It may not be as labor intensive as other activities are, but driving takes up your physical and mental energies, nonetheless. Driving requires endurance as you have to be alert at all times to keep track of other road users and your surroundings.
You need to be able to multitask and focus on what’s in front of you. Although you’re only sitting down and staying put in one place, you can’t completely relax lest you get caught off guard and get into an accident.
To do that, you have to in tip-top shape when you’re driving. Any ailments will impair your sense and ability to drive safely. That said, it’s twice as important for frequent drivers to take care of their health. If you often drive especially for long periods, here’s a self-care routine you should keep for your health and to be safe on the road.
Get Adequate Sleep at Night
An adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep at night to be functioning perfectly the next day. Any less and you’re compromising your ability to think and respond quickly, two things that are essential when driving.
It’s not just the quantity that matters too; the quality has to be up to par as well. That means you should be able to get between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to be alert and energized.
During sleep, you’re not just getting some well-needed rest; your brain continues to do maintenance work on your body and itself to make sure you’re ready for the next day. Maintain a sleeping routine that you should follow on weekdays and weekends.
Forget about making up for lost sleep on weekends; your body doesn’t work that way. A regular sleeping pattern is what you need to stay fit.
Eat a Well-Balanced Meal
Aside from sleep, you need sustenance in the form of food to fuel you for your daily adventure. Without food, you’ll be hungry, listless, and moody, which will affect your focus when you’re driving (or doing anything else for that matter).
Of course, any food won’t do if you want to stay fit. You have to eat a well-balanced meal, complete with vitamins and minerals, protein, and carbohydrates. And you have to eat your meals on time too.
When you’re constantly on the road, it’s so easy just to keep eating fast food and junk food, but you should know that both barely have (if any at all) anything good for your body. If you keep eating those fat- and salt-filled foods, you’re putting yourself at risk for so many death-causing diseases, chief of in the heart.
Make time the night or the morning before your trip to prepare your meal for the day. This is better for monitoring what you put inside your mouth. You can also join a wellness program that can provide you with healthy meals every day. If all else fails, just add more fruits and vegetables and lessen fatty meat, sugary food and drinks, and caffeine in your daily diet.
Drink Lots of Water
The human adult body is comprised of 60 percent water. Water replenishes, flushes down waste from the body, helps regulate body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, and protects tissues in the body. That should be enough to tell how important it is to take in enough fluids every day. But how much water is enough?
Children are taught to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day to be healthy, but in reality, the answer varies according to individual needs. For example, an athlete who performs strenuous physical tasks and exercises daily sheds water more than the average person does, so they should be drinking more water.
The amount of water you need every day depends on your activity levels, as well as other factors, such as your overall health, and your environment. Driving may not be as laborious as running, lifting, and exercising all day are, but it’s physically demanding as well.
You’re also likely to be exposed to different weather conditions, temperatures, and humidity levels when you’re driving. That said, drink those eight glasses of water a day and then some, and never allow yourself to get thirsty on the road.
Yes, driving can be physically demanding, but it’s not the same thing as exercising. When you’re driving, you’re forced to stay put and sit in the same position for a certain period (sometimes long, sometimes short), which results in a different sort of physical strain that your body gets from exercise.
Regular physical exercise strengthens your muscles and bones, keeps your mind alert, and increases your stamina and flexibility while sitting down while driving only results in stiffness, back pain, and all sorts of body ache.
Take 30 minutes of your day to do some moderate exercises. You need aerobic exercises, like brisk walking or running, to improve your cardiovascular fitness and strength training, like weightlifting or rock climbing, to strengthen your muscles.
You don’t have to go to the gym or come up with a sophisticated workout routine to do all these. You can simply incorporate more physical activities in your day to exercise your body. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, mowing your lawn, waking your dog, and cleaning and moving your furniture are also forms of physical exercise.
Take Periodical Breaks
Stop and take periodical breaks when you’re driving long distances. You should get out of your vehicle to go to the toilet, do some stretching, and walk for a bit before driving again. Holding your bladder never results in anything good, and sitting for a long time will lead to body pain.
Short periods of rest are also important to keep your mind alert and ready for the next leg of your journey. If you get drowsy while driving, find a place to safely park your car, and take a short power nap to boost your energy and brain power and keep you going for the rest of the day.
Protect Yourself on the Road
Many unexpected things can happen on the road. Preparing for all kinds of emergencies is the best way you can sure ensure your health and safety on your journey. Before leaving on a driving trip, make sure you’ve packed travel essentials, including food, water, your cell phone, charger, spare clothes, toiletries, and a first aid kit, among others.
You should also prep your vehicle for the journey ahead. Do a round of basic car maintenance. Check your car fluids, tire pressure and alignment, brakes, windshield wipers, and everything else to make sure they’re all working well.
Protect the interior of your vehicle by using custom-made WeatherTech floor mats that keep water, dirt, and mess from your car floor. Bring a travel cleaning kit too in case you can’t avoid messes in your car.
When you drive on the road, you put yourself at risk for certain dangers every day. Following traffic rules, driving defensively, and most importantly, taking care of your overall health can minimize your chance of getting in trouble on the road. Having a healthy body and alert mind means you can drive with better focus and agility, as well as think better and respond faster in the event of a road emergency.