Ground operations and flight support are essential for commercial airlines to function smoothly. Whether you’re handling baggage, refueling aircraft, juggling schedules, cleaning aircraft or getting passengers to their destinations, everyday requirements place constant physical and mental stressors on each team member.
Some of the most common health issues are the effects of overuse and repetitive strain injuries and inflammation from deadline-driven stress and convenience diets. Health improvements will lead to sharper brain function, fewer injuries and quicker recovery/recuperation on off-days.
Let’s cover some of the fundamentals to see where any upgrades can be made:
Combating stress and staying at the top of your game:
- Stay hydrated — supports better attention and mental clarity. Also hastens muscle, tendon, joint repair and reduces inflammation.
- Keep blood glucose levels as flat as possible by eating/snacking every 3-4 hours with healthy food choices — ideally, 1/3 complex carbs, 1/3 protein, 1/3 good fats.
- Maintain healthy weight by eating regularly (see above!) and doing restorative body movements daily — stretch, Yoga, swim. Legs up the wall while laying on a floor or soft surface will relieve circulation to your legs and feet and give your brain a much-needed break.
- Have at least two pairs of shoes/boots and alternate days wearing them. Replace often, because your feet support your legs, pelvis and spine and appreciate good care.
- Reduce noise when possible, by wearing good earphones or phone/intercom headset.
- Lessen eye strain/fatigue by using high-quality sunglasses outside and yellow-tinted lenses to reduce monitor fatigue with computer use.
Ergonomics and postural issues for desk time:
- 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 chair seat and avoid perching on the front edge of your seat cushion — prevents circulation problems in thighs and lower legs.
- Keep feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing ankles or knees. To maintain pelvic balance and support better circulation — use a small foam roller or tennis balls under feet as reminders, or a step if your feet don’t fully touch the floor.
- Ensure that your thighs and forearms are parallel to the floor when seated at keyboard — minimizes stress on hips, knees, elbows, and wrists.
- Position monitors for optimal visual ease and minimal head rotation, flexion, or extension — reduces eye strain, mental fatigue, and muscle soreness which can lead to headaches.
When not working, make the most of your off time by ensuring good sleep quality in dark, quiet environments, daily exercise or gentle movement, and meal regularity. Consider cooking large to have leftovers for lunch. Prep salad components in advance to have for ready pack-and-go.
It is possible to prevent chronic health conditions and physical degeneration by committing to daily choices and steps that will have you feeling brighter and clearer almost immediately, like drinking more water. Regular self-care provides cumulative foundational health, much like having a sound checking account with lots of great deposits.