Archive for the ‘Health Awareness’ Category

March 3rd, 2015

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Life is full of stressful moments. We’ve all experienced common, everyday stress brought on by job interviews, exams, illnesses, etc. These types of short-term stresses are normal and can even be positive in some cases by increasing alertness and preparing us to handle adverse situations.

Stress-filled events occurring over a long period of time, however, may cause chronic stress that can lead to severe health problems. There are many factors that can contribute to stress. The most ironic is probably the fact that health issues, such as diabetes or heart disease, can cause stress, which in turn may lead to other health problems.

Many times, stress is induced by emotional problems, such as pent-up anger and frustration that goes unexpressed, grief, depression, guilt or low self-esteem. Major life changes including the death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, losing your job or the birth of a child are all common stressors.

It’s important to note that stress is exacerbated by the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs — outlets that have been proven to keep the body in a stressed state.

 

Recognizing the signs of stress

Stress affects us psychologically and physically. Common physical effects include headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, reduced sex drive, upset stomach and sleep deprivation. Common psychological effects are anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, irritability and depression.

There are strategies for coping with stress that are proven effective. Recent studies have shown that one of the most successful coping mechanisms for regulating emotions, managing tension and facilitating relaxation is listening to music.

That’s right! Music can stimulate and soothe, calm and energize; it can change our mood and help us concentrate, while at the same time, taking our minds off of the daily stressors in our lives. A favorite tune can be a wonderful pick-me-up when you’re stressed.

Listening to music is a safe, mood-boosting activity you can enjoy when you’re unwinding after a day on the road, cooking dinner or working out. While it’s understood that choosing music that will have the desired effect is a matter of personal preference, we’ve taken the liberty of including the titles of some of our favorite truck-driving themed songs. Enjoy!

 

  • Roll On (18 Wheeler) — Alabama

Told from the point of view of a truck driver’s children who just want him to, “Roll on daddy, ‘til you get back home.”

  • Give Me 40 Acres (To Turn This Rig Around) — Willis Brothers

What else can you say to a cop who pulls you over for going the wrong way down a one-way street in Boston?

  • Tombstone Every Mile — Dick Curless

Ever driven in Aroostook County, Maine? If you do, be careful driving through the Hainesville Woods.

  • Six Days on the Road — Dave Dudley

Tells of the joys and hardships of being on the road and the glorious anticipation of getting back home again.

  • East Bound and Down — Jerry Reed

A top-40 hit from the sound track to the classic trucker movie, Smokey and the Bandit.

  • Convoy — C.W. McCall

This song helped popularize the CB craze of the 70’s and kept us on the lookout for “Bears”.

  • Truck Drivin’ Man — Boxcar Willie

Written and recorded by Terry Fell in 1954, it’s been recorded by over 50 artists. We like Boxcar’s version.

  • Phantom 309 — Red Sovine

A classic take on a popular ghost story theme.

  • I’ve Been Everywhere — Johnny Cash

How many of these towns have you been to?

  • 60,000 Pounds of Bananas — Harry Chapin

A silly little song, the live version will have you tapping your fingers and laughing out loud.

  • Blue Highway — Billy Idol

On having American pride on the big, long, “blue” highway.

  • Teddy Bear — Red Sovine

A trucking tearjerker.


Do you have a few favorites songs or stress coping methods of your own? Share them with us at www.facebook.com/ConwayTruckload.

 

February 2nd, 2015

The month of February is famously symbolized by images of the heart, representing love, affection and, of course, the arrival of Valentine’s Day. But there is another connection between the heart and the second month of a new year — February is American Heart Month. Now is a great time to reflect on New Year’s resolutions that have already been kicked to the curb, and renew our commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

As part of this commitment we urge you to learn more about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how to prevent it.

CVD — including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure — is the number one cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Disabilities resulting from CVD account for more than $300 billion a year in health care services, loss of productivity and medical treatments.

Luckily, there is hope. Most cases of CVD are preventable with simple lifestyle changes. We encourage you to take charge of your health right now and make better choices; if not for you personally, then for those who love you and want you around for a long time.

First of all, don’t try to do this alone. If you already have a primary care provider, be sure to schedule a checkup at least once a year. Ask them to check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If it’s determined that you have high blood pressure, or if you’ve already been diagnosed, purchase a blood pressure cuff that can travel with you. This will enable you to self-monitor both at home and on the road.

Maintaining a healthy weight is achievable through diet and exercise. We all know how difficult it can be for professional drivers to eat healthy and get enough exercise on the road, but it can be done. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and choose foods that are low in fat and high in fiber. Take brisk walks when you stop for a break, do a few crunches or sit-ups. And when at home, schedule 20 minutes a day for an exercise you enjoy.

If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. If you smoke — quit. Easy to say, I know, but it is an unavoidable fact that smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. Con-way Truckload provides our employees with access to wellness coaching, which can help with smoking cessation.

Finally, learn to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack. Seconds matter and swift recognition could save your life. Symptoms include chest pain, discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath, pounding or changes in heart rhythm, heartburn, nausea, cold sweats or dizziness may also be sign of cardiovascular distress.

The best piece of advice has been saved for last — don’t get discouraged! These changes won’t happen overnight. Just keep in mind that every positive step you take to a healthier lifestyle is a positive step toward a healthier heart and a healthier future. Also, don’t forget to wear red on February 6 for National Wear Red Day in support of women’s heart health awareness.

For more information about American Heart Month, visit www.heart.org. Also, please share your heart healthy tips with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/conwaytruckload.

 

January 22nd, 2015

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It’s that time of year once again — Flu Season. Chances are that you, a family member, a colleague or a friend has caught the influenza bug going around this year, and it likely wasn’t fun. Truck drivers have one of the most important jobs in the country, and that is why we need to take extra precautions this season to stay as healthy as we can.

Here are a few easy steps you can take to avoid flu germs this winter.

1)   Get a flu shot. This is the number one method for preventing the flu. While reports state the flu shot does not match up as well as hoped to the most common flu strains this year, the shot has the ability to lessen the effects if you do contract the flu by building antibodies.

2)   Sanitize. Keep hand sanitizer available in your truck for use after customer or public interactions. Also, keep a container of antibacterial wipes available for wiping down your driving space. Don’t forget to sanitize items you touch often – a cell phone, steering wheel, radio dials.

3)   Hydrate. Keep a large, re-usable water bottle in your truck. They more hydrated you are, the more likely you are to stay healthy. Tea is another great flu-fighting beverage.

4)   Eat well. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of getting enough nutrients and protein into your body.

5)   Sleep. Shoot for eight hours of shuteye every night. Give your body the rest it needs.

6)   Avoid. Try to avoid contact with sick people. Stay aware of any interactions you may have had with germs, and take care of yourself accordingly.

Inevitably, no matter how careful we are, some of us will end up with the flu this year. In that case, prevent the spread of germs, relieve your symptoms and get back on the road quickly by:

  •  Continuing to hydrate your body
  • Taking vitamins. Vitamin C helps your body fight infection and zinc helps relieve symptoms faster
  • Coughing/sneezing into a tissue to avoid spreading germs
  • Washing your hands often.
  • Visiting the doctor. If your symptoms persist, make an appointment with your health care provider.

As always, you are the captain of your own ship and if you feel under the weather please contact Operations. For more information on flu prevention, visit www.FLU.gov.

Do you have any flu-fighting tips to share with other drivers? Please tell us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/conwaytruckload.