spices Liberally
Healthy food can seem bland at least if you’re getting used to it. But good spices and seasonings make all the difference. Stock up on a bunch of no-salt spice blends like Mrs. Dash to add to your food.
Black pepper, turmeric, cumin, chilli powder, and lemon or lime juice are also good additions to most dishes. Play around with ones you enjoy the most, and keep them with you on the road.
Look for Places Without Drive-Thrus
In general, restaurants with drive-thrus are going to be lower quality and less healthy. Sit down or local restaurants are more likely to offer local ingredients and healthier options.
Be Extra Smart with Fast Food
You already know this: fast food is best avoided altogether. But when your career keeps you out on the road, you’re tempted by the golden arches more than most people.
Stick with the tips above and avoid fast food as much as you can. But if you’re in a situation where it’s your only option, find the best choice possible.
- Grilled instead of fried
- Smaller portions
- Salads or fruit slices over french fries
- Fresco style (Taco Bell)
- Ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauces on the side over creamy dressings
- Water or unsweetened tea over sodas
Many restaurants now include nutrition information for each meal, and some have them on the menus. Knowing the calorie, fat, protein, sodium, and fiber content of a meal can help you make a better choice.
Emphasize more vegetables and fruits, more fiber, more protein, and less saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates.
Have Your Coffee Black
If you use caffeine to stay awake during long driving hours, avoid the sugar. Have your coffee black or bring your own milk and stevia to add some flavour.
Cutting down on the sugar from sweetened coffee (and energy drinks, which are arguably worse) will prevent insulin spikes and extra calories.
Other Health Tips for On the Road
Remember, staying healthy is about more than just fitness and nutrition. Your overall well-being involves many factors like:
Sleep and exercise
A good sleep pattern can be hard when you’re on the road or traveling all the time—but it’s so important. Sleep lets your body rest and repair, and it helps you make good choices all throughout the day.
Exercise can help you get out of your cabin and actually feel tired at the end of your day. Listen to some calming music, practice deep breathing, and try to avoid anything stimulating right before bed.
Invest in a Good Seat Cushion
If you spend most of your time driving, you need to be comfortable doing it. That includes a good seat cushion. It will make your journeys more pleasant, and a good seat can help prevent back issues and other problems related to sitting for long periods.
Use Your Idle Time Wisely
Take advantage of little periods of downtime. Listen to a self-development podcast, do bodyweight exercises or jumping jacks, or take a moment to feel gratitude for your life. A healthy life starts with a good mindset.
Lastly, Have a Realistic Mindset About Health
Making changes to your health can be overwhelming. Start small.
Don’t try to do everything at once. That could mean the goal of 15-20 minute exercises per day or one vegetable-rich meal per day. And when that becomes doable, you can progress to more.
Celebrate every victory, no matter how small.
Don’t Think in Black and White
Many people give up after one setback because they feel like a failure. But this is all-or-nothing perfectionist thinking, and it’s not helping.
Be flexible and open to mistakes and setbacks, but also know they won’t derail your long-term plan. Think of the big picture: you wanting to stay healthy on the road. If you “fall off the wagon,” take some deep breaths and get back on with the next meal or exercise opportunity. Recommit and move forward.If things feel overwhelming, get back to the basics. Simple workouts (like a Gorilla Bow routine), basic healthy meals and snacks, staying hydrated, getting rest as much as you can. That’s the root of how to stay healthy on the road.
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