In previous blogs, we have written about what measures you as a haulage company owner can do to promote and maintain a satisfied, healthy and good working environment for your employed drivers. But what can the drivers themselves do to influence their health and their work environment in a positive direction?
It may seem obvious to stay in good shape to cope with work and life, but still there are surprisingly many drivers who are careless about just that. They may simply prioritise other things than their own health because they do not see the benefits in the immediate future. It can be difficult to find the motivation to stretch your legs or loosen up your body after long periods of sitting still in the cab.
One person who has seen the long-term benefits of staying in good basic shape is Peter Martinsson, perhaps better known as the Instagram profile Driver in Motion (@Chauffor_i_rorelse). He is a driver who is on the move even when the rig he is driving is stationary. We had a chat with him to understand how to get motion into your everyday life as a truck driver and get tips on exercises you can do next time you take a break.
Name Peter Martinsson
Professional role: Truck driver
Business name Falkenbärgaren and Eurotransport
Years in the transport industry since 1997. I went straight from the transport line at upper secondary school, in 1997, and have now put in 26 years.
Most fun/best part of the job Freedom is the best. Here no two days are the same. Always faced with new problems to solve, it's like a big Tetris that is my task to solve in the best way.
– It started with pains in my foot and visits to a physiotherapist. They gave me a lot of rehab exercises that had to be done several times every day. At first, I found it difficult and did not understand how to do it with my work situation. We all know how important motion is, but I never see or hear of a driver doing it when I'm out driving.
Peter, who is used to being injury-free and had exercise and motion as a natural part of his free time, was not too happy at the physiotherapist's advice.
– When, like me, you are used to being able to move freely and feel strong and stable, I also knew what I wanted to maintain. I want to keep going for a long time and avoid future injuries. So the motivation for the long term was there but rehab is not fun; prehab is more fun.
Peter began to modify the rehab exercises that were prescribed so as to get them done during shifts and do them outside the truck cab.
– Once I had got started, I realised how easy it is to just use my own body weight, the truck and all our tools and accessories we have with us on the rig all the time to get a workout for the whole body. That's how it started. From that day on, I have used my breaks and rest times to move instead of lying around and looking at a series. You have time to watch the series after you have done your exercise and it is even better to lie down and relax when the body has stretched out and worked up a little pulse.
– One day when I stopped in a parking area next to another truck, that driver got out of the cab and before even saying hi he said “oh hell, how stiff I am” and took hold of his back. Then it became clear to me that bodily health affects you to such an extent that such simple things as a hello are lost with the pain and stiffness this driver felt. At the same time, I read an article in Transportarbetaren about a man who, because of his work as a driver, got osteoarthritis and then I felt “I don’t want to end up there and no one should have to end up there”. So a thought occurred to me: I have a routine for this with motion during the shift - how can I inspire others? Then it didn't take long before I had started up my Instagram account and just started filming my own motion breaks.
– I have no pain anymore. And I've become more mobile than I've ever been. What has also changed, which I was not prepared for, was that the movement has helped me, so that for the first time I have found what you might call balance in life and have better and more even energy during the days.
Here are some mobility exercises you can try next time it's time to park your truck and get moving.