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Healthy habits for traveling pilotsHealthy habits for traveling pilots

Planning a trip? Practice these healthy habits when you’re on the road or in the airPlanning a trip? Practice these healthy habits when you’re on the road or in the air

Move it

If you are traveling by commercial airline, choose direct flights to cut down on airport exhaustion. Walk around frequently during your flight or do some seated exercises to get blood flowing through your legs to prevent swelling and possible blood clots.

If you’re the one flying the airplane, you can easily perform some simple stretches while seated. Increasing leg muscle activity during long periods of sitting can improve blood flow in the legs. Don’t forget to move your ankles while seated.

If you are traveling by car, include plenty of rest stops so that you can get out and stretch your legs.

Take it easy

Traveling is tiring for almost everyone. Illness, dehydration, poor diet, high humidity, and time zone changes are just a few of the factors that can contribute to fatigue. When planning your trip, be sure to allow extra time for rest at the beginning and end of your trip.

Make it personal

Tailor your itinerary according to your energy level and health needs.

Exerting yourself in hot, humid conditions or extreme cold can add stress to your heart. High altitudes have less oxygen, which causes your heart to work harder. So if you plan a trip to an elevated altitude, allow a few days to adapt before starting your vacation activities.

Healthy travelers should generally be able to enjoy activities like golf, swimming, touring, and walking. If your plans include more strenuous activities, make sure you clear them with your doctor before you begin your trip.

Just as airplanes need maintenance for safety, pilots need regular checkups for their own health. Don’t be caught unprepared by a sudden illness or trip to the hospital that you’re not equipped to handle. As part of your pre-trip checklist, consider purchasing the AOPA-endorsed Emergency Assistance Plus Program, which will help take care of you if you face a medical emergency while traveling in the United States or abroad.

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