Stress is something in life that is almost always unavoidable, especially in the trucking industry where unpredictability is a common theme. Truckers are constantly fighting bad weather, distracted drivers, dealing with difficult shipping and receiving personnel as well as unrealistic deadlines, all of which cause some truck driver stress. Not only does stress cause the calmest person to become impatient and frustrated, but also affects your body and the way it functions!
Stress is your body’s way of dealing with any change that requires a response. Stress becomes a negative thing when while facing constant daily challenges, you don’t take time to relax and unwind. Stress can have a tremendous effect on your body and you might not even realize it.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of stress:
Elevated blood pressure
Chest pain & shortness of breath
Anxiety and depression
If you are currently battling an illness or have a pre-existing condition then stress can make the situation even worse.
Besides getting extra rest, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to help reduce and manage your stress levels. Any exercise ranging from high impact cardio to yoga can help you reduce the negative effect stress has on your body.
Here are some ways in which regular physical activity helps reduce the effects of stress:
It pumps up the production of endorphins, your brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitters. This is often referred to as the “runners high”.
It gives you a better outlook on managing your circumstances and helps you forget the day’s minor frustrations.
It improves your overall mood, self-confidence and sense of well-being.
It helps lower symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
It improves your quality of sleep.
There is no question that adding physical activity into your daily routine is a plus. Along with helping to relive and manage stress, you will have more energy, self-confidence, feel stronger and have a more positive attitude.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Build up your fitness level gradually. You don’t want to overdo it and hurt yourself.
Do something you enjoy like running, swimming, biking, weight training or yoga. If you like what you’re doing, you have a better chance at sticking to it for the long haul.
Make the time. This is a hard one, especially in the trucking industry. As I said before, if you have to break your exercise time into smaller intervals to fit them in, then do it!
Stick with it. Some tools to help you stick with a routine are setting goals for yourself, connect with friends to help motivate each other and change up your workouts to keep it interesting.
I hope these tips help you to have a better understanding of how stress affects your body and the benefits of incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. As always, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down and make healthy choices! Author: Derek McClain. This article was originally featured on The Healthy Trucker. Image source #1 (and thumbnail): https://www.flickr.com/photos/senoranderson/ Image source #2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelloudon/