February is American Heart Month, and it’s no secret that most Americans are not getting an adequate amount of exercise. This is posing a pretty big problem, as exercise is a key component to maintaining a healthy heart. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of heart-pumping physical activity per week. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 adults are actually getting that amount of exercise per week, and for truckers, that number is even lower because of all the stationary time spent while driving. Exercise is doable though—even when you’re on the road! You can start living a heart-healthy life by adding some of the following exercises to your day the next time you’re on a long haul!
1. Do some bodyweight exercises
The simplest exercises you can do to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping are some bodyweight exercises. Set your phone timer for 30-35 minutes and do as many squats, planks, jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups as you can in a circuit-style workout at least 5 times a week. Make sure that between each exercise, you give yourself a little break before jumping into the next one. Start with a minute break between each set, and eventually try and lower those breaks to about 30 seconds between sets. If you need a little guidance, try a workout app that can guide you through these moves. A great one that is easy to use is Workout Trainer by Skimble. Or if you want a trucker-specific app, Iron Trucker is a perfect app that shows you workouts you can do anytime, anywhere (P.S. both apps are free!).
2. Dance it out
Who said a workout has to be boring?! You can get in an amazing cardio workout by simply grooving to your favorite tunes. While a cab doesn’t exactly lend itself to big movements, the parking lot does. Grab your favorite trucking buddy or just dance it out by yourself! You can find all kinds of fun dance routines on YouTube, or you can even take free Zumba (a Latin-based, dance-inspired workout) classes by visiting the Zumba website.
3. Step it up
A great way to add some heart-healthy movement into your day is to simply lace up those tennis shoes and get outside! Get a pedometer or a fitness tracker to keep up with your daily steps. Aim for between 8,000 and 10,000 steps a day for optimal health benefits—there’s no need to overdo it! And you don’t have to park anywhere special to get in that walk or run—just lapping your entire cab and trailer 32 times equals a mile.
4. Pull out the weights
While there’s not a lot of storage space in your cab, you probably have enough room for a kettlebell and a set of hand weights. You can even do weightlifting inside the comfort of your cab, especially if you’re focusing on arm workouts. And while you may believe that cardiovascular workouts are better for heart health than resistance workouts, the research shows that resistance exercise leads to a longer-lasting drop in blood pressure after exercise compared to aerobic exercise. There’s a great app that you can get right on your phone called Weightlifting App that helps you create workouts and track your progress over time.
5. Just jump
Jumping rope is a wonderful exercise if you’re looking for a solid cardiovascular workout—and the best part is that a jump rope is easy to store in your truck. While getting started may take a little practice at first, once you get a strong foundation on how to jump rope properly, you can burn up to 170 calories every 10 minutes (or roughly 1,000 jumps). But the real goal here is to keep your heart rate in a moderate intensity zone. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. The target heart rate for moderate-intensity physical activity is 64–76% of your maximum heart rate.
Just because your career may lend itself to long stretches of sitting doesn’t mean you can’t live a heart-healthy life! Striving for physical activity each day will help you take the first step toward becoming the healthiest version of yourself that you can be! For more information about living well and improving your health while on the road, check out our podcast Shift Into Better Healthy by clicking here today.