Fleet Managers – Could a Driver Health Coach Help?

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It’s that time of year again. We’ve talked about it before. Truck driver health. Right NOW is the time to be thinking about it. But don’t just stop at the thinking, consider the DOING as well.

A recent transportation industry report shows 21 percent of drivers who left the field in recent years did so for health reasons. When you look at your fleet, do you see potential health concerns coming down the line? Now ask yourself this – how do you think your drivers would feel if you did something about it? I mean really show that you truly cared about their well being.

It’s no secret that trucking is a generally unhealthy profession. Around 70 percent of truck drivers are obese and many are at high risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. And, of course, a lot of it starts with the sheer number of hours spent in the sitting position. But could another big piece of it simply be lack of education?

Truck Driver HealthTrucker Health Programs

More and more trucking companies are considering health programs. One company is even taking it so far as to hire a coach for the company’s health and fitness program. The thought behind it all is to have someone, or a group of people, standing behind the drivers providing them with the education and accountability they need.

Siphiwe Baleka, is a highly energetic former swimming champion in his mid-40s. After pursuing his athletic dreams, he turned to trucking for a new career. Soon he found that trucking was taking its toll on him and he’d gained 15 pounds.

Determined to make a change, he started trying different workout routines and diets while out on the road. He finally found a winning combination with a routine that combines a low-carb, high-protein diet with short bursts of high-intensity exercise.

Today, he’s tasked with helping to remotely coach around 3,000 drivers at his company. He provides both in-person educational sessions as well as phone call check-ins. But most importantly, he’s accessible to the company drivers when the going gets tough. It could be weather or just a rough week trying to derail their journey and Baleka does his best to get them back on track.

Evaluating Your Fleet’s Health

So, as you look at your fleet today it may be worth considering if an improvement in health and wellness could mean happier, more productive drivers. If so, getting the ball rolling with some type of fitness challenge or offering educational resources could go a long way in an industry that’s typically demanding more and offering less.

For more on Siphiwe Baleka’s story, read the complete article on NPR.org here.

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