Private investigators that are stationary for prolonged periods of time (such as from conducting surveillance or sitting at a computer) are more pronged to health-related problems. This can lead to weight gain and back pain.
Surveillance also presents additional challenges such as stressful situations, breathing in exhaust fumes and isolation, which can lead to anxiety, depression, loneliness, asthma and cardiovascular disease.
You can adopt healthy habits while on the job to increase performance at work, prevent illness and better your quality of life.
1. Regulate the temperature in your vehicle
Your vehicle can get very hot. Cranking up the air conditioner or rolling down the window could potentially draw attention to your vehicle. This presents a challenge to avoid overheating.
Car fans, such one that is solar powered, can provide cooling relief.
2. Get enough exercise
Researchers have shown that sitting for more than two hours at a time is detrimental to a person’s health and leads to pain and stiffness.
Even minimal movements during surveillance can be beneficial. It’s important not to have an all or nothing attitude towards exercise. There is a lot that you can accomplish in just five minutes.
You will mainly be limited to upper body exercises. You can stretch out your chest, upper back, shoulders, triceps and biceps all while staying focused during surveillance.
3. Don’t drive while you’re exhausted
You may be very tired after a 12-hour stretch doing surveillance. You run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel if you aren’t alert.
It may be beneficial to get some shuteye before driving home. An inflatable mattress bed car can help you catch a quick nap.
Another option is to use the Drive Awake app that can detect your level of drowsiness by tracking your retinas to see if they are open. The app will direct you to the nearest coffee shop as soon as you start to drift off.
4. Pack healthy snacks and drinks
There is general information about food and nutrition that applies to everyone; however, specific recommendations to diet depend on your age, gender, health conditions, and profession.
Dieticians recommend that private investigators doing surveillance in their cars graze while on the job instead of having large meals to stay alert and energized.
Prepare your food before you start surveillance. You can use small Ziploc bags (a third of the size of a sandwich bag) to portion out the size of each snack.
Use snacks instead of liquids to energize. Avoid eating processed food and opt for bulk nuts and seeds (in small quantities) and high-fiber crackers.
Some private investigators can experience constipation associated with lack of movement. Foods high in fiber are important for a healthy digestive track. Consume more water when you increase your intake of fiber to aid in digestion.
Bring a thermos for your coffee and tea and bring soup that’s low in sodium.
Pack a cooler with ice packs or water bottles, which double as a cold source of water as they melt. This way you will be able to eat crisp vegetables with hummus and tzaziki, low-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt will give you more protein) and low-fat milk.
Avoid drinking a lot of juice because it’s high in calories. Energy and sports drinks are made for people that are engaging in high-cardio activities, such as running not sitting. Opt for drinking plain water instead.
You need to drink water to stay hydrated. There is no way around this. This may involve having to urinate in a bottle or container. Urine that’s a dark yellow is an indicator that you should be drinking more liquids.
5. Consult professionals about your health
It’s important to consult your doctor before making changes to your diet and physical fitness.
Physiotherapists, fitness experts, and dieticians can help you become healthier and tailor their advice to meet your specific needs.
Image credit: Thank you Martin Cathrae from flickr