Brian Joss – As you head toward your family holiday destination this year, your health and those of your passengers should be a priority. This will assist in ensuring you arrive at your destination stress-free and safely so that you can enjoy your well-deserved break.
Nutrition: An individual is considered to be healthy if they include three things in their lifestyle: nutritious eating, exercise and healthy sleep patterns. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says: “We can apply the same principles to ensure that we are healthy drivers. In the run up to your trip, avoid unhealthy foods like takeout meals and ensure you follow the eating plan you believe in properly. On the day that you drive, take some extra time to pack nutritious snacks and water rather than rely on fast food or convenience store snacks.
“Irrespective of which eating plan that you follow, there definite foods that one should avoid as these increase drowsiness or reduce concentration levels. This includes not eating at all, eating oily foods that can cause heartburn or stomach problems, spicy foods and heavy foods like pasta should be avoided.”
Sleep: It is well-known that one should get a good night’s sleep before driving. “As soon as you get less than seven hours of sleep you are affected in a number of ways. If you miss two hours of sleep you double your chances of a crash. If you get less than five hours, it is as dangerous as driving while drunk.
“If you struggle to get the recommended hours of sleep the night before you leave, rather sleep in and leave a bit later than intended. If you are sharing driving duties, ask the other person to drive first while you sleep a bit more. Arriving a bit later than intended is better than not arriving at all.”
Exercise: The last way to ensure you are a healthy driver, is exercise.
“Ensure you make time for an exercise session the day before you leave. If exercise is not usually something you do, still take time from your packing for a 20-minute walk anyway. It reduces stress levels and improves sleep.
“Drivers must also take breaks every two hours. During these breaks, take a brisk walk or do some exercise like jumping jacks which will increase concentration and reduce chances of back or shoulder ache from sitting in the same position for so long,” says Herbert.
Following the same principles that you would to be healthy in your daily life can help you be a healthy driver as well this holiday season.
CAPTION: Get exercise: Picture: Nathan Cowley