Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Healthy Aging with Flying

Healthy Aging

Some of the hottest topics these days are: living a healthy and active life, maintaining health, and combating the effects of aging.  There is a wide range of methods and products to facilitate this including, taking vitamins/supplements, eating fresh/organic foods, exercising regularly, taking pharmaceuticals, etc.
During the first week of July I went to the 99s International Conference in Kona, Hawaii.  I am always amazed by this diverse group of several hundred women that attend these events.  Something we all have in common is that we are pilots. We fly airplanes from 2 place Cessnas to corporate and commercial jets, helicopters, balloons, seaplanes, ultra lights, and just about anything that can leave the earth.

One thing I noticed is how sharp some of the women are in their 70's, 80's, and even 90's.  Some of these women started flying back in the 40's and have been flying ever since.  Can you imagine? 

One day a group of us was hanging out by the hotel pool which had a  big, blue 200' long water slideWe all hooted and hollered and had a blast as we shrieked down the slide. One of the ladies was 92 (she still flies on a regular basis) and the other is in her 80's.  How many people do you know that would go down a water slide even at age 50? 

Do you think flying has anything to do with this vitality?  Well I do.  Flying exercises your brain in ways other activities don't even come close to doing.  It accesses your short and long term memory, uses your cognitive abilities, utilizes hand-eye coordination, necessitates communicating clearly, requires a constant decision making ability, and to be alert at all times.

When thinking about getting older, consider flying as something to include in your life, and for the rest of your life.  It will not only keep you thinking and feeling young, but you may live longer and healthier!

Sue Ballew

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