How to Make Health and Fitness a Priority While on the Road

by Fran Bernard, on Aug 8, 2023 3:52:00 PM


Staying healthy and fit when you work a lot is already a huge challenge for most people. Whether sitting behind a desk or, for truck drivers, who spend their days seated in one position for hours at a time and the next day do it all over again.

It is quite challenging to stay fit while on the road almost every day. Frequent and regular exercise can help both body and mind and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. The secret is that the drivers don’t need a full gym or endless hours to remain active. It can seem almost impossible, but many veteran truckers have figured out the tips and tricks to combat the health challenges their job presents.

The image of a trucker in America is that of an individual that sits all day in their truck, hauling cargo across the country, and sometimes this stereotype is true. What is also true is that every physical activity, regardless of difficulty, boosts your fitness. You should always condition your body through warm-up exercises first.

According to Mayo Clinic, warming up removes muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the target muscle groups. Apart from that, warming up opens your lungs for aerobic activities by jolting your cardiovascular system into action. If you want to ease into other, more demanding activities, warming up prepares your body and muscles for it.

Everyday warm-up activities include jogging in place, sprints, jumping jacks, and power walks. You don’t need to have access to a treadmill; a quick run for a few minutes till you break a sweat does wonders. 

Windmills are also important for warming up the arms and upper body muscles. By swinging your arms over and over — aim for 100 reps but listen to your body and don’t overdo it — you will remove tightness in the joints and get the body ready for action. 

For anyone to stay fit, you need to make a conscious effort to carve out time to move or exercise every day (even just 15 minutes). You just need to make you a priority, find time every single day. If you start each day with exercise, even just a brisk walk, you’ve already won and won’t need to stress about making time for it later when your schedule becomes more unpredictable.  

Running is an excellent cardio workout for truckers because it helps you exercise all muscle groups in your body. If you run 2-4 miles every day (15-30 minutes), your body will maintain a toned shape. That may seem like an unattainable obstacle at first, but starting slow and steady is key — literally walk before you run, as the saying goes, and start with a mile, then two, and so forth.  

And if you don’t want to get away from your truck, you can run around it and use it as a mini track. By going around the truck 30 times, you’ll cover the equivalent of 1 mile. Again, you can power-walk the same distance if you don’t want to run — the main ingredient here is movement, and some is better than none.

If walking isn’t your thing, try biking. It’s a lot more fun, low impact, and is great at burning calories and building tendon and joint strength in your knees.

Career truckers prefer folding models under 35 pounds so they can stow easily in the cab. 

There are plenty of compact, space-saving exercise accessories you can store easily in the cab; more than enough to get an awesome workout.


If you’re serious about making time (30 minutes a day or one hour a few times per week), consider bringing along: 

A yoga mat

Any basic yoga or exercise mat will do. Lay it out in the cab, if you have space, or out in the grass so you can do push-ups, crunches, planks, and more. 

Adjustable dumbbells

You can get an incredible full-body workout with just a pair of dumbbells (and very little space to move around). Bicep curls, shoulder press, skull crushers, goblet squats, and more are all on the table.

Resistance bands

For lower intensity workouts, a set of resistance bands can do wonders. They’re inexpensive, take up almost no room, and can help you work every muscle in your body, inside or outside the truck. You can use different strength bands for more of a challenge or modify your grip on the same bands for more resistance.


Kettlebell workouts help to build strength and endurance in your lower back, legs, and shoulders. Aside from the obvious perks (muscle building, cardio, flexibility, etc.), kettlebells are great because they are quick. Kettlebell swings are a favorite amongst truckers. This one simple movement works your back, shoulders, quads, and glutes. The Kettlebell is a very versatile piece of equipment.

Jump rope

Jumping rope requires a certain amount of athleticism and coordination to get started, but when you’re ready, a jump rope takes up zero room in your truck and can scorch calories at an extremely efficient rate. Ten minutes of jumping rope can roughly be considered the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile.

Portable Pull-Up Bar

Bring along your adjustable bars for morning and evening pull-ups. Hook both ends to the doors and adjust them to fit. 


You likely don’t need any specialized workout or weightlifting gloves, though they can help, but you’ll want something to cover your hands if you choose to do push-ups or other bodyweight exercises outside of the cab. 

Many truckers feel it is important to find time to walk (or run if you’re up for it) several times per week. Just getting up and moving your legs can help combat the effects of sitting all day, promote blood flow and circulation, and burn enough calories to keep you trim and fit. 

While you’re driving here are a few exercises you can do. However, BE SAFE and always stay focused on the road.

Hand stretches – Move your wrists and hands as often as you’re able. Rotate your wrists to keep the blood flowing. You can also squeeze a tennis ball with one hand to promote grip and forearm strength. Stress balls can be used for this too. They reduce overall stress and anxiety. They distress the hands and build strength and flexibility in the hands. Stress balls also help prevent the development of hypertension and possible heart disease. They are safe and can very effectively be used to help to relieve anxiety and tension in the hands and shoulders.

Stress balls are used by just squeezing them rhythmically.

Shoulders shrugs & rolls – Loosen up your shoulders by shrugging them up, holding, then releasing. Also try rolling your shoulders in a circle from back to front.

Neck rolls – Gently roll your neck in a circular motion, 360 degrees. This will stretch and alleviate tension in those muscles while promoting blood flow. Truck Drivers Reveal How They Stay Fit On The Road - Trusty Spotter

Exercise can contribute to more sound and restful sleep. Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. 

Exercise releases serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline which are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy and putting you in a better mood. 

It seems logical to assume that exercise would drain your energy and make you tired, but it literally creates energy in your body. The body rises to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger. It all begins with mitochondria. Located in our cells, they work like tiny power plants to produce energy.

Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells. They are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies circulate more rapidly, so they can detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. 

Exercise also increases blood flow, gets the heart pumping blood throughout the body faster, and helps flush the blood through the arteries.

When exercising regularly, the bone adapts by building more bone and becoming denser. Best Exercises For Truck Drivers To Stay Fit On The Road (

Breathe - Unlike full-on cardio routines, breathing exercises only focus on airflow into the body. You don’t need any equipment for this workout; you just need to breathe in and out. While aerobic exercises decrease stress levels in the body (and you should do them), so does focused breathing. When hauling loads over long distances, you can do deep breathing behind the wheel. And you can always park your truck and do breathing exercises before continuing the journey. 

Also, to stay healthy, you may want a seat cushion. There is a huge variety of pillows that are designed for various diseases. Choose the best truck driver seat cushion that's right for you. Truck Driver Exercises: On the Road Workout Plan (

Journaling is another good way to keep track of food and exercise. Keeping a diary allows truck drivers to identify unhealthy eating and workout habits. If they notice a pattern in their eating and exercise, they can make changes.  

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to the well-being of a truck driver. The hours behind the wheel can be long and exhausting. To combat these challenges, truck drivers can download apps on their phones that can help them keep a healthy lifestyle. Also, make sure to get adequate sleep each night. While most people don’t prioritize sleep, truck drivers should make time for it to rejuvenate their bodies and keep their minds alert. 


Aside from exercise, you can also keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water regularly can help you stay alert while on the road. It is recommended to consume at least 64 ounces of water per day. Many health problems have been attributed to dehydration. Despite your thirst, your body does not signal you to drink water until it is dangerously dehydrated. Always keep a bottle of water nearby to replenish your body’s fluids.

Another way to stay fit while on the road is to make sure that you take short breaks every few hours. This will help you maintain healthy habits and keep your mind busy. Try to stay in touch with your family and friends.

When one spends as much time inside of a truck as a professional driver does, choosing an outdoor exercise method can help you get some fresh air while moving your body.

If you find yourself seeking some additional inspiration or structure when it comes to staying fit as a truck driver, exercise apps may be exactly what you need to get moving. Not only do they offer workout plans and technology to track your progress, but they also provide helpful wellness benefits to incorporate into your routine.

Here are some free popular fitness apps:

Truck Driver Health & Fitness: How to Stay Fit as a Truck Driver - Swift Transportation

Your next trip doesn’t have to derail your fitness goals. If you travel with your phone, you have access to a great workout right in the palm of your hand. Here are some additional apps for working out on the road. 

Track your daily water consumption with My Water Balance. It will adjust based on your activity, climate, and the other beverages you are consuming.  

To get the most out of your run, check out the Nike Run Club app. It’s an easy way to track the distance and pace of your runs, and it will let you know when you hit milestones like your fastest mile. It also has built-in training plans, an option to work with a run coach, and a feature where you can compete with your friends.  

The C25K app guides new runners from their couch to their first 5K in just under nine weeks. The program does a good job of easing people into running by slowly building up distance and time.

The Down Dog app has more than 30,000 different configurations, so you can build a yoga practice that works best for you.  

With the MINDBODY app, you can book fitness classes just about anywhere in the world. Class types will vary based on where you are, but examples include strength classes, Pilates, yoga, and barre. The app has a built-in calendar, so you can see your workout schedule. 

The 7 Minute Workout app is a great solution for those who have a busy schedule. There’s a reason it’s rated the #1 fitness app in 127 countries. It’s quick, easy to use, and will get your heart pumping. The workouts are full body and don’t require equipment, so you can do them anywhere your travels take you.

If you already have an established weight-lifting plan, use the JeFit app to stay on track both at home and when you travel. Best Fitness Apps in 2019 for Travel (

No one said staying in great shape as a truck driver would be easy. But plenty of folks before you have figured out how to optimize their schedule and make small choices every day that led to better health and fitness.

If you’re just getting started, make a simple change like ditching sugary drinks and walking for just 15 minutes per day. That’s all it takes to make health and fitness a priority!

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Topics:Life on the RoadHealth and Wellness

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