The importance of exercise for Airline Pilots and Flight Attendants

Guest Editor Courtney Henderson

Guest Editor Courtney Henderson

As we all know, exercise is a key ingredient to the foundation of a happy, healthy life. There are several reasons why exercise is so important to human health, and there are thousands of studies that support the fact that exercise decreases the risks of many diseases and health conditions.

Although everyone benefits from physical activity and needs to exercise on a regular basis, the nature of their work makes it critical for airline pilots and flight attendants to take some time every day for exercise. Here’s why…

  1. Long periods of sitting: Airline pilots and flight attendants stay in a seated position for several hours during their work days. International flights can be as long as nine hours. In recent years, several studies have been done to show how sitting for long periods of time will increase your risk for blood clots, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention what we already know to be true; a sedentary lifestyle decreases your metabolism and can lead to weight gain. To combat these risks, airline pilots and flight attendants should find ways to move their bodies while on flight. There are some light exercises that can be performed while seated. After their work day, crew members should hit the gym; even if it’s just for a quick fifteen minutes to get the blood flowing.
  2. Decreased levels of sleep and frequent time zone changes: An airline crew’s work schedule can be tiring. However, because crews change time zones on a daily basis, their body’s natural sleep rhythm is often thrown off. Even though a crew member may be tired, their body may not allow them to sleep. Airline pilots and flight attendants can use exercise as a natural sleep aid, because it will use up all the energy left in your body and prove to the body how much it needs rest.
  3. Increased exposure to germs: As with any customer service job, pilots and especially flight attendants are in constant contact with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of different people every day. This contact increases their exposure to all kinds of germs. Exercise helps build up the body’s immune system, and aids the body’s fight against potential sickness
  4. Long periods of stress: As with any demanding job, the work of a pilot and flight attendant puts a great deal of stress on the body (both mentally and physically). It has been proven that exercise releases natural chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These endorphins work to reduce stress and physical pain and give you a general euphoric feeling. Instead of heading to the bar for a beer, airline crew members should reduce their stress and their risk of other serious health conditions by exercising every day after work.

It is important to note that working at high altitudes dramatically decreases the amount of water in your body. To combat dehydration, pilots and flight attendants should drink a generous amount of water every day. In addition, they should make sure they drink at least 24 ounces of water before working out. Your body also loses water when it exercises, so if you are not properly hydrated, you will further dehydrate yourself by exercising.

Courtney Henderson is writer and editor for Airport Management Degrees. In her spare time, she likes to write guest articles for various websites on various topics of interest.