In the last two posts we learned what to eat and what to avoid at airports. Now we’ll learn how you can get some movement in to combat all that sitting.
To check or not to check?
It’s scary to check a bag because you may not get it at your destination and if you are flying in to RDU, it will take as long as your flight to actually get your baggage (what is going on back there?). However, if I have a long connection I almost always check my bag so I can walk around the airport untethered. Even with a nice roller bag it still jacks up your posture and spine to be pulling it on one side all the time.
Regardless of whether or not you check your bag, make sure you have some comfy shoes you can put on to walk the terminals. I’ll even find an unused gate and do an exercise routine right there. I’ve done sun salutations, push-ups, burpees and lunges all at empty gates. I’ve used my bag and done shoulder presses. Sometimes I’ll whip out my exercise bands and do a routine that doesn’t get me too sweaty but gives me an energy boost and a decent workout. At least four times I’ve had someone come up and ask me if they can borrow them while we were waiting for our flight. Each time we had multiple delays and were there so long that people were getting antsy and the movement really helped. I even created my own mobile kit, The Jetsetter Gym Kit, that has 55 pounds of resistance in a 14oz bag.
I have a collapsible hoop and have traveled with it several times. I’ve even whipped out my hoop at an empty gate and practiced or read and hooped at the same time. Are you the type of person who would be mortified to do this? How often have you seen someone in an airport that you knew? And besides, let the others stay in their tired, haggard, energy-drained state while you’re increasing blood flow, reducing your risk for cankles and getting a little calorie burn to boot.
Other ways to get activity? Stop using the people movers. Take a look at who is standing on the people movers next time you are at the airport. I guarantee it isn’t someone who looks fit and healthy. Or it’s someone with very small children. That’s a good excuse.
If you have a really long layover time, you might be fortunate enough to be at an airport with a fitness center. Don’t get your hopes up, there aren’t that many. I really think we could do with one less McDonald’s and one more fitness center with showers. Even if you don’t have shower access, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wet wipe yourself clean and put your clothes back on.
Fitness-minded airports include:
Dallas/Ft. Worth – American Advantage room has a small fitness center and showers. I’ve used this during a long layover. The Grand Hyatt full service fitness center and spa costs $30 for non-guests. Or take advantage of the free yoga studio with mats and looping DVD instruction or LiveWell Walking Path in Terminal D.
San Francisco International – yoga room
Detroit Metropolitan – Westin Airport Hotel has a full fitness studio for $15 and rents shoes, shorts and t-shirts for $5
Singapore Changi – fitness center in all terminals for $11
Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia – full health club with pool $18.00
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport – full health club $10-19
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – 1.4 mile walking path
Dubai International Airport – 24-hour gym $13 per hour
Zurich – Radisson (across the street via covered walkway) fitness center, Turkish baths and sleeping rooms. $43-110. Long layovers can be dealt with by renting bikes, inline skates and Nordic walking sticks.
Los Angeles International Airport – 18-hole golf course or space for yoga at LAX Flag Courtyard
Munich Airport – pool and fitness center $26-40
Toronto Pearson International – fitness center with showers, locker and towel service for $15
Cleveland Hopkins International – walking circuit
Seoul Korea Incheon International Airport – ice skating $4, golf club with driving range and putting green, fitness center
When you’re on the plane, make sure you get up at least every hour and walk to the bathroom or walk up and down the aisle. I always sit in the aisle seat if I can just so I can get up when I need to. It isn’t good for anyone, especially tall people who can’t even straighten their legs, to sit in one position for even 20 minutes, let alone a cross-country flight.
If you can’t get up, at least keep your feet moving by rolling your ankles and pointing and flexing your feet. Do some shoulder shrugs and wrist circles too while you’re waiting on the beverage cart.
Being healthy and productive isn’t about being spontaneous. It’s about careful planning to make sure that you arrive at your destination feeling as energized as you can with what you have had to work with.