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WELL-BEING For Drivers

Long term work is on driver Health is being undertaken by Judith Batson and Bill Hayford.

Here is Judith’s article on this important matter




Judith Batson 

Greetings everyone! 

You know in the grand scheme of things, an expanding waistline is of no significance.  But in terms of the potential to put you at greater risk of illness, it can become the most important factor!  Take heart you skinny ninnies, don’t get too smug; if your cholesterol or blood pressure is high, you too can also be putting your health at risk!  So every one of us needs to be watchful of what we eat to maintain our health, and how we eat.  The main concern is that as professional drivers we are at a stark disadvantage, because the nature of our job being so sedentary, movement becomes even more important to us.   What’s that saying? As work begets work, so idleness begets idleness.   The less we move, the less it seems that we want to move.   Eat less (if you’re given to excess) and move more should be the order of the each day! 


‘Your health is your wealth, so treasure it!’


So what do you think would motivate you to make better lifestyle choices for yourself, minus the excuses?  The thought of changing is more difficult than the process itself.   Human nature always seems to champion the path of least resistance.  Even more so when we work on the road!  Our habits have a way of becoming entrenched until we are challenged to make a change.   I know from first-hand experience.  When I started my chauffeuring career, I used to eat up to 4 bars of chocolate a day, and 2 grab bag of crisps as well as other meals,  I followed the path of least resistance because I couldn’t think of any healthy alternatives, truth be known I didn’t want to!  I liked my sugar and salt fixes (well at least I thought I did) until I wondered why my energy levels were always so low and I felt chronically tired ALL THE TIME!   These habits had been entrenched for many years, even though I had once adopted a strict vegetarian diet in my late teens, so I knew that eating right was not beyond my reach, but somehow 20 years down the line, I had lost my way (real bad!).  I must admit there was some stark wake up calls that acted as a catalyst to help me to change, but really just wanting to improve my well-being while at work was motivation enough!  But the thought of giving up my chocolate seemed like a very painful prospect at the time.  So I had to take on a completely different approach.  These points made such a difference.


  1. Take ownership for your own state of health.  It’s very easy to offer the no time factor excuse, but really we could make the time, and once you have decided in your mind to include or increase more activity/exercise into your life, it will just become a habit, rather than an unwanted intrusion to your day.   As part of my own personal journey to improve my well-being, I re-ignited my passion for Yoga, and I had to find time to fit in a 90 minute class (albeit at home), but I did it all having to work daily 12 hour + shifts for 6 years and initially for the first couple of months I had to practice every day – in reality I only managed 4-5 days a week, which was not bad for someone who was still working around 60 hours a week!  Yes I did adjust my shift pattern to help me maintain a 3 times a week practice, so it can be done, and this helped me to manage my weight and develop a better eating habits.
  2. Be honest with yourself.   If you have thrown a lot of money on monthly gym membership subscriptions (As I had done previously) then maybe a different approach is called for!
  3. Be accountable to someone a good friend/colleague.  The workshops that I wish to create could become a source of accountability, so watch this space. …
  4. Many of us were quite active when we were younger so draw upon this reserve within you, to help you decide what you would like to do.
  5. Do not get hung up on eating right initially, but use the effects of exercise to help change your physiology, and this in turn will help you choose the right foods.  Deep down we all know what wholesome foods are; fresh fruit & veg, Natural fruit juices (not from concentrate) and wholemeal bread pasta etc.  80% of good and 20% of what you fancy is a good yardstick to go by, because you don’t need to be a food martyr to be healthy.
  6. Evaluate your own relationship with food.   Write a food journal for 3-5 days and be aware that if you have cravings for foods with high sugar/salt content, it may be a sign your sugar levels are low, or some other nutritional deficiencies.   But just having regular snacks during the day could help avert this.   I am not going to suggest foods that you to have eat, but you will know what has worked for you in the past, it’s a good idea to eat normally and gradually introduce healthy alternatives whenever you can.
  7. You will find that once you find a form of exercise that you look forward to, you will notice that the food you will eat will change anyway, because you will want to eat food that will support your training efforts.   And when you do exercise, train as if you were going for (an Olympic) Gold, and reawaken the athlete within!


    Bill Hayford on behalf of the GMB Driver’s Branch has very kindly begun to set the ball rolling for us, in our well-being campaign by signing up to a scheme available for GMB members (and their families), to help them gain better access to fitness facilities, giving professional drivers greater freedom to attend a swimming session or gym facility in London and & suburbs with: –

    This will have to be accessed via the GMB website and only members will get the 20% discount!



    So no more wasted gym membership fees!

    Ok – It’s a RAP!  Till next time.

    Eat less and move more!

    Then watch the pounds melt away!

    Just keep going and let the process work for you, I hope this helps!

    All the best!


Posted: 6th January 2015

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