Congratulations to Jeff Clark, the Truckers News 2008 Health Hero of the Year. Clark, the March Fit for the Road Health Hero, was selected from an outstanding field of truckers who have taken heroic steps to improve their health. It’s not an easy quest, and the obstacles often seem overwhelming to truckers trying to lose weight and become more fit. For Clark, like many truckers, controlling his high blood pressure was a constant struggle. There never seemed to be enough time to exercise, and when there was time, it was the last thing he felt like doing. When his doctor finally told him he’d lose his CDL if he didn’t do something about it, he made the decision to start moving.
He is the first to say the trucking life is a hard one. The Chicago-area company driver pulls six loads a week, adding up to nearly 140,000 miles a year. Still, he manages to incorporate exercise and good nutrition into his schedule. This year he finished two marathons and numerous 5K races in spite of injuries and setbacks. He runs, walks and cycles whenever he can fit it in. But he says the key is to plan your fitness routine like you plan your routes. “We need to take better care of ourselves,” Clark says. “That’s got to be your top priority.”
Since he overhauled his sedentary lifestyle into an active one, his blood pressure, cholesterol and overall cardiac health has dramatically improved. His goal is to encourage other truckers to become more fit. “I’m always on the lookout for truckers who look like they are trying to walk or exercise at the truckstop,” he says. “I try to encourage them – will even ask if they want to walk/run with me. It’s slowly changing, but there’s a long way to go.” He’s been a big fan of the Fit for the Road program and says the spotlight on trucker health issues is crucial to the future of the industry.
I’d like to thank all the health heroes and participants in the Fit for the Road program this year. We couldn’t have done it without Dr. Ronald Rush, who provided you with valuable medical advice; Linda Dunn, who focused on your fitness needs; and Pam Whitfield, who offered practical nutrition solutions for losing weight.
Thanks to all of you who took a good look at the state of your health and decided to take the first steps toward improving your diet and fitness.