10 Tips for a Functional Body

Did you know that there are over 7 million truck drivers on our roads? Sadly, truckers are one of the unhealthiest populations in our country. The long work hours, little to no time to rest or stretch throughout the day, and the obvious requirement of sitting for long hours on end do not help matters much. These forces work against drivers maintaining a functional body, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yoga has been around for nearly 5,000 years. Yoga is comprised of different poses that help different parts of the body. Most people start to incorporate yoga, or other mindful movements, into their daily routine in order to benefit themselves both mentally and physically. 

It isn’t a secret that life on the road as a trucker isn’t easy. Deadlines quickly become the priority and your health and overall well-being takes a backseat. BUT you don’t need a gym or a yoga studio to stay healthy. There are many things that you can do to help keep your body functional and healthy while on the road. 

Here are 4 changes you can start to make today to start living life on the healthier side of the highway. Get a functional body in no time!

 

1. Do Something While You Are Driving!

 

Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Safety should ALWAYS be your #1 priority. However, if you can multitask while driving I encourage you to do it. Get the most out of the time you have by utilizing hand weights, resistance bands or mindful breathing exercises while driving. Better yet, tune into Mother Trucker Yoga’s Yoga in Seat Guided Audio that guides you through simple exercises to help keep your body and mind limber, happy and healthy while on the road.

 

2. Move

 

How many trucks have ever considered yoga? Probably not many. It’s ok–believe it or not, I’m not shocked. However, yoga is for everyone–truckers included. Truck drivers sit all day, have limited movement opportunities, incur broken sleep patterns, and have added stressors that continually take a toll on their bodies. There are also limited resources available to them to make the changes they know they need to make. Incorporating yoga movements will help you to increase wholeness and wellness. If you are looking for a starting point, the Mother Trucker Yoga Online Studio only costs $7.99/month and you will receive professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes accessible wherever you go. 

 

3. Shed Your Shoes

 

After a long day on the road, take off your shoes! Our bodies are like rubber bands; the tighter a rubber band gets on one end, the more it will pull on the other end. If our fascia becomes stiff, the more we feel that sticky stiffness in our bodies. So what I’m saying is: if your hips are tight, your feet will react, and if your feet are tight, your hips will react. Get the point? So in the end, shed those shoes! And if you suffer from foot pain, know that pain relief is not far.

 

4. Strengthen Your Core

 

Your core muscles to help support you in everything that you do. Strengthening your core helps to improve your posture, decreases lower back pain, and improves your overall stability and posture. As the creator of the Core Functional Fitness Program, I have over a decade of experience teaching and practicing functionally fit exercise. 

 

Making these small changes today will lead to a lifetime of benefits, both physically and mentally. Don’t waste any more time–start today and work on your functional body!

 

Here are some other great resources to help you get started:

Smart Ass Core 20 Minute Workout Video

Attention Truckers: Step It Up with Interval Walking

Pelvic Tilts: Best Move for Truckers with Back Pain

7 Little Changes Drivers Can Make To Improve Their Health

4 Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Truck Drivers Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

4 Tips To Start Eating Healthy Today

Eating healthy in today’s world seems to be similar to solving a complicated murder mystery with multiple conflicting witnesses.

The people over here say this.

The people over there say that.

The people up in front are saying no to both the above and claiming that simply thinking good thoughts about your food is good enough. (Insert humor here)

I like to think I am a simple person in that the more someone makes something complicated, the more I actually don’t want to follow their advice. Have you ever been there?

Coming from an eating disorder food was a HUGE DEAL. I mean we kinda need it to survive, it’s fuel, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying it. HOWEVER…too much of a good thing truly is too much of a good thing.

Today I want to encourage you, no matter where you are, to start small. Let’s not go and try to move the biggest most HUGE-NORMOUS moutnain in front of you today. Were just yesterday you were not even prepared to pack a bag for the big climb.

Instead, how about we take this one step at a time. Build momentum and ride the wave of little successes turning into big ones.

Here are my 4 Tips to Start Eating Healthy Today:

  1. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Yes, you heard me, just slow down. Studies show that your eating pace DOES play tribute to how much weight you will put on. Fast eaters are 115% more likely to be obese than slow eaters. – YIKES!
  2. Drink More Water. You have heard this 9 million, 700 thousand, 41 times already. But if you still aren’t drinking your adequate supply then it might be time to consider this to be the mountain to climb. People who consume adequate water each day consume 200 less calories per day than those who don’t. And you didn’t even have to “diet” to do that. Score! Not to mention that those who drink more water tend to burn more calories per day than those who don’t.
  3. Try At Least One New Healthy Recipe…each time you hit the road with your next haul. Yes, there is a little bit of preparation involved. But when you have some skin in the game you are more likely to follow through. Living on the road is complicated at times, but with a little preparation- YOU CAN DO THIS. We often choose unhealthy foods when we feel frustrated, lonely, and in a pinch. Diffuse the situation before it happens, and drive prepared. If you haven’t yet, try the InstaCart App and have groceries delivered to you even at the truck stop!
  4. Eat Your Greens First. Did you know that eating greens before your carbs has been shown to have a positive affect on your blood sugar levels? You can take that information right to your plate. Eating your greens is one simple step on the eating healthy train we all can take together.

I want to encourage you to not let your mind over complicate this. Weight-loss may be your goal. But you didn’t get to where you were overnight. This was a process that likely took years. So be kind to yourself and let’s create new habits that will last you the rest of your life. Truck driver or not, the food isn’t the problem, it’s our relationship with it. Let’s change how we look at food. Buy food. Prepare food. And put food into our bodies.

Mother Trucker Yoga believes in small simple changes. Those changes when done correctly can and will make a huge impact on the rest of your life. Mainly because you will be doing them for the rest of your life. Let your relationship with food be no different. Eating healthy does not need to be complicated. Make sure you aren’t the one complicating it.

 

StayFit Days with Hope Zvara and TA Petro

StayFit Days with TA Petro and Mother Trucker Yoga

StayFit this year! 2020 is here and we are sure goals for this year are rolling alongside the new decade! Mother Trucker Yoga together with TA Petro want to help you reach them by coming to you.

We at Mother Trucker Yoga would like to invite you to join our CEO Hope Zvara as she joins TA Petro as their 2020 StayFit Ambassador for the new year!

What does this mean?

It means Hope is coming to you at various TA Petro tuck stop locations throughout 2020 offering one-to-one coaching and various trucker fitness centered workshops. And these offerings are 100% free.

“At Mother Trucker Yoga we believe that this is a step in the right direction. These truck stops have fitness amenities and they are under utilized. I believe you don’t get to complain about not having options if you aren’t using the options in front of you. But at the same time recognize the frustration when you don’t know where to start, and feel overwhelmed or even embarrassed (as many usually won’t admit) when it comes to taking advantage of these offerings.” – Hope Zvara, CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga

Join Hope for an hour workshop or hang out with her all day! You decide!

  • Wondering about the best food choices?
  • What exercises in the fitness center to start with?
  • What you can do to get rid of that pain in your butt, back or neck?
  • How to stretch?
  • Stress Relief?
  • What exercises you can do in your truck? She’s got you covered!
  • TA Petro and there StayFit programming offers you- the driver opportunities to improve your health. TA Petro has more than 20 locations with fitness centers and 120 sites with mapped walking trails.

StayFit Fitness Rooms are free to use for any driver. The following equipment is available for drivers any time of day:

  • Elliptical cross-trainer;
  • Recumbent bike;
  • Dual adjustable pulley resistance equipment or an adjustable sit-up board;
  • Weight scale;
  • Folding gym mat;
  • Shelving unit for storage of gym bags while working out; and
  • Wall-mount TVs and fans.

Mark your calendars for the next upcoming StayFit Days TA Petro locations Hope will be at during the first quarter of 2020.

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 – Petro Wilmington #402

—–StayFit 1-Hour Workshops: 10am & 4:30pm

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 – TA Las Vegas #108

—–SayFit 1-Hour Workshops: 12pm & 5pm

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 – Petro Ontario #026

—–StayFit 1-Hour Workshops: 9am & 5pm

Share this Flyer HERE

These workshops and offerings are 100% FREE to drivers!

We hope to see you there!

BreakTime Health and Wellness Discussion with Mother Trucker Yoga

BreakTime: Fitness Time with Hope Zvara

Have you heard? RoadPro Family of Brands has kicked off a drivers only private forum (chat room) where truck drivers can come ask questions, answer questions and hang out with fellow drivers in a virtual setting. This isn’t a place to complain or post rude comments, but rather a place for drivers to motivate one another, give and receive great information, take fun quizzes and win free products and swag.

RoadPro launched this online offering back at GATS (Great American Truck Show) back in August 2019 inviting drivers to come and join.

“I love the idea of BreakTime for truck drivers as it gives those who may not be on Facebook a place to connect with other drivers and say up to date on what is going on. I know I am not a driver and never claim to be one. However with nearly 20 years in the fitness and yoga world and a traveler myself, I get it. I grew up around the trades, and had drivers, family members of drivers and company owners of trucking outfits all as students over the 14 years I owned and operated a yoga studio in my home town. I have a real passion for helping drivers and am excited to help inside BreakTime. My expertise is movement, fitness, and lifestyle. My focus is making it super-duper easy, accessible, quick and fun.” -Hope Zvara

Ask questions, gain insights, inspiration and a kick in the pants to start your health and fitness journey over the road alongside Mother Trucker Yoga and Hope. Have back pain? Neck pain? Stressed? Can’t sleep? Wondering where to start? Hope will answer all those questions and more. But for now you can check out one of Mother Trucker Yoga and Hope’s recent blog posts all about back pain.

On Tuesday, January 14th 2020 at 7pm EST

(6pm CST, 5pm MST, 4pm PST)

Come join Hope Zvara, CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga for a private chat, Q & A and some fun giveaways inside BreakTime.

To join it’s fast and easy, no need to give your blood type, your first born child or take out a small loan (insert humor) it’s FREE to drivers.

At Mother Trucker Yoga we hope you come join in on the fun over at BreakTime with Hope. There are already questions posted waiting for your comments in BreakTime for Tuesday nights chat!

See you there!

BreakTime Chat with Mother Trucker Yoga

Meditation for Truckers

Benefits of Meditation — And Simple Ways To Start Meditating

When your profession demands for you to be on the road for the majority of the year, your physical and mental health can take a turn for the worst. As previously mentioned on the Mother Trucker Yoga blog, “while out on the road, movement can be limited and stress can be high.”

Thankfully, Mother Trucker Yoga has brought mobility and good health back in drivers’ lives. But if you would like to practice another stress-relieving method in addition to our easy workouts, consider adding meditation to your daily routine.

You might be asking yourself, why choose meditation? Can’t I just take deep breaths whenever I feel stressed? Though a post on Pain-Free Working indicates that simple breathing exercises could temporarily alleviate stress, practicing meditation strengthens the mind to cultivate inner peace and improve mental well-being in the long run.

The Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are limitless, and given the sedentary lifestyle of truckers, there’s a lot that can be gained. The road is long and lonely, and it can negatively affect your state of mind and physical health. However, with the help of meditation, truckers can get the job done while still taking care of their mind and body.

Based on scientific studies, here are the benefits of meditation, as shared by Healthline:

  • A good way to manage stress
  • Minimizes anxiety
  • Improves self-image and promotes a positive outlook on life
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Increases your attention span
  • May decrease age-related memory loss
  • Promotes kindness
  • May help battle addictions
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps manage pain
  • Can decrease blood pressure
  • Can be practiced anywhere

Different Forms of Meditation

Believe it or not, there are numerous forms of meditation; so if one form doesn’t work for you, there are still plenty to choose from. One of the more well known forms is yoga meditation. The controlled breathing exercises and postures focus the mind on the practice and calm the mind, all the while promoting flexibility. Yoga is also a type of movement meditation, which is where you draw mindfulness from movement. Tai chi and martial arts also fall under this category. Spiritual meditation is often a huge part of Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. For religious meditations, this often involves prayers to a divine power. For non-theistic traditions, self-awareness and self-actualization are the focal point of the meditation.

Another form is zen meditation. It can be part of Buddhist practice, where meditators must be mindful of their thoughts without judgment. At the same time, focus on their breathing and maintain a
comfortable position. According to Medical News Today, zen meditation requires more discipline and practice, and practitioners often prefer to study under a teacher, considering all the steps and postures that must be followed. With that in mind, this may not be the best meditation form for truckers. To see what other meditation forms could potentially work for you, check out this blog post on MindWorks.

Tips for Beginners

As straightforward as deep breaths in and out may seem, meditation is not as simple as you would think. But by starting off small and practicing every day, you’ll get the hang of it, and eventually you’ll open your mind and body to new techniques.

To help you get started on meditating, here’s what you can do:

1. Designate one area, a comfy chair or cushion for meditation

Getting into the habit of meditating can be difficult; however, creating a small relaxing environment can help set you up for a successful practice, whether that’s just a chair in your living room or a cushion next to your bed. Cushions are definitely recommended for truckers since you can take them with you wherever you go. Eventually, you’ll have the ability to meditate anywhere, but for now, setting up the scene will help you get in the right headspace.

2. Start with just two minutes every morning

Before you go about your day, begin your morning with meditation. Doing it first thing in the morning will naturally become part of your daily routine, giving you a positive mindset to tackle the stressful drive ahead. As for the meditation itself, rather than following a specific type or technique right away, just spend two minutes listening to your own breathing. Take note of the movement of your body as you breathe in and out. When your mind wanders, and it will, just bring your thoughts back to breathing. You could even count each breath. Do this for the first week or two, increasing to five minutes in the following, then possibly move on to guided meditations.

3. Stay connected with a meditation journal

A journal is a great way to track your progress, as your entries offer clarity and insight on how you might need to adjust your meditations and how far you’ve come since the beginning. Daily journaling gives an opportunity to reflect, gain perspective, and most importantly, be positive and kind to yourself. As for the entry format, it’s entirely up to you. It can be as simple as including the date, type of meditation, and comments on the practice, or you can use a guided format. With all these benefits and tips in mind, it’s clear that regular meditation is an easy way to achieve a good work-life balance, practice gratitude, and maintain a positive mindset as you trek across the country on your own.

 

Article written by Mandy Rudd
Only for the use of mothertruckeryoga.com

Pelvic Tilts Best Move For Truckers with Back pain Blog Post

Pelvic Tilts: Best Move for Truckers with Back Pain

When back pain is on the rise, Pelvic Tilts are here to save your back!

Pelvic tilts are an easy and very effective movement anyone and everyone can do, especially truck drivers when dealing with back pain.

 

I watched my father for years try to rearrange himself in his vehicle prior to his drive from Wisconsin to Indiana Sunday nights. He would be gone for the week and back hopefully on Friday night. 

 

I remember watching him try to adjust his seat. Those weird roller balls he had hanging over his seat. But mostly I remember his face when he would get (and out) of his vehicle anticipating that long drive or coming back from it. My father wasn’t a truck driver, but he laid sewer pipe for a living and drove all over the Midwest to do it. He lived in his little Horizon car. A 6’2” rough around the edges man tooling all over the open road to then climb down into the smallest, most dangerous spaces every single day. 

 

To say the least his body was his wrecking ball. Both on the drive and in the hole. But now in his 60’s, practicing a bit more self-care could have saved him one of his greatest assists…his body. 

 

I got into yoga nearly 20 years ago. And as I got older, I began to feel back pain of my own and realized that now more than ever I really needed to zone in on what works. And pinpoint movements that I could do within my daily life. Because time is precious and why not make the most of those in between moments. 

 

I believe that pelvic tilts are one of the fastest ways to reduce back pain and increase mobility. Plus, you can do them while you are driving. 

And the best part is drivers can do simple exercises just like this and then get out and stretch their legs. Afterwards, go into their favorite TA and take a look at the StayFIT Menu for a meal that is just perfect for them. The StayFIT Menu has dozens of healthy options on it made to order. So there is no need for fast food. Just another way to feel better, wherever you are. 

 

What are pelvic tilts?

 

Pelvic tilts are a super simple movement that asks you to tip the pelvis back and forward at varying degrees to help release tightness and also build resilience and strength in the pelvic area, lower back and abdomen.

 

Pelvic tilts are my #1 go to move for just about anyone with lower back pain. They are a simple yet effective exercise for those seeking back pain relief.  

 

As a truck driver time is of the essence. You have miles to get under your belt and a deadline to meet. So I like movements where you can double up. Moves that can be done safely while you are driving. 

 

While sitting many people struggle so much because their spine and pelvis sinks backwards into the seat. Taking their spine from an “S” curve, to a “C” curve, causing you back pain. And to further cause pain, that “S” curve is designed to help absorb impact, when you begin to lose that curve, pain begins to increase. 

 

Where can pelvic tilts be done?

  • Standing
  • Seated (in your truck)
  • Lying down (in the sleeper or on the floor)
  • On a large exercise ball 
  • In a Tabletop (all fours) position
  • In any of the Fitness Centers in the various TA’s located across the US.

 

Easy how-to pelvic tilts instructions:

  1. Sitting in the driver’s seat of your truck, sit upright and tall. 
  2. Notice your pelvis upright (sitting bones underneath you). 
  3. Take one nice full deep breath, in and out. 
  4. Inhale, and work to arch your lower back away from the truck seat (feel your belly drop forward). 
  5. Exhale draw your navel in and round your lower back towards the seat. 
  6. Inhale again and arch the back really exaggerating the arch and try to spread open your sitting bones underneath you and spilling your belly in-front of you. 
  7. Exhale and breathe out fully, rounding out your lower back. Imagine tucking your tail bone between your legs. 
  8. Repeat this for one to five minutes. As time goes on you should notice the stiffness dissolving and more mobility increasing. 

Pelvic Tilts Blog - Anterior Tilt

Pelvic Tilts Posterior Tilt Blog Post

Crossing Your Arms is Optional

I hear from many drivers it’s the discomfort while driving, but then those few minutes once they get out that they really notice the stiffness. And doing pelvic tilts regularly will dramatically help with that stiff feeling you get when getting out of the truck. 

 

Remember to breathe!

 

In anything that you do breathing is essential. The average person breathes 21-24,000 times per day. Imagine what merely tuning into your breath could do for stress, anxiety, fatigue, and yes, reducing physical pain. 

 

Shallow breathing can be linked to fatigue, dizziness, and anxiety. But it can also make using your physical body more challenging. Muscles need oxygen, breathing makes that possible. 

 

You’re Using Your Core Incorrectly

When you engage your abdominal muscles, make sure to focus and really engage them. Don’t just push your belly out or suck it in as you perform the movement. You’ll feel deeper muscles (transverse abdominus) working once you’ve fully engaged your core. Still not sure if your core is kicking in? Take a moment and with your hands on your waist cough and feel your core muscles contract as you do so. 

 

Need a Modification?

There are several ways you can practice pelvic tilts.

When you are laying down ready to go to bed, bend your knees and practice pelvic tilts. Inhale and work to arch your back away from the bed like there is a pin behind your lower back. Exhale and press the pin into the bed without lifting your hips. 

 

You can also try this standing. Either lean against the wall with your feet angled out. Or standing, bend your knees and plant your hands on your knees bracing yourself. Now move through the pelvic tilt sequence several times.

 

While standing and kneeling pelvic tilts can be a little more of a challenge, they’re a better option for people who are pregnant or unable to lie on their backs.

 

Always check in

As always, check with your doctor before starting or intensifying a workout routine, especially if you have conditions, injuries, or are healing from surgery involving your neck, spine, abdomen, or pelvis. And if you are wanting to lie down and practice pelvic tilts, check out one of TA’s various indoor fitness centers available to you along with other great health and fitness options through TA-Petro’s StayFit menu. Just don’t forget your mat! 

 

Why this works

Trucking can wreak havoc on many drivers bodies, particularly your lower back. Long-term sitting and poor posture is a recipe for many drivers leaving them with pain, stiffness and unwanted injury not because they didn’t exercise. But because they weren’t moving the body enough during the day. 

 

Pelvic tilts are an easy movement that keeps the lower back and hips mobile, increases circulation in those areas and reduces stiffness when you get out of the truck. And practices like yoga are a great way to help decrease the effects of back pain and stiffness many drivers are struggling with. 

 

Try It Out

Pelvic tilts can be done anytime, anywhere. No need for fancy equipment. No need for a gym membership or a personal trainer. All you need is your body, driver’s seat and an intention to move the body more. 

 

Making the commitment to insert just a little more movement into your day will make a big difference when you do it consistently. Every move counts. And it’s about the consistency. Can you see yourself doing this regularly as you drive? While you are laying down in the sleeper before you go to bed? Wherever you are. 

 

This simple move could be the difference between you throwing your back out, you getting out of the truck stiff and immobile for three minutes while you try to go from sitting position to standing. Pelvic tilts could be the one simple change that you make that takes you down the road to an improved routine of your personal self-care. 

 

Where do you see pelvic tilts fitting into your day? 

I challenge you to add them in today.

Want to learn more?

Join Hope with Mother Trucker Yoga, alongside TA-Petro and St. Christopher Truckers Fund for all things truckers and health at participating TA-Petros this week and throughout the month of September!

Check out Travel Centers of America’s Facebook Page for details on each of the upcoming events!

 

 

Benefits of walking mother trucker yoga blog post

Attention Truckers: Step It Up with Interval Walking

Attention truckers let’s stet it up with interval walking. This is a perfect way to increase your efforts to add more movement into your day?

Maybe you are getting the toning or even stretching you need, but the cardio just isn’t there.

And it can be challenging. As someone who travels on and off quite a bit. The neighbor hood can look a bit sketchy when it comes to getting out for a walk.

I have no trouble hoofing it in the airport with roller bag in tow. But I know what you are thinking. Hope I’m usually pulled over in a truck stop parking lot, where do I go now?

And that’s a great point. Good news! Truck stops like TA Petro have roughly have 211 truckstops and of them have 171 have walking trails!

So depending on where you are located and where you drive regularly. At least you know there are some options made available!

But no matter what:

  1. You’ve got feet.
  2. You’ve got asphalt/parking lot
  3. A few minutes to burn on a break or parked for the night.

On an average day you want to walk close to 10,000 steps. However the average American barely walks 3,000-4,000 steps per day. Which is roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends you walk an average of 150 minutes a week!

Lets do the math. That’s roughly on 21.7 minutes PER DAY! That’s it!

So between you and me. We got this! And lets turn up the heat a bit so you can get the most bang out of your stride every single time!

Interval Walking Check List:

Protocol: Start small and simple. Try 5 minutes of easy walking. Next you want to increase intensity only about 15% for 4 minutes. And continue to do so every 4 minutes. Keep going until you reach your maximum amount of available walk time. And don’t forget to include a 2-5 minute cool down walk as well.

Example: 5 minutes of easy walking -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 9 minutes) -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 13 minutes) -> 15% increase for 4 minutes (total time 17 minutes) -> 15% increase for 2 minutes -> decrease to original pace for 2-5 minutes (total time 21-24 minutes)

What should the level of intensity be?

1 being no exertion at all

15 being maximal exertion

Start at about a 5 – “Light”. Much like a warm up in an exercise class.

And each increase, bump yourself up one exertion level.

Think of the goal to get to 10- “Hard”. Where the workout feels difficult, but you can keep going.

Every little bit counts.

Can’t do 20 minutes straight? Consider five minutes and increase rate each minute after minute for 3 minutes, with a cool down minute at minute five.

Interval walking is great for weight-loss. And if increasing your interval like above seems a bit much. Reduce the time and consider adding in 30 second rest periods.

The only excuses are the ones you make up in your head. It doesn’t matter if all you can do is one minute of walking and then you have to take a break. Because it all adds up. And the biggest critic is the one inside that head. And I want to tell you it’s all lies. You can do this! Walking can be fun. And it’s free!

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-use-interval-walking-to-lose-weight-3495456

Mobility Exercises for Truck Drivers Blog Post Hope Zvara

Fit for Driving: A Truck Drivers Assessment

Have you ever been questioned if you were “fit for driving”?

Has it ever come to mind that someone, anyone, you, could be unfit to drive?

This is a reality not just for truck drivers, but America. Driving may be a sport for some, and leisure for others. But for a truck driver it is there life line, their job and for many their passion.

So what does it mean to be fit for driving?

How can someone increase their overall health to become more fit for driving?

Taking into consideration like functional mechanics- how you move or should move, quick reactivity, mobility, whole-body coordination all while driving. The question becomes: “do you know what the signs are? And are you up to speed?”

It use to be more of an aging conversation, when you get to X age then you will have to stop doing this. Or you will no longer be able to do that. But more and and more research is indicating, and heck, just look around you, it is obvious that we all need to get up to speed with our health and it may serve us all to check in with our ability to drive. For not only our own safety but the safety of others.

Similar to the freedom of walking, the thought of not being able to drive is daunting. Yet I have worked with tens of thousands of individuals and many still aren’t motivated to make even the smallest changes until it is almost too late.

Why wait until you can’t walk to see it as important.

Why wait until you get your license revoked, or you get into an accident to decide it is a necessary privilege.

The AMA in 2010 stated that lack of mobility is something that doctors take into consideration with older adults when assessing weather driving privileges should be taken away.

But here is the reality check: How many of you reading this honestly feel you move like a senior (75+) but most definitely are not one?

So many of us consciously refuse to take care of our bodies like they are made of steel. That they will just keep taking the beating. That they will jump up upon request no matter what situation, what age, what variable.

Mobility Concerns to Consider While Driving:

Grip strength for simple things like opening the door and pulling it closed

Looking back while backing up (although review cameras are great, this is a basic function we must not lose sight of) requires neck and torso rotation. And good eye tracking.

Varying degrees of hand, elbow and shoulder coordination while handing the steering wheel. And good hand eye coordination.

Gas and pedal breaking which uses ankle mobility and control.

For my truck drivers multiple hand-eye-foot coordination functions combine with fine motor skills while shifting, breaking, and turning.

It is easy to say these things are not a big deal. Until we can no longer do them. And it then becomes hard to say as to when it is those fine motor skills were lost. Technology has rob many of us of basic movement patterns. Where now we have to work twice as hard to keep to it or we will surely lose it.

But as a truck driver, driving a big rig takes a lot of handing, not to mention the loading and unloading that comes with the territory but can wear on the body overtime.

Now you may be shaking your head saying this is all nuts and you move just fine. But the thing is, basic mobility patterns like the above are often what are first to go and can often go un-noticed. But it is often the overlooked issues that can cause the greatest concerns later on in life when they slowly begin to take the things we love most away from us in a blink of an eye.

Take the Fit for Driving Test:

The Ankle Mobility Test:

Get into a lunge with the front foot’s big toe roughly 4 inches (3 inches if 5’2″ or less) and without allowing the heel to pick up. Try to lunge the front knee into the wall.

Ankle Range of Motion Test Mother Trucker Yoga

Having trouble?

You may want to tune into the notion that this mobility has everything to do with you coming off the gas or break easily accident free.

Exercise: Two Part Calf Stretch

(LEFT) From a standing position place one foot up on a half dome (or something firm and rolled up). Anchor the heel down and do not let it lift. Align the outer edge of the foot with something parallel with it. Keeping tall, and not allowing your pelvis to tip forward. Begin to walk the free foot forward. You should begin to feel a stretch. Hold that stretch for minimum 30 seconds.

(RIGHT) Standing tall take a casual step back with one foot. Not allowing the pelvis to tip forward, bend the front knee. Now work to bend the back knee without lifting the back heel. Hold that stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

On both stretches notice if the inner ankle collapses or the knee bends inward. Try to keep the knee forward and he ankle in neutral.

Mother Trucker Yoga Fitness Test Calf Stretch

Hand Mobility Test: 

Hand Corrective Exercise Proper Way Mother Trucker Yoga

Correct Placement

Hand Corrective Exercise In correct

 

Get down on all fours (oh, there is more to this test than just your hands). Spread your fingers out wide with the middle finger pointing forward and the thumbs pointing at each other (feel free to help your thumbs). Is is tender or difficult to flex the wrist in a 90 degree angle?

Is there space under the palms or are your fingers curled up (flexion) off floor? These are warning signs that gripping tension which is a common occurrence and needs to be counter acted. This is a road that will lead to immobility in the joints of the wrists, fingers and thumbs.

Exercise: Flexion and Extension

Wrist Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

Forearm Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

Shoulder Mobility Test: 

Get down on all fours and plant your hands as done in the Hand Mobility Test.

Work to draw the thumbs out as close to 90 degrees from the middle finger as possible. Can you do this without the folds of the elbows turning inward? This will clue you into excessive tension between the shoulder, elbow and wrist. As a driver this is critical to assess, as one needs all hands on deck and this could be a shoulder issue.

Sitting Twist Test:

Sit in the drivers seat or in a chair with both feet flat on the floor and pelvis evenly planted. Work to rotate like you are reaching for your seat belt (but keep hands on lap) and try to first rotate with your rib cage only. No lifting your hips. Can you see behind you yet?

Next try to rotate your neck? Can you see over your shoulder now? At what point to do you need to cheat and lift your hip? Or maybe you need to use your hand to force the rotate due to tight muscles?

Exercise: Seat Belt Grab Sit and Twist

Sitting in the drivers seat or on a chair practice rotation daily. And don’t forget to incorporate daily stretching in that release tight back muscles and neck muscles like in Mother Trucker Yoga’s online membership site. 

Seat Belt Twist Test Mother Trucker Yoga

Intrinsic Muscle and Nerve Foot Test:

Take off your shoes and socks  and try to spread your toes apart.  Can you separate each toe?

Can you give yourself a “thumbs up” with your big toe?

Issues like these can be a big indicator of intrinsic foot muscle atrophy, or weakness in the muscles of the foot. This is an issue because this could mean nerve issues in the lower leg (many of which come with lack of use like from long-term sitting).

Foot Health Mother Trucker Yoga

Exercise: Toe Piano & Dancers Feet

Get your shoes off daily! Yes daily! Move your toes around, stretch your feet. Roll on an acuBall! I’m going to get a lot of flack for this, but don’t listen to people who tell you to keep your shoes on when your feet hurt. That is part of the problem! Would you keep a casts on after you injure your arm, or leg, or even foot? Heck no!

acuBall mini for foot pain

Shoes are casts, and the longer you wear your casts, the bigger the issue becomes.

Taking care of your body has less to do with how many push-ups you can do and more to do with asking yourself “can I still do all the things I desire to do every single day?” If not, then something has to change.

And most people swing far left and go off the handle with implementing things that quite possibly aren’t necessary. Now that is not to say that deciding to run a marathon or exercise for 2-hours each day is a bad thing.

But if at the end of the day we all simply want to age gracefully and keep doing the things that are necessary, and love. Then I recon we start there. But keeping the physical body healthy. Your muscles and nerves working optimally is also an internal thing. And as the saying goes “you are what you eat“. So equally ensure you are fueling your body with the same care you are your rig.

Are you fit for driving? 

Let us know how you fared out with our test?

Need help?

Contact Hope via email and she can help you get fit for driving today!

 

Trucker Walk Tips Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

10 Quick Tips to Improve Your Walk

Do you need to improve your walk?

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk. If you ask anyone that knows me the will tell you I love to watch how people move.

Not to poke fun of them. But it’s like a puzzle to me. Why does this not move?

Or why does that go that way when this goes this way?

See how they swing their leg when they walk, but only on the left side?

All these little things started from something.

An injury. A pattern. A pair of shoes. A particular lifestyle choice that has now rearranged muscles and tissues all around their bodies and as a result. Things just don’t move quite right when they walk.

Most people are unconscious of these issues when they first start. And many go unnoticed until an injury or pain occurs. And when this then happens, the moment it occurred is usually blamed for the reason of the issue or injury. When more than likely what caused it has been an accumulation over time, you adapting to your environment.

Walking Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

What is the environment your feet are kept in on a daily basis? How long do you keep those casts on your feet also known as shoes? Have you ever flipped over those casts of yours and looked at the worn down tread underneath? Check out VeryWellFit.com  article on reading the tread on the bottom of your shoe.

A fair amount of people unfortunately wear ill fitting shoes and shoes that do not communicate well with the rest of the body. And it is only a matter of time before your body tells you it does not like it’s current situation.

Wondering how you can improve your walk today?

Here are 10 quick ways to improve your walk today!

1. Check the current state of your shoes. Flip those babies over and check the tread. And take note. Is the tread worn off on the edges? Heel? Only one side? Do your feet spill out the sides of your shoes? This will give you insight as to how your foot strikes the ground. But more importantly how your hip and foot communicate.

 

2. While walking feel and tune into how and when your foot actually meets the ground. Do you feel a slight skid or drag on one or both feet? Do you constantly stub your toe on only one side? Do one or both of your feet point any other direction than forward? The moment you become more conscious of something is the moment you can begin to create a pathway to change.

 

3. Try to walk with your feet forward. I know it may sound basic. But it can often be easier said than done. Focus on rolling through the middle of your foot for a complete take off. Not only will this improve the function of your feet, but it can ease pain on your knees and hips brought on by how you walk. As I tell all my students: “If you are going forward, your feet should be pointing forward”.

 

4. Have someone watch you walk. Sounds silly I know, but they can offer you feedback in real time as to what you are doing and you may not even know it. And have them assess your entire body. Do you swing only one arm? Lean forward. Limp? Swing your left leg? Drag your right foot? Are you a speedy walker? Do your feet cross the mid-line? Feedback is key to assessing for a change.

 

5. Can you extend your hip? What is your hip range of motion? Do you only walk with your legs in front of you? Do you walk from your knees down? Practice hip extension by practicing lunging, or practice walking and make sure your leg actually extends behind you when you walk. This doubles as a stretch after all that sitting. (Those that sit often struggle with this) Check out this video to find out more about how to improve your walk.

 

6. Take your shoes off. Yes. your shoes, your casts need to be removed! And even if that just means relaxing or hanging out in your rig barefoot. Do it! Or better yet, log into Mother Trucker Yoga’s online studio and do some yoga!

 

7. Roll out your feet. Your body is held together by a sea of tone. Also known as fascia! And that fascia is either like a piece of plastic or elastic. Wearing shoes all day do not help turn that plastic back into elastic. Try a acuBall to help break all that plastic up. Have plantar fasciitis (check out this article I wrote on MindBodyGreen on the subject)? Then you don’t want to skip this step. Check out this video for how to roll out your feet. And grab your acuBall in our MTY store.

acuBall mini for foot pain

8. Stretch your hip. A pain in your hip can mess with your gait (fancy word for walk/stride). Every morning when you wake up take 30 seconds on each side and stretch your hip out. Be ready to feel some tightness, but what you will feel afterward is relief! Mother Trucker Yoga suggests trying the seated Figure 4 stretch!

Trucker Walk hip stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

9. Stretch your calves. Your calf is not only the hydraulic pump to pump blood flow back up to your heart. But they also serve as a springboard in your walk and and releasing them will give your knees, arches and ankles relief. Try hanging your heels of the step of your rig for a quick once over!

 

10. Challenge yourself and walk on different surfaces. We live in a concrete jungle so whenever you get the opportunity, change it up. Grass, gravel, dirt, rocks. And ask you walk tune into how your body responds to the ground beneath you. Not only will your feet enjoy the change of pace. But so will the rest of the muscles in your body.

Improve Your Walk Surface Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

It is vital to not over-complicate the changes you want to make in your life. But also don’t just think about the changes you hope to make. Don’t say you are going to make the tomorrow. Start today! Start today, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to take up all your free time. It just needs to happen. Let your allies at Mother Trucker Yoga support and help you along the way.

 

Health Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

7 Little Changes Drivers Can Make To Improve Their Health

There are changes every driver can make when it comes to improving their health.

Taking charge of your health no matter how you are and what you do can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. I have been helping individuals and companies make healthy changes for almost 20 years and just because your job take you over the road is no reason to feel that your health has to be left at home.

Most of the time we over think the changes we can start making today. And as a trucker, over the road or not, I can imagine that your health can easily take a back seat to what is on the road in front of you.

7 Little Changes for Drivers Health Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Post

Here are 7 little changes you can start to make today to start living life a bit on the healthier side of the road.

  1. Park further away. I am certain someone has told you this before. But I am going to tell you this again. Park further away! When you pull in for the night, if it’s available, find the furtherest parking spot available that will make you have to walk a few extra steps into the truck stop. Those extra steps add up.
  2. Drink up. Time is of the essence. But so is your health. And considering our bodies are primarily made up of water, it is best you start get to drinking. Water that is. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. And to help avoiding extra bathroom breaks, try getting up an hour earlier and start guzzling 10 ounces of water. Then an hour before you stop for break another 10 – 20 ounces. And then an hour before you unload and stop for the night…well you get the picture.
  3. Do something while you are driving. Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Be safe! But what about a hand weight, or resistance band, or shoulder rolls, or something! Better yet, tune into Mother Trucker Yoga’s 42 minute audio track that guides you though simple movements you can do while driving!
  4. Take a deep breath. Before you roll out of bed, take two minutes and breathe deeply. Your breath is the engine for your metabolism. Yet few look to this when it comes to getting healthy. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and just breathe as deeply and calmly as you can. Stress wrecks havoc on your body. Here’s one way to curb that. And try Mother Trucker Yoga’s audio track for better stress free breathing.
  5. Container eating. Sounds silly I know. But portion control can be one way to help control what you put in your mouth. It’s easy to all of a sudden have eaten that entire bag of chips. Or even though it’s healthy, an entire plate of rice, veggies and chicken. Most people eat when they are not even truly hungry. Here is what I ask myself daily: “Hope, are you head hungry or really hungry?” Most people are head hungry and not truly looking for nutrition. Make sure you know the difference.
  6. Add more movement in. I’m not saying you need to try to park your rig at a gym or yoga studio. But start to notice the moments in the day you have down time. The moments you are doing something, but nothing all at the same time. The moments you could be moving! Somehow moving. A stretch here, a squat there, it all adds up. And don’t forget to log into Mother Trucker Yoga’s online studio to get fit anytime, anywhere!
  7. Finally, start to believe you can live healthier. Visualize yourself a healthier, happier you. I use to think that was silly. Visualizing myself that way, and writing it down. Now that was ridiculous. But when asking people who have made big changes in their lives what they all did. The one thing they all have in common is they visualized themselves already there and they wrote it down. So, if anything, today, start here.

Don’t over complicate health. And believe that you can feel better than what you do now. But you, yes you have to make the first step.

The first step is usually the hardest, and after that, well that is why Mother Trucker Yoga is here. We got your back!