- Published on Sunday, 10 February 2013 00:01
- Written by Veronica Pocza
New businesses aim to boost immunity while on the job
Maggie Yasinski has been a flight attendant for more than six years. Working in one of the world's most popular industries, she learns a lot about the things that come with flying all day in "a tin can at 36,000 feet."
Yasinski says employee turnaround is slow despite the close to 5,000 applicants that a single airline receives every year. The free travel benefits attract many to the job. However, she admits that the job of a fight attendant isn't so glamorous at times.
Not your typical job
"The typical schedule for a full-time flight attendant would be spent flying for two weeks of the month," Yasinski explains.
During those two weeks, she says working up to 14 hours a day with constant travelling requires commitment and special attention to health and nutrition.
One danger is being at elevated heights closer to the sun.
"We are exposed to a lot of radiation around the waist level because of the windows, which in cases could risk skin cancer," she says.
"There are also the more obvious setbacks, like the lack of oxygen and chance of dehydration."
Yasinski has also learned that "over an extended period of time, usually over 10 years, the dehydration can eliminate a flight attendants' ability to donate organs," she says.
"We can't come to work with even the slightest cold because we would infect everyone on crew and probably pop our eardrums," she adds.
Yasinski says full-time flight attendants average about 10 sick days during their already shortened work year.
However, flight attendants and frequent flyers can do a few things to stay healthy in such a germ-ridden environment.
5 tips for travelling healthy
Calgary nurse Reilly Campbell, who has recently dealt with many flu patients, says there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to immunity and overall health.
"If there's ever an outbreak of anything — like the recent flu — flight attendants are at high risks, along with nurses," Campbell says. "Like us, they work in an area where people are very contagious."
She suggests taking extra precautions and maintaining a good daily routine.
"Eating healthy and exercising regularly makes all the difference. These things strengthen bodies against infection," Campbell says.
Healthy at high altitudes
"With always being on the go and staying in different places, it's hard to stay motivated," Yasinski says.
Due to these challenges, Yasinski is hoping to fill that void with a program aimed at making life a little easier for those on the go.
Yasinski plans to tackle the fitness side. With a personal training business in the works, she is currently in the process of achieving her personal trainers' certification.
"I have been in fitness competitions and always been healthy myself," she says.
"But I need that extra training to learn how to apply my knowledge to each specific client and their body type. Everyone will have different needs andgoals."
To start out the services will be available to attendants in WestJet, as her exercise plans will cater to the equipment available at each hotel on their routes. She plans to let the company "grow on its own and see what happens."
She still has a few things to do before her launch — like taking pictures of each facility to place on her website.
Yasinski hopes to have her business available by April. She will still work as a flight attendant after her business launches.
Nutrition is important
A fellow flight attendant has also started a business catering to the needs of this market. Personal caterer Mandy Crawford has been running her lunch bag catering for the past year and a half.
Crawford says that Paper-Bag-Princess Catering is intended for life on the go because the whole ordering service is available online, adding, "from the click of a button a client can have food ready for the week."
The Calgary business has been crafted for flight attendants or any shift-work jobs requiring constant travel. It has recently spread to corporate customers.
"Flight attendants face a lot of hassle — travelling through customs and always having fast, processed food available. It's easier to eat unhealthy, for sure," she says, adding that any busy lifestyle can be an obstacle for healthy eating.
Crawford has to watch her eating as she is involved in fitness.
"I love to cook and healthy eating has always been important to me. I take that extra time to pack my lunch but the average person is unaware of what to pack."
And that's exactly what Crawford aims to provide — packed lunches available to those who either don't have the time or don't know what to pack.
"If people do not choose to use my service, but it has inspired them to go off and do the same thing —pack a healthy lunch — then I'm still happy," she says.
How do you stay healthy when travelling?