Preventing injury, incorporating exercise, eating better on the go benefit drivers and shippers.
The road can be a tough place to stay healthy with long hours behind the wheel, limited food options along the highway, and heavy lifting for professional truck drivers who deliver and unload freight. But there are ways to add more good habits to the mix that benefit both drivers and the customers whose goods they move every day.
“Doing a few small things differently really adds up,” said Jared McNealy, the driver health manager for U.S. Xpress.
Preventing injury, fatigue, and helping professional drivers stay productive means shippers have reliable partners to keep their businesses moving, and it supports drivers in building fulfilling careers.
“There are lots of drivers coming into the profession, and lots of drivers who have been around for years, and they’re open to learning how they can stay around and stay healthy for the long term,” Jared said.
In his role, Jared spends about half his time traveling, meeting with drivers and operations teams all over the country to show them everything from how to choose the healthiest snacks at gas stations (he suggests baked chips, fruit, granola, low-sodium jerky, seeds, or nuts), to teaching drivers proper body mechanics to help them perform tasks safely and efficiently. Finding creative ways to stay fit on the go is also a priority.
“I’ve met a fair number of drivers that have dumbbells and fitness bands and get out at truck stops and gas stations and do a little exercise when they stop for breaks,” Jared said. “We’re developing travel workouts that are easy to do with minimal equipment.”
Before joining U.S. Xpress, Jared spent part of his career doing similar work for one of the nation’s largest rail companies. The challenges of helping professional drivers and railroaders stay healthy have plenty of parallels.
“A railroader and a trucker are more similar than they are different,” he said. “These are hard-working professionals who spend hours and hours moving freight for shippers who rely on them to be ready to go.”
As a member of the Safety team at U.S. Xpress, Jared works with a crew entirely focused on ensuring professional drivers are the safest and healthiest they can be.
“We’re all focused on different aspects of safety, but we all have the same goal – to protect the drivers who are the backbone of the company and ensure our shippers have professional partners they can count on.”