Staying healthy on the road: Tips for couriers

As a courier, life on the road can be a slog. You’ve got delivery deadlines to hit, customers to keep happy, and invoices to keep track of. With all of this, it can be easy to forget about one essential thing: your health!

Staying physically and mentally healthy is really important, so we’ve put together some simple yet practical tips to keep you fighting fit.

Physical health: Keeping the motor running

Food and drink

Grabbing a quick pasty from the petrol station is easy. We get it, they’re tasty and convenient, but it’s important to remember that our bodies need proper fuel to function at their best.

Next time you buy lunch, try to get a mix of lean proteins and veggies, and avoid carb-heavy food like sandwiches and pastries. You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and it’s better for you long-term! If you’re a snacker, skip the Haribo and grab some fresh fruit or healthy snacks like roasted chickpeas or dark chocolate.

And don’t forget about hydration. Keep a reusable water bottle on hand and refill it regularly to stay alert and keep fatigue at bay. A lot of motorway services have free water refill stations these days, and a few petrol stations have them as well. You can even get water bottles with straws, so you can drink (water) while driving.

Staying active

Exercise is vital for your physical health. But when your “office” is a driver’s seat, finding time for a workout can be challenging.

The key here is creativity. Can you fit in a quick walk while waiting in a loading bay? How about some stretches during a petrol stop?

Here’s a quick 5-minute stretch routine you can use to stay limber and refreshed. No yoga mats or Lycra leggings necessary!

1. Neck stretch (1 minute):

  • Start by slowly tilting your head toward your right shoulder until you feel a light stretch on the left side of your neck.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Do this twice on each side.

2. Shoulder rolls (1 minute):

  • Sit up straight, then slowly roll your shoulders up, back, down, and forward in a smooth circular motion.
  • Do this for 30 seconds, then reverse the direction for another 30 seconds.

3. Upper body twist (1 minute):

  • With your feet flat on the floor, turn your upper body to the right, placing your left hand on the outer side of your right knee for added stretch.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Do this twice on each side.

4. Hip stretch (1 minute):

  • While seated, cross your right ankle over your left knee, creating a figure 4 with your legs.
  • Gently press down on your right knee to feel a stretch in your right hip and glute.
  • Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Do this twice on each side.

5. Seated hamstring stretch (1 minute):

  • Extend your right leg straight in front of you, heel on the ground, toes pointing upwards.
  • Gently lean forward from your hips (not your waist) until you feel a stretch in the back of your right thigh.
  • Hold this for 15 seconds, then switch legs.
  • Do this twice on each side.

These quick and easy stretches can help you alleviate stiffness, improve flexibility, and boost circulation, even within the confines of your van, or when you’re waiting in a loading bay.

Remember, it’s always important to ‘listen’ to your body – if you feel any pain or discomfort when you’re stretching, try a different stretch or take it easy. If it persists, book an appointment with your GP!

Routine health checkups

Speaking of GPs, it’s easy to forget routine health check-ups. Regular visits to your GP are crucial to catch potential issues early. Plus, they can provide personalised advice based on your individual needs.

If you’re struggling to get an appointment at your local surgery, some high-street pharmacies can give health advice and consultations.

Rest and sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting proper rest is as important as eating healthily and exercising.

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and maintain a regular sleep schedule. This can be tricky with late-night or early-morning jobs, but even a quick power nap at a motorway services can make a world of difference.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a sleeper cabin in your vehicle, invest in some decent earplugs and bedding, so you’re as undisturbed and comfortable as possible.

Mental health: Keeping the wheels turning

Managing stress

Let’s face it, courier work can be stressful. Traffic jams, tight deadlines, difficult clients, the list goes on. That’s why finding ways to let off steam and relax is important. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or simply enjoying your favourite tunes on the radio can all help reduce stress levels.

Staying social

On the road, it’s easy to feel isolated. Make an effort to keep in touch with family and friends regularly. A quick chat during breaks can boost your mood.

Also, don’t overlook the importance of building relationships with your clients and fellow drivers. A friendly conversation can brighten your day and make the job more enjoyable!

Mental stimulation

Long hours on the road can be a drag. Keep your mind sharp and avoid boredom by listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or even learning a new language.

We highly recommend Pete the Courier’s Sunday Q&A series, which is available on all major podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

So long as it doesn’t distract you from driving, it’s a plus!

Wrapping up

In conclusion, staying healthy on the road is about balancing your physical needs with your mental well-being.

Eat well, stay active, get plenty of rest, manage your stress, keep in touch with loved ones, stimulate your mind, and don’t forget those routine health check-ups.

Remember, a healthier you makes for a happier, more efficient courier. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone!

The article was published on . It was updated on 30 April 2024 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.