Turning Downtime Into Uptime

Thomas McMahon
Posted on March 17, 2017
Committing to regular exercise will pay off both personally and professionally. If you think you’re too busy, consider the multifaceted daily routine of school bus driver/competitive sprinter Emma McGowan (in red). Photo by Rob Jerome
Committing to regular exercise will pay off both personally and professionally. If you think you’re too busy, consider the multifaceted daily routine of school bus driver/competitive sprinter Emma McGowan (in red). Photo by Rob Jerome

The typical split shift of school bus driving can be a double-edged sword when it comes to recruiting: Working a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon — with a big gap in between — isn’t feasible for some people, but it’s a great fit for others.

In some cases, the schedule’s potential appeal may depend on whether one could make good use of several free hours in the middle of the day. In other words, can that downtime be turned into uptime?

For Emma McGowan, the answer is a resounding yes. The special-needs bus driver for Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools, who is also a competitive sprinter, uses her free time to hit the track or the gym.

“I love driving the bus because after I drop off the kids in the morning, I can train for several hours before I have to begin my afternoon route,” Emma said in a news item posted on the district’s website.

Her hard work and discipline have paid off: She recently won gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Australia.

What makes Emma’s accomplishment all the more impressive is that she’s 48 years old and has twins, one of whom is autistic. In fact, she said that the best part of her job is that she gets to take her own daughter to and from school on her special-education bus.

“My daughter is autistic, and I love being able to take her to school and pick her up,” Emma said. “That way I know she and the other students are in great hands.”

Of course, not everyone can win gold medals in a world championship track meet, but Emma’s feat shows that exercise can be integrated into a daily routine that includes parenting and working.

As someone who strives to balance family time, work, and athletic pursuits, I found Emma’s story particularly inspiring. For the past few years, I’ve trained for and competed in marathons, which is no small commitment.

On weekdays, I carve out time to go for a run or a swim, whether it’s early in the morning, during my lunch break, or after work. On weekends, I usually take my kids for a bike ride or a hike. Actually, I should say that they take me for a bike ride or hike (they have seemingly endless energy).

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of the exercise, I find that it helps me stay focused and productive for the rest of the day.

In any line of work — and that includes school bus drivers, transportation directors, and everyone in between — committing to regular exercise will pay off both personally and professionally. If you think you’re too busy, remember Emma McGowan’s multifaceted daily routine.

Still, you don’t need to spend several hours at the track each day. Even a 15-minute workout can be beneficial, and it can be done just about anywhere. To that end, refer back to our Q&A with driver fitness advocate Siphiwe Baleka from January 2016.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to shut down my computer and lace up my running shoes.

Related Topics: driver wellness

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Product

Driver Location, Behavior App

Fleetio Drive uses the built-in sensors in drivers’ smartphones to track trip distance, location, and the duration of driving events such as phone usage, speeding, aggressive acceleration, and hard braking.

Video

School Bus Songs: ‘School’s Out’

Right around now, many school bus drivers are making their final runs of the year and, possibly, singing the refrain “School’s out for summer!” Watch Alice Cooper perform his classic song on “The Muppet Show.”

Product

Engine Service App

The Guidanz app enables customers to read prioritized engine fault codes and other key engine information wherever they are operating.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!