Britain’s four million van drivers have been warned of the serious health risks they face from sitting behind the wheel every day.
Motoring experts from LeaseVan issued the warning after researching the health dangers of being seated in a driving position for up to eight hours every day.
With millions of van drivers spending the majority of their working lives sat behind the wheel the researchers found they were at increased risk of health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Jobs, such as driving, which feature prolonged periods in a seated position were even found to be linked with increased cancer risks.
LeaseVan supply thousands of vans across the UK each year but estimate that many drivers could be overweight as they struggle to get enough exercise.
Here are LeaseVan top tips for drivers to stay healthy:
- Plan your meals. By preparing lunch the night before drivers can avoid greasy takeaways and save cash too.
- Know your routes. Drivers are encouraged to research their routes and not rely too heavily on sat nav. Knowing the route can help them avoid congestion trouble spots and reduce time spent sitting.
- Take regular breaks. Even pulling over and stepping out for two minutes can make a massive difference.
- Park away from the job. Van drivers should avoid pulling up right outside an address. By parking on the next street they can gain vital exercise.
- Grab your tools. It’s difficult for drivers to find the time to visit the gym but by using the tools of the trade they can easily fit a workout in during their working day. A toolbox makes a great weight for curls and lunges.
- Use the van. Even the vehicle itself can be utilised as a mobile gym with drivers blasting out push ups and dips while parked up.
- Be mindful. Drivers should try to stay calm and avoid anger and frustration while out on the roads. So take a deep breath and simply smile if cut up.
- Track it. Drivers can use an app on their phone to measure activity and record hours sat down at work.
The researchers found that life on the road also led to a poor diet for many drivers who are forced to dine at garages and motorway service stations.
Now the company has issued a health warning to drivers to make them aware of the risks they face from their sedentary lifestyle.
They are also offering eight top health tips, encouraging drivers to take regular breaks and make the time to climb out of their vans and get some exercise.
Grabbing a tool box to blast out some bicep curls while safely parked or even utilising their vehicles for a quick set of tricep dips off the back bumper were just two of the tips LeaseVan offered drivers.
They also urged drivers to use their smartphones to track the hours they spent sitting and also download a fitness app to encourage them to exercise during a lunch or coffee break throughout the day.
Gareth Roberts from LeaseVan said:
“Britain’s van drivers are the lifeblood of the UK economy. They are often small business owners who do a hectic and stressful job navigating busy roads to attend to their customers. They are sat behind the wheel for much of the day yet despite being seated their stress levels are often sky high as they deal with traffic jams and other road users. This leads to an increase in adrenaline and stress hormone cortisol in the blood stream so it’s little wonder many drivers struggle with health issues such as diabetes and obesity. We have issued our warning just to remind van drivers that they need to prioritise their own health as highly as their devotion to getting the job done. We understand that many work incredibly long hours and it can be difficult to make the right food choices or find time to exercise but a little meal planning and a few improvised exercises in the van itself can make a huge difference. Some experts have commented that sitting down all day is the new smoking. We are saying to van drivers just get out from behind the steering wheel throughout the day and stay healthy. The health risks they face should not be ignored and we take every drivers well-being very seriously. Our strategy outlines a few small ways in which they can improve their health, which we hope will make a big difference.”