With ever increasing competition for Taxi drivers across the globe (legal or otherwise) drivers are having to spend more and more time in the saddle, but at what cost to their health?
Let's consider on average, we put our head down for 8 hours a night, that leaves us 16 hours each day to go about our daily business.
Speaking to many drivers, they are having to cover at least 12 hours each shift to make sure they financially keep themselves above the water. Some drivers having to cover even more, but for research purposes lets stick with 12.
Well that's already 20 hours a day that is spent physically inactive. Scary right? Well what are the risks of such an inactive lifestyle?
Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. This in itself can lead to major problems; Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and even heart disease.
Researchers once run tests on London bus drivers and their risk of heart disease. They found that bus drivers were twice as likely to have heart attacks over their conductor counterparts. Now I know we no longer have bus conductors but we still have drivers. Employed drivers with restricted driving hours.
A Taxi driver is only restricted by his or her earning requirements. We tend to forget an age old motto: Health before wealth.
What can we do to decrease our chances of facing any of the above illnesses?
Well the obvious one I can hear you all saying is "Join a gym!" Ok, that seems easy enough, but that comes at a financial cost that many just can't commit to. Then there's the small matter of finding the time. If you can commit to the time and money involved in joining a gym , and attending of course lol, then by far that is the way forward. How about starting a sport. I play football once a week, and not only does it help to maintain a level of fitness, it's also a great way to relieve stress. If you're unable to participate in any of the suggestions then there are a few things you can do throughout your shift that can help you battle falling ill, and they don't require you to put on a string vest and tiny little running shorts.
Breaking up sitting time is almost a must for someone who sits for long periods of time. It will help engage your muscles and bones, and give all your bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car's engine.
Whenever you get the opportunity, hop out your taxi and have a stretch. Take a walk around your vehicle whilst waiting on a rank. You can even pretend to be checking your Taxis condition so you don't look like a weirdo doing laps around and around. Give your windows a clean. All these small things will help your blood circulation.
When you finally get home from your shift, why not go for a walk. Having a dog is a good way to make sure you maintain a active lifestyle. The simple science behind it is; the more you move, the healthier you are likely to be.
Do we have bills to pay? Yes.
Do we feel under more and more pressure to cover long hours? Yes.
Do we want to fall ill? No.
Take your health into your own hands and get active. Who knows, we could finally put together a Cabbie Calendar that wouldn't scare the bejesus out of everyone, and even make a small fortune one day.
I wish you all well out there. Keep the faith. We, as a trade, are far from finished, but please please please remember one thing...
HEALTH IS CERTAINLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN WEALTH