Time in Nature Associated with Decreased Fatigue in UK Truck Drivers

Daniel P. Longman, Colin N. Shaw, Veronica Varela-Mato, Aron P. Sherry, Katharina Ruettger, Mohsen Sayyah, Amber Guest, Yu-Ling Chen, Nicola J. Paine, James A. King, Stacy A. Clemes

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Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driving is recognised as a highly hazardous occupation due to the long periods of sedentary behaviour, low levels of physical activity and unhealthy food options when working. These risk factors combine with shift work and concomitant irregular sleep patterns to increase the prevalence of fatigue. Fatigue is closely linked with stress and, subsequently, poor physiological and psychological health. In parallel, a wealth of evidence has demonstrated the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature. Here, we sought to examine whether spending time in nature was associated with lower levels of fatigue, anxiety and depression in HGV drivers. 89 long-distance drivers (98.9% male, mean ± SD age: 51.0 ± 9 years, body mass index: 29.8 ± 4.7 kg/m2) participating in a wider health promotion programme reported time spent in nature (during and before the Covid-19 pandemic) and symptoms of occupational fatigue, depression and anxiety. After controlling for covariates, truck drivers who visited nature at least once a week exhibited 16% less chronic fatigue prior to the pandemic, and 23% less chronic fatigue and 20% less acute fatigue during the pandemic. No significant differences were observed for either anxiety or depression. As fatigue has a range of physical and mental health sequelae, we propose that increased exposure to natural settings may make a valuable contribution to interventions to promote the health and wellbeing of this underserved group.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3158
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: The data presented in this paper were collected as part of the ‘Structured Health Interven- tion For Truckers (SHIFT)’ randomised controlled trial. This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme (reference: NIHR PHR 15/190/42). Funding Acquisition, S.A.C., J.A.K., V.V-M. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Acknowledgments: SAC: JAK, AS and NJP are supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Re- search Centre—Lifestyle theme. AG has received funding for their PhD Studentship from the Colt Foundation (reference: JD/618).

Data Availability Statement

Data can be made available upon request.


  • driving
  • HGV driving
  • long-distance driving
  • truckers
  • self-reported fatigue
  • nature
  • Covid-19
  • health and wellbeing


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