Helping Haulage Companies Keep Drivers Healthier

Apr 22 09:36 2015 Lisa Jeeves Print This Article

Haulage companies often have a hard time dealing with the fitness of drivers. One former haulier from the US is using numbers to help combat the problem. 

If you’ve worked as a long distance driver,Guest Posting you'll know how potentially challenging the life of a haulier can be. Long hours focusing on the road, sleep cycles regularly being flipped at a moment’s notice, unhealthy fast-food meals, a sedentary lifestyle, stress from deadlines – the list goes on. While the positives in the job definitely outweigh these challenges, they do need to be considered.

These problems are inherent to the occupation of hauling loads over long distances, however there is a new tool that could help ease the burden of finding just the right solution: data crunching.

The Issue with Fad Diets and Blanket Regimens

It can be tempting for haulage companies to simply direct their workers to live healthier; pointing to one diet or workout regimen to serve as a cure-all for fitness-related problems. This approach, however, does not account for differing lifestyles and physiologies of the individual haulier - a regimen that works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

This is why some hauliers either take on a regimen that is too draining and exhausting to maintain, or one that is unable to affect any changes for the better. It can be a serious problem for haulage companies seeking a solution to help keep their hauliers in shape.
But one former haulier by the name of Siphiwe Baleka may have come across a useful tool to help deal with this issue: data gathered from fitness-tracking wearables.

Data-Churning Wearables

Baleka found it frustratingly difficult to keep himself fit while on the job hauling cargo across the United States. Traditional workouts simply ate up too much of his time – a serious no-no when on a schedule – while many of the diets he encountered were simply unsustainable when faced with the average food you would find along the road.

After years of self-experimentation, Baleka formulated his own fitness and nutrition program especially designed for hauliers. The best thing, however, was that this program did not utilize a one-size-fits-all solution. He used smart wearables – specifically fitness-tracking armbands – to collect information about the meals and physical activities of a number of drivers. He then used this information to change very specific parts of a particular driver's regimen strategically, instead of changing the whole thing randomly and haphazardly.

Finding the Key Components

Baleka works with Metabolic Equivalents of Task (MET) numbers that are used to calculate the costs of a specific physical activity in relation to the metabolism of the driver. This data can then be used to come up with scaling programs for each driver. The scaling part is especially important, as what constitutes as a vigorous activity for one could be triflingly inadequate for others.

The data gathered also helped Baleka identify factors such as how the excess bread in sub sandwiches contributed to excess energy, and how stuffing more meat instead of bread in that sub sandwich reduces the carbohydrate intake while still providing a filling meal! This same data also helped Baleka craft simple workouts that drivers could do while going about their jobs, such as walking around parked trucks and running strength bouts in shower stalls.

What Does This Mean for Haulage Companies?

It may be tempting to conclude that all a company needs to do is slap some fitness-tracking wearables on their drivers to solve the problem. Yet in Baleka’s case, his company invested in his expertise as a fitness coordinator and his job was to actually crunch the data and come up with programs for the drivers. Without his expertise, the data would just have been a lot of words, letters and numbers that didn't mean much on their own.

Employee fitness is something that certainly does require and investment to set up and maintain. The potential return on that investment, however, is something that haulage companies need to factor into the equation – especially when it comes to keeping their drivers productive.

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About Article Author

Lisa Jeeves
Lisa Jeeves

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry in the UK and Europe. It provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work in the domestic and international markets. Over 3,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment. 

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