Regularly sitting in vehicles during long shifts can take its toll on a taxi drivers physical health. Here we look at some ways in which cabbies can counteract their sedentary working lives, while at work and at home.
The Heralds columnist, cabbie Colin Dobson, recently released an articleˡ in which he discusses why he feels it is important for his health and wellbeing to keep active. Colin particularly enjoys taking time out of his cab to walk around his local area. Walking has obvious health benefits but another advantage he found was in experiencing a different perspective to the streets and sights he sees every day as a taxi driver.
Colin explains “In a life spent mostly working on the road, it is important to get out of the taxi and walk around. Not least for physical exercise, but also because it enables me to see things which I would never otherwise have seen.
Colin spends a lot of time in and around the Saint Clements Street area of Oxford, which is renowned by the council for being the town’s most polluted street. However, one particular night he decided to park up his cab and enjoyed walking around the terraced streets, delivering invitations to his local parish church. He enjoyed the interesting architecture and people he met along the way.
He wrote of the experience: “Walking, rather than driving, offers a wholly different and more detailed perspective to very familiar streets.”
Health Benefits of walking
Firstly, it’s free! No costly monthly direct debit for gym memberships, or paying to attend sports groups or fitness classes, means that walking can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get fit. According to the NHS², walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise – but it can be one of the simplest ways to lose weight. Walking briskly can build your stamina, burn calories and improve your heart rate.
How to Stay Motivated
As with any exercise, if it becomes a chore you will more than likely lose motivation – instead, try to think of this as creating a new habit. Find ways of introducing walking into your daily routine – perhaps when you stop for a food break during your shift, you could park up the cab and take 10 minutes to walk while you eat, or to help digest your meal afterwards before you get back on the road.
Another way of keeping your walks from feeling like a burden is to plan interesting routes to wander within. As Colin found there can be hidden gems in any town or city – within parks, canal paths or woodland areas to name just a few.
It might be helpful to find a friend or family member to walk with so that you can tie in exercise with socialising and help pass the time during your stroll. You could even look into the possibility of joining a walking group in your local area, which is also a great way to combine socialising and exercise. If you would rather keep this as a solo activity, lots of people enjoy listening to music or podcasts as a distraction. This can help you walk faster and get into a rhythm – and you’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes!
Another benefit to incorporating technology into your exercise is to track your activity and if desired, track your progress – there are several different apps available that will allow you to track a number of different factors such as distance, steps and calories burned.
Top Exercises for Drivers
It is recommended that adults between the ages of 19 and 65 average 150 minutes of exercise per week to stay healthy³. Regular exercise can help you look and feel better. It can also reduce your risk of heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Here are some simple exercises you can do outside of your vehicle:
- Walk up and down sets of stairs
- Shoulder circles
- Push-ups on a short wall
While inside your cab it is a good idea to should keep an eye on your posture – make sure you sit up straight and receive adequate support from your seat and remove items from your pockets. Your car probably has some handy storage pockets for keeping your keys and phone while you drive!
This video provides some simple tips and exercises you can do inside your cab – perfect for a rainy day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOtDJsU06c