How to Stay Healthy as a Truck Driver

Published Date: 3/30/2023

Updated Date: 5/31/2023

How to maintain your health as a professional truck driver 

As leaders within the professional transportation industry for over 60 years, we’ve been lucky enough to learn a lot about staying healthy on the road from our talented drivers.  

Between the physical effects of long-distance driving and the side effects of being a truck driver on mental health, we strongly advocate for Swift Drivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle above all else.  

To make this easier, we've compiled a list of simple tips and tricks to help truck driving professionals maintain a healthier lifestyle on the road that are relevant for both the most experienced drivers and trainees, alike.  

Ways to prevent the physical effects of long-distance driving 

If you’re a truck driving professional, you’re likely familiar with the physical toll the line of work can have on your body and the impact it could ultimately have on your career.  

Though life on the road offers exciting opportunities for travel and professional growth, it is important to consider the physical health risks truck drivers face and equip yourself with ways to prevent them. 

To ensure optimal health and job security, it is critical to put your wellness first by prioritizing more than just diet and exercise in order to combat the potential dangers of long-distance driving. Continue reading to learn more about how to stay healthy as a truck driver. 

Healthy diet 

It can be difficult to know how to eat healthy as a truck driver but it really comes down to making simple yet strategic food choices that suit your level of physical activity.  

This is an important lifestyle decision all professional drivers need to make, as truck drivers are twice as likely to experience obesity than other US workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

This can lead to serious health risks, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, which can disqualify you from receiving your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  

Stay hydrated 

A healthy diet starts with staying hydrated. Be sure to keep an ample supply of water on hand, travel with a reusable water bottle, and consider adding in electrolyte supplements to increase the benefits of hydration faster. 

Plan meals 

A great way to avoid the temptation of fast food or eating a king-size candy bar for breakfast is to plan out your meals before you report to work. This can include:  

  • Meal prepping healthy dishes to pack up and bring with you.  
  • Opting for a well-balanced meal replacement drink.
  • Picking up low-sodium frozen meals or canned soup to heat up.
  • Subscribing to an easily transportable meal delivery service.
Swift Transportation truck driver named Tiny, eating tacos he just made for himself outside his truck that reads, “Tiny’s Truck Café.”
Snack smart 

It is critical to avoid high-sugar and salty foods available at most truck stops. This can be easily prevented by stocking your truck cabin with healthy snacks like: 

  • Unsalted nuts or trail mix 
  • Low-sodium jerky 
  • Tuna pouches 
  • Protein shakes 
  • Granola bars 
  • Dried fruits 
  • Rice cakes  
  • Popcorn  



Exercise for truck drivers can be as simple as finding a way to move your body each day. From low impact yoga that can be done in a truck cabin to joining a gym with locations all over the country, finding an exercise routine that suits your specific needs is important to promote health and proper circulation. 

If you’re stuck on where to get started or asking yourself, “how do I stay fit as a truck driver”? Consider challenging yourself to a “lot lap” where you take a walk around the perimeter of a rest area each time you make a stop. Other travel-friendly exercise options include:  

  • Running 
  • Weights 
  • Jump rope 
  • Push ups 
  • Lunges 
  • Planks
  • Squats 


Ergonomic seats 

Another physical effect of long-distance driving stems from the amount of time spent seated and in proximity to Mechanical Vibration Exposure (MVE), which has been linked to lower back pain in professional drivers. This can lead to chronic pain, excessive muscle fatigue, and even nerve damage that can impact one's ability to perform driving duties.  

Finding an ergonomic seat for truck drivers can reduce vibrations that impact the spine over time that lead to MVE. An ergonomic seat can also support in improving: 

  • Stress levels 
  • Overall comfort
  • Concentration 
  • Circulation  


Compression socks 

As professional truck drivers can be impacted by health-related issues stemming from a lack of movement, compression socks aid in supporting their overall circulatory health with little effort.  

Regularly wearing compression socks has been proven to support in preventing blood clots while also promoting healthier overall circulation on the road. Compression socks can also support:  

  • Enhanced lymphatic drainage 
  • Maintaining blood flow 
  • Reducing swelling 
  • Alleviating pain 



A simple yet easily overlooked tip for staying healthy while on the road is to use sunscreen every day. Professional truck drivers are exposed to harmful UV rays for an extended period of time, which can cause skin damage and skin cancer. 

A proven way to protect yourself is to incorporate a 30+ SPF into your daily routine and wear longer sleeves whenever possible. Make sure you reapply your sunscreen regularly, especially on your left side, as it receives the most exposure while driving. 

Mental health tips for professional truck drivers 

It can be easy to only focus on the physical effects of long-distance driving and forget about the equally important impact a long-haul lifestyle can have on mental health.  

From being away from your routine at home to sleeping in unfamiliar locations: it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting enough rest, staying connected with loved ones, and checking in on your overall mental wellness.  

As mental health has become more of a widely considered safety component within the trucking industry, we have put together some points of consideration to support professional drivers in getting started with protecting their own mental health.

Swift Transportation truck drivers at Driver Appreciation Week event speaking with a wellness instructor about health

How to protect your mental health as a truck driver 

Remote Therapy 

The life of a professional truck driver is incredibly rewarding but can also be physically and mentally demanding. This can be the result of long driving shifts, disrupted sleeping patterns, social isolation, stress levels, or fatigue.  

It has been found that several truck driving professionals suffer from some form of depression or anxiety. This makes mental health resources, like remote therapy, more important than ever to consider.  

Remote therapy can be completed from wherever you are by phone or online and is likely available through your company’s healthcare provider. At Swift, we offer an Employee Assistance Program with free, 24/7, confidential counseling services for personal/family issues, financial issues, and legal advice. This service is available to Swift employees and their family members by calling 888-76-SWIFT. 

Staying Connected 

It has been found that truck drivers struggle with loneliness. This is likely due to the isolation that comes along with professional driving and the amount of time spent away from home.  

Finding a way to regularly connect with friends and family could support in combating feelings of isolation. This can be accomplished by scheduling regular check-ins or simply creating a group chat with those closest to you to share updates from the road.  

If you’re new to staying connected while at work, the following apps can help turn a regular call into a game night to remember: 

If you’re a Swift driver, stay connected to other company drivers by joining our Facebook Driver Group. Here you can ask questions, share tips, and stay up to date on company fleet announcements.  

Creating Routine 

Though Swift offers drivers dedicated routes, working from the road can make it challenging to create a healthy daily routine.  

Between ever changing climates and unfamiliar surroundings, finding stability in the things within your control can have a major impact on your overall mental health and support in building a valuable sense of normalcy.  

Start out by creating a morning routine that can be accomplished from the comfort of your truck cabin and is not dependent on a specific location. This morning routine could include: 

  • Stretching 
  • Exercising
  • Drinking water
  • Having coffee
  • Taking vitamins
  • Eating breakfast 
  • Selecting snacks 
  • Preparing meals
  • Calling home 
Sleep Habits  

Getting quality sleep is incredibly important for truck driving safety and overall mental health but can be difficult to come by. From noisy neighbors to uncomfortable bedding, it can be helpful to consider the details that can ensure a restful night of sleep.  

Along with avoiding caffeine and excessive screen time before bed, keep the following tips in mind when planning your rest: 

  • Location: Find a safe yet quiet place to park. 
  • Light: Close curtains and shades before winding down. 
  • Sound: Use a fan or noise machine to minimize distractions.
  • Temperature: Make sure your cabin temperature is aligned with your preference.
  • Comfort: Outfit your sleeper with the bedding needed to get a good night of sleep. 

Become a truck driving professional with Swift 

Though life on the road has its natural challenges, the pros far outweigh the cons – especially with Swift Transportation.  

From health insurance to work-life-balance, choosing a respected career with Swift can open the road to financial security, new experiences, and exciting career advancement opportunities.  

Whether you’re seasoned with CDL Experience or new to the industry: We want to hear from you!

The Author

Swift Marketing

Swift Transportation is the Nation's #1 full truckload carrier. Swift offers Driving careers in our Linehaul, Refrigerated, Flatbed, Intermodal, Teams, and Dedicated divisions.