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How Airline Pilots Can Stay Fit and Healthy

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Airline pilots, like any other skilled vehicle operator, spend a lot of time seated. Long days, time zone changes and irregular eating habits can make it difficult for pilots to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and even more difficult to stay fit.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to recalibrate your routine to accommodate health-minded practices, even when your flight schedule is erratic or busy. Read on for several simple, effective tips you can utilize to help you stay in good shape no matter where you are in the world.
Develop Healthy Habits Outside of Work
While others in the workforce have the opportunity to get standing desks, sit on exercise balls or even use a mini exercise bike while seated, these options are out of the question for pilots. Because you can’t always incorporate more movement, let alone aerobic movement, while on the clock, it’s important to use the rest of your time outside of work wisely. If you know you’ll be seated for hours at a time on a long flight, make sure to get moving before or after the journey. Long flights may have you feeling fatigued or unmotivated, but you can always use all-natural energy boosters like ginseng, vitamin B or a Thrive patch.
Get Up and Move Around
Sitting down for long durations isn’t good for your circulation, muscles, joints or tendons. While you’re on a plane, it’s a good idea to stand up and stretch your legs whenever possible. When you’re confined to your seat for at least the foreseeable future during the flight, try smaller movements, such as calf raises, light stretches or ankle rotations. Be sure to sit with good posture, too, so as not to place any more undue stress or strain on your body.
Choose Healthy Food Options
The airport is full of unhealthy, and often overpriced, food options that draw in hungry passengers with enticing aromas. While your favorite burger place may be a tempting option for dinner night after night, it won’t do your waistline any favors. To avoid giving in to a craving every time you catch the scent of french fries, it’s best to pack your own meals. When you do eat in the airport, look for meal options that are made with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
Exercise at Your Destination
In addition to trying to stay active at home, it’s important to do the same when you’re working on a trip. Before you land, look up your accommodations to see if the hotel or rental has a gym you can utilize while on the ground. If you’d prefer to get your heart rate up in your room, consider online workout subscriptions or free exercise videos. If you have the time, take a walk around the area–and see the sights in the process.
Pack a Cooler
When you finally arrive at your hotel and airbnb, you’re likely to be exhausted and reach for the phone to order room service or takeout from a local restaurant. Done night after night, eating out too frequently can negate any hard work you put in at home or on the road at the gym. A good cooler can keep cold any food, snacks and meals you pack at home for up to 24 hours, which is long enough to get you from your kitchen to your destination without any spoilage.
Take the Scenic Route
When it comes to keeping a fitness mindset, it’s all about finding creative ways to keep active and stay moving. Rather than use escalators at the airport, take the stairs. Avoid the moving walkways and pick up your pace while walking to the gate. It may not seem like much, but an extra five to seven minutes of exercise every day in a week amounts to over half an hour of bonus exercise in a seven day period. When you work up to doubling or tripling these small efforts, every minute counts toward helping you to reach your fitness goals.

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