Air ambulance and rescue is highly demanding on everyone from pilots to aircraft maintenance. As ground operations and flight support are the real-time resources for flight teams, staying at the top of your game is paramount. Desk-based work means being more sedentary while still handling enormous stressors.
Some of the most common health issues are the effects of long-term stress, poor sleep habits, and excess weight leading to Diabetes Type II, Heart Disease, and other degenerative diseases. Improving your health will lead to sharper brain function and memory from better circulation, digestion, and biochemistry.
Let’s cover some of the fundamentals to see where any improvements can be made:
Ergonomics and postural issues:
- Ensure that your thighs and forearms are parallel to the floor when seated at a keyboard — minimizes stress on hips, knees, elbows, and wrists.
- Position monitors for optimal visual ease and minimal head rotation, flexion, or extension — reduces both mental and neck fatigue which can lead to eye strain and headaches.
- Avoid neck flexion (looking down) for extended periods of time — flattens the curve of your neck which can lead to poor neurological function from postural alterations.
- Sit fully on the seat cushion and avoid perching on the front edge of your seat — prevents circulation problems in your thighs and lower legs.
- Keep feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing ankles or knees. To maintain pelvic balance — use a small foam roller or tennis balls under feet as reminders or a step if feet don’t fully touch the floor.
Combating stress and staying mentally sharp:
- Lessen eye strain/fatigue by using yellow-tinted lenses to reduce fatiguing blue monitor light.
- Lower sound, noise, and interruptions by wearing good earphones or telephone headset.
- Keep blood glucose levels as flat as possible by eating/snacking every 3-4 hours with healthy food choices — remember, 1/3 complex carbs, 1/3 protein, 1/3 good fats.
- Stay hydrated — supports better attention and mental clarity. Also helps reduce cravings.
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating regularly (see above!) and moving your body daily — walk, swim, stretch, weights, Yoga – even a walk around the building or up a flight of stairs will clear your mind for a few minutes and give your brain a much-needed break.
Operation centers that run 24/7 require working shifts to continuously staff the center. When working at night, make the most of your off-time by ensuring good sleep quality in dark, quiet environments, daily exercise, and meal regularity.
It is possible to prevent chronic health conditions by committing to daily choices and steps that will have you feeling brighter and clearer almost immediately. Remember, daily self-care provides cumulative foundational health, much like having a sound checking account with lots of great deposits.