Navigating the urban jungle while being in the driver’s seat an exhilarating experience. However, driving can also take a toll on your health. Press reports estimate that drivers between Dubai and Sharjah spend over twenty hours a week—over a quarter of the work week— in heavy traffic. According to estimates by the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai, delays and traffic jams cost approximately 4.6 billion dollars in fuel and wasted time. However, the bigger and inestimable effect is that on the health of drivers. Understanding how to stay healthy as a busy urban driver is essential to long-term health.
Water is a driver’s best friend. Long hours spent behind the wheel in a seated position can cause you to cramp up and water can help you stave off exhaustion. Even within the comfort of an air-conditioned car, dehydration is a very real threat that can be remedied by the consumption of fresh fruit juices or water.
Even fifteen minutes of exercise every day can help you be a healthier and better driver. Exercising the lower and upper back, arms, and legs build muscle strength, enabling you to make it through long-distance drives in better shape. Even a regular calisthenics routine is beneficial to making you a healthier driver.
More often than not, fast food is the only option while on the road. As a driver, you are in the best position to appreciate the effect of bad fuel on your car. Similarly, eating over-salted, greasy or sugar-filled junk food can be dangerous, especially when combined with being seated for a 4-hour drive every day. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that people who are stuck in traffic are thrice as likely to have a heart attack while in a traffic jam. Eating heart-healthy foods such as fruit, nuts, and salads significantly mitigate the risk of these long-term effects.
If you are stuck in a traffic jam on the way to that important meeting, it is important to prepare for such situations using relaxation techniques. Calming music and relaxing stretches, while you are stopped, loosens the muscles and can help you destress while on the road. Maintaining an ergonomic posture and practicing breathing exercises are also excellent ways to ward off the harmful effects of stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a driver’s best friend—arguably, the most important factor in keeping you healthy on the road. Getting enough sleep improves your alertness, overall sense of well-being and resistance to stressors on the road. Getting a full night’s sleep can prevent aches in your back and legs and help your body combat stress.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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