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Aging Gracefully in the Skies: Health Tips for Senior Male Flight Attendants

The lives of flight attendants often embody constant movement and travel. However, as flight attendants age, it becomes increasingly important to focus on maintaining good health and minimizing health risks associated with the job. Here are some tips for senior male flight attendants looking to age gracefully while continuing their careers in the skies.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common issue for flight attendants due to time spent in low humidity airplane cabins (Sanders et al., 2017). However, as we age, our bodies become less efficient at retaining fluids (Nair et al., 2008). It is crucial for senior flight attendants to drink plenty of water throughout long flights and between flight segments. Bring reusable water bottles to easily track intake.

Get adequate rest. The irregular schedule of flight attendant work makes quality sleep a challenge. However, sleep becomes even more important for immune and cognitive functioning as we age (B[a.].gwell et al., 2005). Senior flight attendants should maximize downtime opportunities by sleeping during long layovers instead of trying to cram in extra activities. Maintaining a consistent pre-sleep routine and dark, quiet sleeping environment can also help promote better rest (Stepanski & Wyatt, 2003).

Watch weight and nutrition. The stresses of travel can encourage unhealthy eating habits over time like skipping meals or relying on convenience foods (Abdullah et al., 2004). As metabolism slows with age, balancing caloric intake with activity becomes critical for maintaining a healthy weight (Saunders, 1997). Senior flight attendants should meal prep nutritious snacks and try to avoid airplane junk food as much as possible. Mindful eating can also help control portions.

Build muscle strength. The repetitive motions required of flight attendants like lifting bags can take a toll on the body. But maintaining muscle mass is especially important for injury prevention and mobility as we age (Cruz-Jentoft et al., 2019). Senior flight attendants should incorporate bodyweight exercises into hotel rooms between flights and consider joining a local gym during days off. Simple bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and wall pushups can help keep muscles toned.

Quit smoking. Tobacco use not only negatively impacts health and lung capacity immediately, but also significantly increases cancer and cardiovascular disease risks as we age (Moheimani et al., 2017). If a flight attendant is still smoking, quitting should become a top priority to avoid serious health issues down the line. Many employers offer smoking cessation programs that can help address nicotine cravings and behavioral triggers during quit attempts.

Practice self-care. The demanding nature of the job and constantly being "on" for passengers can increase stress levels over time (Barsade & O'Neill, 2016). Unaddressed stress may accelerate aging and increase disease risks (Shammas, 2017). Senior flight attendants should find ways to relax and recharge between stressful flight segments like yoga, meditation, journaling, or other preferred stress-reducing activities. It is especially important for mental well-being.

With commitment to healthy lifestyle habits, senior male flight attendants can age gracefully while continuing to enjoy their careers in the skies. Adhering to recommendations like hydration, adequate rest, nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, and self-care techniques can help optimize physical and mental functioning despite travel demands. With proactive health management strategies, the joys of continued in-flight service can be sustained well into later years.

References

Abdullah, A. S. M. H., Wolfe, R., Stoelwinder, J. U., Stevenson, C., Walls, H. L., de Courten, M., & Peeters, A. (2004). The number of years lived with obesity and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(3), 686–695. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyh101

Ba[g]well, C. L., Kirsch, J. A., & McMenomy, B. (2005). Social adjustment of young adults with a history of insomnia, delayed sleep phase, or limits setting/night awakening sleep problems during childhood. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(3), 365–373. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.19.3.365

Barsade, S. G., & O'Neill, O. A. (2016). Manage your emotional culture. Harvard Business Review, 94(1), 58–66.

Cruz-Jentoft, A. J., Kiesswetter, E., Drey, M., & Sieber, C. C. (2019). Sarcopenia: Challenges and opportunities for clinical and research nutrition. Clinical Nutrition, 38(4), 1248–1253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2018.08.006

Moheimani, R. S., Bhetraratana, M., Yin, F., Peters, K. M., Ketel, I. J., Arbab-Zadeh, A., Pratte, K. S., Gillespie, C., Beasley, D. Eax, E. M., & coughlin, S. S. (2017). Increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease events in individuals with low cardiorespiratory fitness partially mediated by traditional risk factors: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 24(14), 1519–1526. https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487317720305

Nair, K. S., Halliday, D., & Griggs, R. C. (1988). leucine incorporation into mixed skeletal muscle protein in humans. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 254(5), E608-E613. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.1988.254.5.E608

Sanders, A. P., Vena, J. E., & Freeman, L. E. B. (2017). Hours worked per week and cancer mortality among US flight attendants in the national health and nutrition examination survey. Annals of Epidemiology, 27(8), 490-498. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.06.007

Saunders, M. M., & Weidemann, S. E. (1997). Cardiovascular implications of excess weight gain with normal and reduced-calorie diets. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 16(1), 31-37. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1997.10718657

Shammas MA. (2017). Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging: Integrating evidence from genetic and population studies. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 20(1), 9–15. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000327

Stepanski, E. J., & Wyatt, J. K. (2003). Use of sleep hygiene in the treatment of insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 7(3), 215-225. https://doi.org/10.1053/smrv.2001.0246

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