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Back on the Road

A Blog by TA & Petro Stopping Centers

Hope Zvara: Movement Doesn't Have to Be Exercise

Courtesy of Hope Zvara, Mother Trucker Yoga:

You don't have to be a truck driver to fall into the category of a sedentary lifestyle. Most of what we do (trucker or not) is sedentary. And what falls under the category of exercise seems only to constitute 30 minutes to maybe two hours of our daily life.

Although something is always better than nothing, the research is in, and a few minutes a day is not enough.

By moving more, we get a big huge dose of Vitamin M, or movement. Something of which most of us are lacking.

Our mothers always told us to, "Take our vitamins." And 20, 30, 40 years ago there wasn't a massive need to say to our children - and adults - to take Vitamin M. But in today's world. we could all use a bit more of that vitamin.

What is your day like?

We can't change anything in our lives until we are first aware of it. And that means we need to take note of everything we do, or don't do, throughout the day.

I want to encourage you to notice how you move from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. What are your daily movement patterns are like? This isn't just what exercises you do, it's also how you move from point A to point B.

  • That slight slump to the left when driving a long distance.
  • Why it is you always sit and talk on the phone, even on your break?
  • How you never cross your right leg over your left when you sit at the table.
  • Or how you never seem to carry things with your right arm, always your left.

These are all patterns, and even your lack of movement in your daily life is a pattern.

I'm Hope Zvara, the CEO and creator of Mother Trucker Yoga. As someone who has been in the movement and fitness world for nearly 20 years, I have seen just about everything. In my experience teaching yoga, even there, we can quickly get set in our ways. Only doing poses and movements in one particular way, which in the end can have its consequences.

And according to JAMA approximately 80 percent of adolescents and adults are physically inactive. That means at a truck stop when you look out and count 10 trucks, eight of those drivers are not getting enough movement. When you isolate truck drivers alone, that number might be even higher.

So what does constitute enough movement? Well, the article referenced above suggests that even the recommended 30 minutes a day is not enough. And let's get it together people. Out of a 24-hour day, where six to eight of those hours are spent sleeping, is 30 minutes of movement enough?

Probably not.

But the good news. Research now suggests that the length of time within movement and level of activity is not as important as we once thought. It truly is just you getting out and moving more.

In any way, you possibly can. And that means even from the driver's seat. Don't believe me?

Instead of just sitting in the driver's seat for three, four, or even eight hours at a time, do you think getting out of your truck to fuel up, load or unload is enough? Think again. I can bet your back and hips are already telling you that what you are doing isn't enough.

That constant fatigue you are feeling from your body is not getting enough movement. You are fatigued because you aren't moving enough. And you aren't moving enough because you are tired.

So how do we change this vicious life-sucking cycle (did I get your attention yet)?

For starters, that question I asked you earlier, to take an inventory of your day. What did you discover? What stuck out? What times of day do you move most? Are there points within your day that you could move more, but do you choose not to add movement in?

You can't change something you are not aware of.

Because I believe there is a ton of movement to be discovered in our daily lives just waiting to be seen.

Here are some ideas to get you moving. So not only your load gets to its destination in one piece. You do too.

Wake Up Moves

Wake-up time will vastly vary depending on the driver, load delivery time, weather and location you are currently at, but that doesn't mean you can't get the most out of your wake up. Before you even sit up. Stretch! Yes. Like that newborn baby in their crib. Reach your arms overhead and stretch down to your toes.

Yawn! Exaggerate that big yawn of yours and move your jaw around while you are at it. When you go to sit up, stop for a quick 30 seconds, and stretch each side of your body. Reaching the opposite arm up overhead as you bend.

Time to Get Dressed

As you go for your shoes, purposefully bend forward and reach. No excuses here. Do the best you can. Its just like when you get your boots on, or when you go to grab for the strap, bolt or even that pen that falls on the ground during the day.

In and Out of the Truck

Stepping down out of your truck. Try a different way. Have you ever gotten out on the passenger side? Why, right? Well, why not? Everything you do is a pattern created by you. So if you want to change how your body feels and moves, you have to change how you move in your environment.

Safety Check Please

While doing your safety check (we hope you are doing them) play with how you walk. Try significant strides, little strides, walk sideways, backward and walking at different paces. All of this adds up. And you are both the tally keeper and the decision-maker as to how much you move.

Truck Stop Bathroom break

Whether you're walking into the truck stop, or taking a quick run to pick up food to go or use the loo, park as far away as possible. Yes, you heard me. And swing those arms of yours while you are at it. Reach up. Circles, and notice if in your natural stride, one arm moves more than the others.

Filling up with fuel

Strike a pose. Stretch your calves by putting your foot up against the wheel of your truck. Or the pillar of the fuel pump area. Place both hands on your vehicle and step back to stretch your back in a little Down Dog stretch. It all adds up.

Drive Time Exercise

Bored while driving? Roll your shoulders, twist your torso. Roll your ankles, march your legs, tip your head side to side. It all adds up.

I used to work in an assisted living facility teaching yoga, and guess what, these men and women lived in wheelchairs 18 hours a day. And guess what, the exercises I suggested above were nearly impossible-all because they spent their days sitting. No extra movement encouraged other than 30 minutes of therapy a few times a week.

Break Time

On break, take advantage of TA, Petro and TA Express StayFIT options. Check out their indoor fitness centers, walking trail routes, bag toss games and even basketball courts. Get at least 10 minutes of movement, even if you don't think that you are that good. The moments you are creating are worth your while.

Lunchtime or Dinnertime

The StayFit menu has delicious food options that you have to chew. I know, crazy to think this is movement, but digestion first starts in your mouth when you chew. And an all soft food diet will not get you the jaw movement you want. Whether its the toned neck and facial muscles we all desire as we age, or happy digestion, it all matters.

In our heads, in our minds, we can easily over complicate things as a means to stay safe. A type of self-preservation if you will. But if you just take the movement out of the exercise box and apply it to your entire life, you will be amazed at how much you accomplish. And best yet, how you feel.

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