Staying healthy on the road can seem like a constant struggle because there are so many obstacles. For example, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating truck stop food and then sitting stagnant in your driver seat for hours on end.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your mind, body and soul running on all cylinders.

Here are 5 keys for staying healthy on the road:

1. Eat Right

Here’s the thing with eating right: If you don’t plan ahead, it won’t happen. Is it easier not to worry about it and then grab fast food at the last minute? Sure. But not only is that food likely to pack pounds onto your stomach, it also won’t give you the sustainable energy you need to do your job and do it well.

Instead, plan out a bunch of crockpot meals in advance. Figure out what ingredients you’ll need and how much it will take to get you through your next trip. There’s no shortage of very simple crockpot recipes on the internet, and if you have a mini fridge you can count on leftovers to cut down on the number of meals you’ll need to prepare.

Basically, a little bit of thought and a quick trip to the grocery store can help keep you away from the pitfall of unhealthy eating on the road.

2. Work Out

We all know working out is important, but exercising on the road can seem difficult. After all, how are you supposed to fit an entire gym into the cab of your truck, right? WRONG!

There are a bunch of exercises you can do that don’t require free weights. Think push-ups, sit-ups and lunges. Plus, if you get creative with your rig, you may be able to add pull-ups, dips and other exercises to the mix.

At the very least, why not take a jumprope with you? The main thing to focus on is your cardio, anyway, because that not only will help you keep weight off, it also will help keep your insides healthy.

So, next time you’re waiting for your trailer to get loaded or unloaded, don’t just stand there like there’s nothing you can do. Get a quick workout in!

3. Break A Mental Sweat

It’s important to keep your brain in shape because, let’s face it, it’s not just a part of your body — it’s the control center of it. Your mind affects everything you do, so it might be the most important type of health to maintain. Fortunately, there are a bunch of things you can do to keep your brain in shape.

To start, try to read whenever you can. No one likes downtime, but if you still have time to wait after you finish your workout, why not read a chapter of something that interests you? You can either keep it simple by grabbing a book or, if you want to store a bunch of books without taking up much space, you could always invest in an e-reader like a Kindle or a Nook.

If you’re not real big into reading, another option is to work on brain teasers, crosswords or other mentally stimulating puzzles. Not only can these activities help keep your mind at the top of it’s game, they also are something you can work on here or there, set down for a while and then pick up again later when you have time. Only have a couple of minutes to pass? Use that time to improve your mental dexterity and stay sharp!

4. Keep In Touch

Mood and attitude can also affect your health. One way to keep a positive attitude and stay in a good mood is to call home whenever you can. Better yet, there are a ton of apps and services that make it easy to video chat with your family or friends back home.

Keeping in touch with the people you care about can help keep you motivated, focused and happy, so before you hit the road try to schedule times to chat. Just be sure to factor in possible time-zone differences.

5. Get Enough Sleep

This is probably the most enjoyable way to maintain your health. After all, who doesn’t love to get a good night’s sleep?

The problem is that getting a good amount of sleep takes time, and there’s no way around that. But, by sticking to a consistent schedule whenever possible, your body will get into the habit of a regular sleep cycle and you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily instead of laying there, wasting time by waiting to nod off.

Another trick for getting a good night’s sleep is to cut down on the amount of light that makes it into your sleeper area. Even if you get the full amount of sleep you need, light can affect the quality of your sleep. Investing in a good blackout curtain can ensure that you wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed.

Now that you know the five key areas to work on in order to improve your overall health, start slow. Making small changes over time can help you to change your lifestyle habits in a more lasting way as opposed to making a bunch of drastic changes all at once. That’s why New Years resolutions often fail. The important thing is to pay attention to your health consistently throughout the year and try to constantly make small, easy-to-implement “course corrections” to your daily habits.

Need more information on how to be a healthier trucker? Check back with us right here on Roadmaster Drivers School’s blog throughout the year because we’ll be touching on each of these topics in more depth to give you even more ideas for maintaining your health!