New Year's 'fly well' resolutions

December 17, 2012

AOPA Pilot Protection Services Jonathan Sackier

Jonathan Sackier

  • Surgeon, Clinical Professor
  • 30 years of healthcare experience
  • Author of the “Fly Well” column in AOPA Pilot
  • Flying since 15 years old, owns a Columbia 400

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New Year's 'fly well' resolutions

Most resolutions fade by Jan. 2, but getting healthy keeps you flying longer, so give it a shot. Let’s look at a few corollaries to benefit your health, inside and outside the cockpit.

First, weight has clear flying implications. Expensive fuel drives a desire to limit excess on-board weight. But what about your weight? Americans are getting heavier and heavier. Looking around the ramp, I see that our brethren and sisterthren (OK, maybe there's no such word but if we had more lady pilots I bet there would be) pilots are not immune. Lose weight—it will reduce fuel burn and keep your dirty side down for a lot longer. Use smaller plates to help eat smaller portions. Cut out processed foods and high sugar and carb stuff, eat more fruit and vegetables.

Second, move! Any exercise helps reduce weight but also benefits heart and lungs, gets the bowels functioning, and evidence suggests, improves brain function. You do not have to join a gym, buy Lycra and get sweaty. Merely a nice brisk walk for 30 minutes every other day. Easy, yes?

If you smoke, stop. Period. Just stop. As for booze, obviously not anywhere near a flight, but in moderation it provides social gratification and wine certainly has a positive health benefit. Other “recreational” pharmaceuticals? Not only an FAA no-no, but they are also illegal and really not good for you. So get help and quit.

Happy holiday season and may 2013 bring you clear skies, a tailwind,and the best of health.

To learn more about the Pilot Protection Services program or to enroll, visit www.aopa.org/pps.

Dr. Jonathan Sackier is a surgeon, aircraft owner and AOPA Pilot Protection Services expert.

New Year's 'fly well' resolutions

Most resolutions fade by Jan. 2, but getting healthy keeps you flying longer, so give it a shot. Let’s look at a few corollaries to benefit your health, inside and outside the cockpit.  to continue reading…


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Jonathan Sackier is a surgeon, aircraft owner and AOPA Pilot Protection Services expert.

Jonathan Sackier