Gyms being added to truck stops - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Gyms being added to truck stops

Truck stops are adding a new amenity that aims to keep all drivers out on the road safe.

Treadmills and stair steppers are the last things you'd expect to see in a truck stop. But now, gyms are being added to improve the health of truck drivers that work behind the wheel hours on end.

Truck drivers are required to pass a physical exam every two years by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"To see if the driver is physically fit to drive, similar to like an airplane pilot. They all have to take physicals all the time, and be required to pass continuous physicals," Robert Mathews, Operations director for Amarillo College Truck Driving Academy says.

Their fitness affects more than just themselves.

"Mental fitness is connected to physical fitness. The more mentally fit they are on driving the safer they are of course," Mathews says.

Many drivers were saying they just weren't meeting that mark.

"There was a crying need to help them. And, as I said earlier, 50% of our customers are people we see every single day. And so, as a company we said we gotta tackle this, we gotta be part of the solution to help these guys," Tom Liutkus, TravelCenters of America spokesman says.

And so they did. So far 42 Petro stops have free fitness rooms for drivers.

"They can exercise and there is a variety of equipment. Most of it is aerobic in nature, although we do have a pulley weight machine as part of our standard package. So they can do a combination of exercises that would help them stay fit and trim," Liutkus says.

Drivers like Michael Bower can't wait for these to be everywhere.

"A gym would be huge to be honest with you. To be able to stop and grab a work out. That would be huge. You know," Bower says.

There is currently a walking trail at the TA Stop in Amarillo and by the end of 2013 we can expect the Petro stop to include a gym.

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