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3 Ways Pilots Can Increase Mental and Physical Energy

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Being a pilot allows you to travel and meet new people. It also teaches you about time management, weather patterns and resource management. This extraordinary profession can literally show you the world, but there are also many challenges. Pilots work long hours across multiple time zones. This leads to fatigue of the body and mind. It is extremely important to be sharp and focused at all times when you have people's lives in your hand. An emergency can happen at any moment, so pilots need to be ready to snap into action. Fatigued pilots have been known to miss landings or land on the incorrect runway. These mistakes can have disastrous effects. Therefore, pilots not only need to learn about aviation, but they must also know their own bodies. Healthy habits and physical fitness are important attributes in a good pilot. When you take care of your body, your mind also benefits.


Your body takes what you eat and turns it into energy. It relies on that energy to keep your mind and body functioning properly. If your diet consists of caffeine and sugar consumed randomly throughout the day, then you will have trouble functioning for extended amounts of time. You may receive a little rush, but it will shortly be followed by a hard crash. For pilots, that crash can be dangerous. Although it is difficult, pilots should eat three balanced meals a day. A little coffee in the morning doesn't hurt, but it should not be the main staple of your diet. Caffeine has been shown to slow response time and increase the chances of dehydration. Energy drinks may seem like a good idea, but they are usually filled with caffeine and also tend to give people bad breath.

Instead, opt for smoothies containing fruits and vegetables. You can also add immune-boosting green superfoods powder to the smoothie. If you eat complex carbohydrates before a flight, you will receive a boost of energy from the rise in glucose levels. The rise is slower and lasts longer than with sugar or caffeine, so the crash is not as bad. Complex carbs include anything made from whole grains, vegetables and beans.

Physical Training

Pilots spend many hours sitting in the cockpit. Since it is a largely sedentary job, fitness physically may seem unimportant. However, physical fitness is good for the body and mind. Exercise improves endurance and cardiovascular function. When you exercise, oxygen and nutrients travel through your body and get absorbed into your tissues. Exercise improves heart and lung function which gives you more energy.

It is hard to stick to a strict workout routine when your work schedule changes often. Instead, try to get physical activity when you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. When walking around the airport, don't use the moving walkways. Pilots often stay in hotels, so take advantage of a gym when you can. Sometimes a 15-minute run is exactly what you need to unwind and loosen up after a long flight.

Breaks and Controlled Rest

In 2014, the US Federal Aviation Administration released rules concerning pilot's flight hours and on-duty times. Time limits are important for the safety of pilots and passengers. However, often they are not enough. It is important that pilots have the opportunity for a break when they need one and are not penalized for using it.

There is more than one pilot on a plane for a reason. Take every opportunity to get up and stretch your legs. Take turns eating and relaxing so that neither of you gets fatigued. Schedule shifts so break times are fair and do not go unused. Some longer flights may offer the opportunity for controlled rest in position, or CRIPS. Controlled rest must be done in accordance with the rules in order to be done safely. Make sure all pilots agree to the practice and keep the length of time under 40 minutes. Once a person wakes up, they should have 15 minutes to gather their wits before returning to the pilot's chair.

These simple steps will not only give you more energy at work but may improve your quality of life in general.

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