More than 1.7 million Americans drive tractor-trailers or heavy trucks for a living, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this popular career path is anticipated to grow by 11% between now and 2022. Working as a trucker has numerous perks, including a generous salary and the chance to explore your state -- or even the entire country -- when you're on the clock. The downfall is that you may spend long hours sitting behind the wheel, which can lead to exhaustion or tense muscles. Keep your mind sharp and your body energized by taking brief breaks to perform these 3 exercises during each shift.
Many stretches require folks to lay on their back or side, but those are not ideal positions for someone who may not have a plush mat or carpeted area to lay on. Luckily, there are some standing stretches that help prevent low back pain, a condition which affects numerous truck drivers. When you have a few extra minutes, pull over to a rest stop and exit your vehicle. When you are ready, here's what you should do:
- Place your arms flat at your sides
- Make sure that each foot is directly below the shoulder on the same side or as close as you can get to that location without causing discomfort
- Lower your left shoulder slightly and lean toward the left with your right trunk, holding your hand over your head in a backwards "C" as you do so
- Hold for several seconds (or longer if you wish)
- Repeat with the opposite side of your body
Perform this exercise at least once a day. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before attempting standing stretches or any of the other exercises in this article. Your doctor will let you know if it is safe for you to exercise.
When you lean over a steering wheel for several hours in a row, your pecs may become tense or sore. Strengthen your pectoral muscles by doing a simple yet effective exercise that requires no special equipment. All you need is a wall -- or even your truck. Here's how you do a pectoral stretch using the inside of your truck as a base:
- Place your palms on two different spots in your truck, such as on the door and on the adjoining wall. The middle of the two connecting areas should be lined up with the center of your body, and there should be several inches between you and the walls.
- Keep your legs pressed together and your heels on the ground as you lean forward toward the walls, holding your palms firmly in place as you bend
- Move back a few inches and repeat the moves above
- Continue moving backwards until you can no longer perform the exercise comfortably
Driving long distances can also affect your neck. Even if your neck feels fine, you may notice that your shoulders ache or your fingers and wrists are tingly. These are all symptoms of a neck that is out of whack. Try this quick, gentle stretch to help soothe sore neck muscles:
- Lean your head toward your left shoulder, holding in place for up to 30 seconds. Your cheek should be pointed toward your shoulder.
- Lean your head toward your right shoulder, again holding in place for 30 seconds.
This exercise can be done sitting down or standing up. If you wish to sit down, you can grip the bottom of your thighs for support as you lean your head toward your shoulder.
Ensure that you're physically and mentally prepared for each trucking shift by performing the exercises above. If you're between jobs and miss traveling the open road, visit a temporary employment agency. Temp agencies have information about in-demand CDL jobs and can help you find one that's an excellent fit for your lifestyle and goals.
Visit a site like http://www.montustaffing.com/ for more information on CDL jobs.