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How Pilots Can Maintain Good Health

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A pilot’s career involves plenty of long shifts, inconsistent schedules, long durations of physical inactivity and exposure to airport germs and pathogens, all of which can make it incredibly challenging to maintain a good bill of health. The lifestyle of a pilot is often fast-paced and unpredictable, and when the key to a healthy lifestyle is often touted as consistency, it can feel like physical and mental wellness are just out of reach for those who choose this field.

Thankfully, there are ways to facilitate a healthy lifestyle no matter whether you’re in the skies or on the ground. Read on to discover several tips designed to guide you toward healthier habits, so you don’t have to trade your career for optimal health.

Be Consistent at Home

Some pilots spend a great deal of time up in the air and away from home, which can make it hard to develop regular habits that will keep you healthy, fit and strong. Whenever you can, make it a priority to eat healthfully and get exercise, especially knowing it will be difficult while in the cockpit. This is especially important if you know you will be tempted by fast food while at the airport or have to take a long flight in which you won’t be able to get up and take a walk for a while.

The best thing you can do to make the most out of your time at home is to keep what lies ahead in mind. Without overdoing it, use your free time to make healthy, wholesome choices that will not only boost your overall health, but will make it easier to stay focused and energized for your next assignment. If needed enlist the help of a friend, a Thrive patch or an online resource to get started.

Take the Stairs

Because there are so many people in the airport traveling in all different directions, there are several ways to get from terminal to terminal. Give yourself a few extra minutes of commute time, and try to avoid automated transportation options when in the airport. Skip the elevators, escalators and moving walkways in favor of travel by foot. Any minute counts when it comes to exercise, and even a little bit of extra walking does your body good.

Bring Your Own Breakfast

Both in the skies and on the ground, the food available for airline travelers is not always healthy and nutritious. The airport is filled with convenience foods, many of which are processed and full of sugar, fat or other ingredients that will only weigh you down. Plenty of pilots face health issues down the road thanks to the availability of unhealthy snacks and easily preserved foods that contain additives that don’t do your body any favors.

If you know you’ll need to eat while on the job, consider bringing your own meals and snacks along. When you bring food from home, you ensure that your cravings will be satisfied, while also guaranteeing that you’ll eat something healthier and more likely to provide healthy, sustained energy for your flight.

Get Enough Rest

Pilots are notoriously sleep-deprived, so it’s important that rest is a priority when an opportunity is available. Good sleep can help to keep your weight stable, keep your mind sharp, keep your waistline trim and boost your immune system. When your work-life balance starts to suffer, there’s no better time to take a step back and prioritize rest to avoid burnout or troublesome health issues in the long run.

Minimize Stressors

Being a pilot is stressful. You spend a lot of time away from home, your schedule can be erratic and you can feel quite lonely at times. Make sure you set aside time with each flight to do something for yourself, whether that’s getting your mind off the pressures of the job, talking with a friend or family member, journaling, deep breathing or unwinding with a good book. You may not be able to get rid of the things that cause stress, but you can do a lot to soothe your mind and body’s response to them.

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