Driver health – The effects of sitting down for long periods of time

Truck Driver

Long periods of time sitting down in the same position can have a significant effect on driver health and safety. If driving is your profession or even if you spend long periods of time in the car in your job you may be unaware of the heath issues that can arise from sitting down in the same position on multiple long journeys.

A long time sitting down

Taken to the extreme, if on average you spend eleven hours a day, six days a week on the road this equates to 66 hours per week in the same position. Multiplied over a complete year, this works out to one hundred and forty three days of the year spent behind the wheel. It’s a long time sitting down and can greatly affect driver health if not addressed.

What are the risks?

There are a number of driver health issues that can arise from long term sitting down. These include –

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Blood clots
  • Increasing blood/cholesterol levels

Stay aware of fatigue

In such a confined space it’s difficult to alter your driving posture too much as you travel. This means that muscle pain and fatigue is extremely common amongst professional drivers. As office workers are encouraged to take a break from their screens regularly, to alleviate problems arising from being hunched over a keyboard for long periods, so too drivers can feel the negative impact on muscles leading to back pain and other muscular issues.

The value of exercise

Exercise is essential in keeping many of these driver health issues at bay. Simple stretches and exercises will go a long way to helping, as will taking plenty of short breaks and stepping out of the cab or car seat at regular intervals. In a previous blog we looked at ways of staying healthy out on the road. You can read our tips here –

Posture is important

Sitting for long periods of time in a moving vehicle, is not as damaging as sitting in an ordinary chair. As when the vehicle begins to move the body is subjected to different forces, such as acceleration and deceleration, lateral swaying side to side, and whole body up and down vibrations. As you drive you actively use your feet alternating between pedals, you also must keep a vigilant watch for any traffic at all times, which requires a reasonably static head and neck posture. To maintain this posture, the back, shoulder, neck and arm muscles retain a static muscle tension over a period of time.