Regulate your body’s systems even when your workload soars
Well, if you haven’t felt the temperatures warming up before now, surprise, it’s almost summer. The change in the season means most pilots are experiencing a higher workload due to the increased travel demand. Often, that translates to not only more flying, but more time on the road, and possibly sitting for long hours on the flight deck. I’m getting older and sitting for long periods doesn’t help my muscles, my back or even my circulation (not to mention airport or airline food). This month, I’m going to do something a little differently and offer a few ideas to help keep your muscles toned, reduce that bloat, and get you to think a little bit more about circulation.
I’m always encouraging you and everyone around me to drink more water. While studies vary as to the exact amount you should drink (with studies ranging from three liters daily for men and 2.5 for women to even half your body weight in ounces), most of us underestimate the amount we take in. Drinking water aids in reducing your heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and regulates circulation. When it comes to flying and sitting at the controls, we tend to consume less water because we don’t want to risk repeatedly taking a bathroom break. Over the last month I have flown numerous trips and completed several with no additional water intake and several others where I drank a liter and a half before showtime and one liter each hour of flight time. Although you can argue this is anecdotal, I felt less bloated after consuming more water.
Watch what you eat
When it comes to being on the road, it’s easy to grab a quick snack at the airport, fast food at the hotel or if your company provides meals on your flights, airplane food or snack boxes. Be aware that most of those choices are loaded with preservatives and sodium. Increasing your level of sodium is another way to increase that bloated feeling and/or retain water. If you find yourself eating those items, see above – drink more water. Eat more slowly than usual, especially if you’re eating at your crew seat, but ensure you’re taking in extra water with your meal. This effort will help flush your system and reduce water retention.
Being stuck behind the yoke for extended periods without the ability to stretch your legs can also cause your feet and legs to swell. This is likely due to reduced and/or even poor circulation. When you get off the airplane, take the opportunity to walk everywhere, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Not only will you get the blood moving again, but this little bit of activity will help you rest better. (Always strive to get in those 10k steps per day!) I also recommend that you take another walk (of maybe 30-40 minutes) when you get to your destination.
This isn’t a be-all-end-all solution, but even a few little tips or advice can help to keep your body well regulated!
Want to know more? You can always email me with questions or comments, and I encourage suggestions for future fitness articles! Ericray4470@gmail.com