When is the last time you worked out? Our survey of taxi drivers in NYC found that approximately one in five drivers never exercises. Drivers tend to be less physically active because of the long hours they spend sitting in their cabs. This low activity lifestyle puts taxi drivers at a greater risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
Being active can reduce your risk of these diseases, and can provide other benefits. Exercise can reduce stress, improve your mood, help you build healthy muscles and bones, increase strength and energy, and help you keep a healthy weight.
Adults should do:
At least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity all together in a week. Moderate physical activity is exercise that increases your heart rate and causes you to start sweating. An example of moderate physical activity is fast walking.
At least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity all together in a week. Vigorous physical activity is exercise that causes heavy sweating and large increases in heart rate. When you do vigorous physical activity, you can only say a few words before having to stop to take a breath. An example of vigorous physical activity is running.
Physical activity can be done in smaller amounts of time, but should be for at least 10 minutes at time. It is also recommended that you do muscle-strengthening exercises, such as push-ups or lunges, at least two times a week.
It may seem difficult to start exercising more, but there are tips that can make it easier! Studies have shown that people who exercise with a friend or family member have an easier time. Try making exercise goals with a fellow driver, a friend or a family member. Throughout the day, find little ways to get active! Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk, or play with your kids or grandkids. In addition, walk around your car one time each hour to help your heart health.
You can also try to do exercises while sitting in your car. Some exercises are listed below.
- To release stress in your neck and shoulders with shoulder shrugs:Lift your shoulders up toward your ears, hold for 8 to 10 seconds, and lower. Repeat.
- To strengthen your inner thighs:Place a small pillow or empty plastic bottle between your knees and squeeze. Repeat.
- To strengthen your leg muscles:Lift toes, hold 10 seconds, relax and repeat.
- To work your calf muscles:Lift your heels up off the floor; hold them off the floor for 8-10 seconds. Relax, let your feet return to the floor, then repeat.
- To strengthen your arm muscles:Hold on to the handle above the window and engage the biceps as though you are going to pull yourself out of your seat. Hold for 8-10 seconds, and then relax. Switch seats, if possible, after a rest stop to work the other arm.
Always remember to talk to a doctor before starting a new exercise plan and get ready to get moving! Call the Taxi Network, a community organization for taxi drivers, at 917-280-3286 or visit taxinetwork.mskcc.org for more health information and resources.