In fact, according to TruckersNews, sedentary behavior is associated with 35 chronic diseases and health conditions, and truckers have a much higher incidence of obesity than the rest of the working population. Fully 80% of truckers have at least one risk factor for a chronic disease.
Prolonged sitting, even in the most comfortable seats, has been shown to be the cause of a number of health concerns. Sitting for prolonged periods of time every day can lead to:
- heart problems
- high blood pressure
As we know, heart problems and diabetes can potentially be career-ending conditions for a truck driver, and should be taken seriously. In addition, the simple body mechanics of sitting compress the lower body, and, combined with the constant vibration of a truck’s engine, can cause:
- chronic leg pain
- leg swelling and edema
- varicose veins
- lower back pain
The easiest way to mitigate some of these problems associated with long periods of time in the driver’s seat is to invest in better seating.
Good truck seats and seat cushioning can absorb the vibration of the engine, reduce pressure on the lower body, and improve posture, reducing strain on the lower back and spine. Being attentive to the ergonomic needs of your body is an important safety measure for your long-term health and career success.
If you are driving a company truck and can’t get custom seats, the next best alternative is to invest in seat cushions or covers that provide many of those benefits, in a way that is fast and portable. Today we are taking a look at some of the most popular seat cushions on the market, to see which ones might work best to ease the pain of prolonged sitting, and have the durability to last a truck driver’s lifestyle.
Best Truck Seat Cushions
The SOJOY heat cushion is compact and efficient, with many features that make it helpful for comfort in a truck. It has an ergonomic shape that promotes circulation without putting additional pressure on your tailbone. It is heated to add comfort and luxury on long drives, with quick heating and even heat distribution. Buckle installation makes it easy to install, and anti-slip silicone keeps it in place.
- Universal fit for DC 12V vehicles with standard car seats
- Quick warming feature produces heat in 3-5 minutes
- Heats at high, medium, low, and off settings
- Produces up to 50 degree celsius surface temperature
- Timer operates at 45-minute intervals
- Removable orthopedic wedge tilts the pelvis to improve posture and relieve lower back pain
- No-flatten design combines breathable polyester with dense ventilated mesh and memory foam comfort
- Waterproof for cleanup and spills
- Non-slip attachable strap and elasticized belts attach cushion securely to car seat
- Size: 18.5 x 16.2 x 3.1 inches
- Non-flattening design keeps its shape and function over time
- Sized for car seats, not truck seats
This SkyGenius orthopedic memory foam car seat cushion is designed to ease pressure on the tailbone and correct your posture for enduring comfort and pain relief. High density memory foam provides comfort and keeps its shape over time. The non-slip rubber bottom keeps it in place, so it’s lightweight and portable anywhere you may need it.
- Optimum Tailbone Support: U-shaped cut-out ergonomic design allows your tailbone to “float” but not bear the pressure of the whole body. Helps to relieve coccyx, tailbone, sciatica, back, and hip pain.
- 100% memory foam with high density and low rebound. Wraps the hip totally while maintaining the shape over time. Perfect for long driving or sitting at a computer for extended periods
- Soft and comfortable: made of durable, breathable, washable fabric, with a non-slip rubber bottom.
- Size: 17.3 x 13.8 x 2.8 inches. Sized for an office desk chair, car, truck, plane, wheelchair, or stadium seats
- Highly portable and will fit anywhere
- It may not stay in place for long use
The Big Ant car seat cover is waterproof and anti-slip, protecting your car seats and the value of your car. By reducing damage from spills, scratches, and wear and tear, not only is your car more comfortable for you, but it preserves the resale value. The striking red and black color is eye-catching and stylish, and it is sized to fit most cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Easy to install and comfortable, this is a good seat cover.
- Car Protector Universal Application: designed to fit front passenger seats or car back seats on all standard vehicles, trucks & SUVs.
- Healthy and Comfortable Material: Made of high-elasticity sponge, heat-insulated cloth, and a non-woven exterior, it stays soft and cool even in hot weather
- Non-slip Rubber Back: bottom pad designed with anti-slip rubber, to prevent slipping or shifting off of seats. Attaches with elastic band and buckles.
- Easy to Clean: clean it with a damp cloth. Because it’s easy to remove, it can also be taken out and vacuumed easily
- The slip in/slip out design moves easily from vehicle to vehicle
- It has an eye-catching design
- Will protect car upholstery from spills, scratches, and pet hair
- This seat cover is not particularly cushioned or padded, and may not meet the more rigorous ergonomic needs of a truck driver.
The Xtreme Comforts Ortho-seat is ergonomically designed to relieve pressure on the coccyx and ease lower back pain. It promotes healthy posture and spine alignment, and creates superior comfort. Made of memory foam with a breathable, washable cover, this seat cushion is durable and won’t go flat or get lumpy over time. Non-skid bottom keeps the cushion in place while you drive.
- Ergonomically designed with a doctor-recommended U shaped cut out, creating a comfortable space that allows your tailbone to “float” rather than being pressed against the surface where you are sitting and alleviates the pressure placed by your body.
- Contoured surface design distributes body weight across the seat, easing pressure points on the spine and tailbone.
- Encourages a healthy posture and proper lumbar spine alignment to reduce back pain and increase blood flow to the legs.
- Non-skid anti-slip bottom keeps cushion in place. Works for an office chair, dining room, living room, or take it with you to sporting events. Great for a car or truck seat cushion. Place it on the floor for yoga, meditation, or as a kneeling pad for tasks.
- Ultra deluxe active memory foam holds its shape and never goes flat. It remains uniform in thickness, conforming your shape, to provide you with the support you need for comfortable seating time after time.
- The sturdy, removable, zippered, black mesh cover is machine washable and delivers superior breathability and proper air circulation while standing up to tough everyday use.
- Money back guarantee. If you aren’t 100% satisfied, simply return it within 2 years
- This cushion is lightweight and portable
- Machine washable cover is a nice feature for long use
- The non-skid bottom may stain or mark chairs and furniture
- It is not comfortable for some people, particularly those who are big and tall
The Gideon premium orthopedic seat cushion is an attractive black and grey, made of memory foam with a breathable mesh cover. It has a non-skid bottom to keep it in place, and is designed to promote proper spine alignment and reduce pressure on the lower back. Designed to manage health problems discretely, it is easy to take anywhere.
- Eases pressure and lower back pain, along with pelvic soreness or aches. Provides pain relief by altering your posture to take pressure off your hip, back, legs, pelvic area, and tailbone. Lets you sit for several hours without aches, pain or soreness.
- The cut-away space at the center allows relief for medical conditions that require zero contact at the genital area when seated. Ideal for prostatitis, hemorrhoids, pelvic floor disorders, and post delivery recovery for mothers. It is more effective and more comfy than donut shaped pillows.
- Includes an elevated back section to encourage a healthy sitting posture and ensures the spine and tailbone are balanced for weight distribution.
- Constructed with soft and breathable fabric to help remain comfortable and cool for several hours of sitting
- Includes a non-slip bottom so the cushion doesn’t move while sitting
- Has a washable zippered cover to ensure you’re able to keep it clean for long term use.
- Will definitely remain firm and offer years of support. The great thing is that it’s light, making it easier enough to take with you if you travel.
- Size: 18” x 13.4”
- Design is discrete and doesn’t visually indicate medical problems
- Portable for use in a variety of situations
- It can be stiff and uncomfortable
- It is often folded awkwardly during shipping and doesn’t unfold properly
No matter which seat cushion you choose, it’s important to look out for your health and safeguard a long career as a truck driver. Here are some tips you can adopt right now:
- Add a seat cushion to protect your spine from prolonged vibrations
- Choose a seat cushion that provides support to your lower back and encourages good posture
- Don’t adopt a posture where you are leaning forward, hunched over the wheel
- Don’t keep a bulky wallet in your back pocket where it will throw off your alignment
- Protect your eyes. Wear high-quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Remember that UVA rays can penetrate glass and impact your eyes and skin even inside your truck.
- Wear sunscreen every day. Truck drivers are exposed to hours of sunlight every day, even inside the cab, even on a cloudy day, and are at a higher risk for skin cancer. Using a good sunscreen every day protects your skin
- If you can’t take breaks and physically get up and move around every couple hours, make an effort to do a little extra movement during the breaks you do take. Walk around the rig while refueling, or take a couple extra minutes during a lunch break to take a quick walk. Just two 10-minute intervals of moderate exercise a day is enough to help prevent heart disease.
- Even when behind the wheel, look out for your health by periodically rotating your neck and shoulders. Tapping your feet when listening to music keeps lower body circulation moving.
- Sleep is critical for good health and very difficult for truckers. Invest in the highest quality berth mattress and pillow that you can, and use a sleep mask, white noise generator (there are a number of apps for that), and anything else you need to be as comfortable and sleep as deeply as possible.
- To get the best sleep you can, avoid caffeine in the evening. Many truck drivers will find that one particularly difficult, but cutting out caffeine 4-6 hours before you rest helps you get to sleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
- Avoid heavy meals before bed. Another one that will be difficult for truck drivers. A lighter, healthy meal before bed can promote good sleep, but try to avoid eating too much, or eating foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking at least 2 liters of water every day is essential for a host of healthy body functions, including helping your circulation and kidneys. Hydration also helps your body maintain the discs in your spine, reducing the damage of prolonged sitting and vibrations.
- There is a severe shortage of healthy food options on American highways, so try to have a store of healthy snacks in your truck. Snacks that aren’t very high in sugar, salt, or calories include fresh or dried fruits, chopped vegetables, low-salt nuts or seeds, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, olives, edamame, and low sodium cooked meats or jerky.
- Healthy fats. It may seem counter-intuitive, but healthy fats are good for your heart and may even help prevent obesity. Try to incorporate healthy fats like olives and olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts and seeds into your diet. These foods provide energy, a feeling of sustained fullness, and are good for your body.
- Stay connected. Truck driving can be lonely work, and it can take a mental toll as well as a physical one. Schedule regular video chats with friends and loved ones. Touching base with family every day, and friends every week or two keeps you connected and helps reduce loneliness.
- Plan meetups. Joining a truckers association or online forum or community groups gives you a chance to connect with other drivers. Try to plan the occasional in-person meal with a friend while you are on the road.
- Expand your horizons. Audiobooks can be a great way to pass the time and learn something new. Podcasts can help you find new hobbies or get deeper into existing ones. Listening to something that stimulates your mind is good for your long-term mental health.
While more and more companies are being attentive to the health needs of trucker drivers and adopting more healthy initiatives to reduce the risks, it’s still a dangerous lifestyle for many. Ask your company about health initiatives, and be attentive to opportunities like nationwide gym memberships, incentives to get fit or lose weight, and mental health care benefits like EAP programs.
Many companies have adopted new policies to allow truck drivers to travel with pets and companion animals since it has been proven to mitigate loneliness and reduce rates of depression. The trucking industry is crucial to the economy, and truck drivers are in low supply. If your company isn’t investing in your long-term health, you may want to reconsider investing years of your life with that company.
Following these tips and choosing a good truck seat cushion can help alleviate some of the health risks associated with being on the road for prolonged periods so that you can enjoy all the benefits of this fascinating career for years to come. Look out for yourself, stay safe, and continue to see and experience America in the unique way that only truck drivers do.