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September 24, 2013  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

3 reasons for bus drivers to get fit, and how to get there

For school bus drivers, obtaining a basic level of fitness and maintaining a healthy weight will enhance safety, professionalism and personal wellness. The job can actually provide a good structure for making time to exercise and eat well.

by Larry Hannon Jr.

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  • Resourcefulness is good in getting exercise. For example, an elementary school may provide a playground area, which could be ideal for calisthenics.
    <p>Resourcefulness is good in getting exercise. For example, an elementary school may provide a playground area, which could be ideal for calisthenics.</p>
    2. Professionalism is connected to many factors, but appearance and function are significant among them. Whether it is fair is not the issue here. It is just the reality that individuals and their entire field are going to be judged by impressions.

Bus drivers who keep themselves in good or at least functional condition help to represent us in a positive light. Those outside of the industry will make judgments of us whether we like it or not.

Our work is challenging and important. Because of that, we deserve to be respected, but setting an image that garners this respect is up to us.
People outside of our industry are looking at us, but we are also being watched by people within our very own buses. Students ride our buses each and every day. As bus drivers, we are role models.

Perhaps not everyone is like me and, as a child, looked up to their bus drivers with great adoration. Nonetheless, some do — maybe more than we realize — and we have the power to have influence.

3. Personal wellness is the third reason for bus drivers to obtain and maintain an appropriate weight and level of fitness. This might sound selfish at first, but ultimately it can lead to us being better able to perform our jobs and serve our students.

Being physically fit will simply make us feel better. Beyond all of the physical issues, being fit can decrease depression and improve our overall well being. In the end, it can lead to a longer and more productive career.

How we can improve
Despite the current physical state of the transportation industry, it is promising to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. The structure and the opportunity for school bus drivers to live healthy lifestyles are certainly present. In fact, I believe we actually have distinct advantages over people who work the normal 9 to 5.

Although the hours for bus drivers can vary, many of us drive in the a.m. and p.m. with a break in between. This affords several positives.

First, we have a window for working out after our a.m. run and another after our p.m. run.

Second, a midday break provides time for planning and preparing a healthy lunch and dinner. There is no excuse for eating fast food when you have a four-hour lunch break. For those of us with midday runs or trips, things can be different. However, planning and forethought can usually go a long way.

Another advantage that we as bus drivers possess is the ability to hang up our keys and leave the job behind. Although this might not always be the case for directors and other management personnel, drivers are generally not burdened by work-related e-mails and cell phone calls outside of working hours.

Again, this enhances our opportunities to exercise and plan meals without distraction. It even allows for reducing stress and improving sleep. Both of these factors can be easily taken for granted, but sleep and stress can largely impact our weight and health.

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Interesting and well written, researched article that should lead to fair compensation for school bus drivers. In many jurisdictions, driving a school bus is a minimum wage job, with no benefits, sick time etc. The time for a lifestyle described in this article, and healthy food may not be affordable. Physical and financial fitness go hand-in-hand. "You get what you pay for" may be applicable here.

Mike McLean    |    Dec 11, 2013 07:06 AM

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