Stress and fatigue are some of the most common health issues affecting pilots and influencing air safety. Many factors lead to fatigue and degenerative changes affecting your Circulatory and Respiratory systems in the 12,500 – 50,000 feet airspace. Solid foundational health is key to having health resiliency and maintaining professional longevity.

Whatever the mission, consider the Five P’s approach for creating a daily/weekly Plan that incorporates water consumption, meals/snacks, sleep, and exercise. Think of your physical body as the Plane, your brain/mental acuity and awareness as the Pilot, packed gear as Passengers, and Programming as mission, objectives, and details.

Using this model makes it easier to check on results over time to see how you’re doing. And of course, with regular recertification physicals, you’ll see measurable improvements. Good health comes from routine actions and just like sound investments, you gain dividends with contributions.

Let’s look at how these habits can keep you in top form:

Hydration – drink ½ your body weight in ounces of filtered water each day

  • Helps with stiffness, exercise recovery, and mental clarity
  • Helps flush and support the Immune and Lymphatic systems when sedentary
  • Moistens internal and external skin leading to improved Immune and Digestive function

Meals and Snacks – eat a balanced diet – 1/3 complex carbs, 1/3 protein, 1/3 good fats

  • Consuming high-quality food and water sustains better energy levels
  • Strive to eat or snack every 3-4 hours for better blood sugar balance, liver health, and mood
  • Pack healthy snacks and simple meals for convenience, quality control, and craving avoidance

Sleep – 7-8 quality hours each night

  • Supports healthy brain function, mental acuity, and good memory
  • Regenerates all organs of elimination and supports healthy hormone balance
  • Boosts levels of Growth Hormone produced for replenishing the body while at rest

Exercise – stretch and movement

  • Improves your ability to rest and sleep well
  • Mental and mood balance from producing healthy biochemicals
  • Walk, swim, run, elliptical, stretch, weights, Yoga – 10-15 minutes is better than 0 minutes!

Whether you’re an aerial refueling or F-35 pilot, it may take some time to get comfortable with these new aspects to your existing daily activities. You could easily see improved physical exam and lab results within 6 months in spite of biologically aging. Enhancing Circulation and Respiration positively affects every organ, gland, tissue, and system in your body.

A bonus to improved daily health is what I like to call, “building reserves.” This is what allows you to rebound quickly from illness or having a medical procedure – a big plus when you’re in the midst of it and want to get back to work!

Once you feel improvements from your new steps, that momentum builds upon itself as you take flight with better health and quality of life. Start today and feel better and brighter right away.