Being Cabin Crew isn’t the healthiest job in the world, there are a lot of contentions to deal with on a daily basis such as fatigue, jetlag and unhealthy meals at inappropriate times. It is important to be physically fit as the demand of working at 34,000 ft is equivalent to working on top of a mountain! We are also constantly lifting heavy weights such as suitcases, catering boxes and meal carts. Being able to cope with stress and fatigue on a daily basis is essential, especially as it takes the body 48 hours to recover from just one flight, which with our schedules puts us in a constant state of limbo! Crew meals are not particularly healthy but on long flights or long multi-sector days are impossible to avoid and meal times are very irregular. It is easy to become dehydrated too, whilst flying.
There are some practical things that we can do to make life easier, be able to step up to the mark in our career and still stay healthy. Here are 10 essential tips for health, for anyone who flies on a regular basis:
1# Drink lots of water. Flying dehydrates the body quickly – we can live without food but not water. It is important to sip water throughout the flight, at least half a litre for every hour flown. Cabin pressure also has a bloating effect and drinking water regularly will help combat this.
2# Sleep whenever you can. It does take the body time to recover from the effects of flying and also from jetlag , when flying long haul. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is down-route, sleep when you need to. Make use of your crew rest time onboard too - just 45 minutes sleep will restore you.
3# Rest before your flight for at least 3 hours if possible. You don’t need to sleep, but rest with your eyes closed or read a book or listen to music. This will help you to conserve energy and prepare for up to a 16 hour shift.
4# Eat light and healthy during and after the flight so that food is more easily digested and there is less potential for an upset stomach. After a flight, do not stick to meal times and have small meals or healthy snacks whenever you are hungry.
5# Set your body clock. If it is a long haul flight and the time change is more than 4 hours time but time down-route is short, it is better to stay on your home time and rest well. If you have a few days down-route, you can stay on local time to reset your body clock.
6# Use yoga and meditation to help calm the mind and body, if they suit you. They are also easy to adapt, whether home and away and are great for dealing with stress.
7# Once down-route, use the hotel health club facilities and relax in a sauna or steam room or have a massage to rejuvenate mind and body.
8# Stay healthy and take time out for gentle exercise like swimming and walking or use the hotel gym if that’s your fitness preference.
9# Make sure that you use sunscreen and insect repellant where appropriate – there is nothing worse than flying with itchy, sore uncomfortable skin. Also, for health reasons you need to protect yourself from skin cancer and malaria.
10# Reflexology (especially if you are lucky enough to be in Asia) is a great way of relaxing, improving health and repairing those tired feet after a long flight.
These are just a few things that you may be able to incorporate into your life as Cabin Crew to make the lifestyle easier and ensure that you stay fit and healthy. It does take time and balance to work out exactly what works for you (and your schedule) but taking those first steps to a healthier you, can only help your everyday work life as Cabin Crew.