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Layover or Delay? Plan a Workout

You don’t have to be a fitness junkie to want to feel better during a long flight itinerary.  All the sitting and waiting, followed by more sitting and maybe a cocktail.  Before you know it, you feel terrible.  Wouldn’t it be great if somehow you could avoid the weary traveler feeling and re-energize?

Luckily, many airports have created convenient options designed to help you plan ahead and squeeze in a workout before you board the next leg of your journey.  Make sure you pack your shoes, workout clothes, towel and whatever else you need to complete your workout of choice.  Set a timetable so you know when you need to wrap-up your activities and head to boarding.

Here are some fun options that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy to your flight:

Hit the Gym

While there is not a gym in every airport, they are becoming a lot more common.  Some of the bigger airports such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Heathrow, Dubai, Miami and Zurich have conveniently located fitness centers for travelers.  Do your research ahead of time to see if you have this option.  If you have an extended delay and want to take a taxi to a nearby club, there is a listing of options at  Try to do a routine that you know well to avoid over-exertion or muscle soreness that might make sitting uncomfortable.  You want to be relaxed and ready for whatever comes next.


Use the Travelators as a Treadmill

This is one of my favorites, but it needs to be done correctly.  First, find a travelator that is essentially empty and walk against the belt movement.  It’s not only fun, but you’ll get a pretty intense low-impact workout.  The challenge will be staying near the end of the belt.  You never know when someone might come walking toward you in the other direction and you’ll need to hop off.  Hint:  If you’re stopped by airport security, act like you’re lost.


Practice Your Favorite Yoga Routine

If you are flying through San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD) or Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) you can use your layover to practice yoga.  I’m sure there are other airports that have a yoga studio or are planning to open one in 2014, so check before you travel. Another option is to find a quiet section of the airport (hot tip: ask airport personnel, they usually know a good place), lay out your travel mat and practice poses that fight the damage done by long periods of sitting.

Need a good travel mat, try this one: (
Travel Yoga Mat


Explore the Airport’s Walking Loops

A few airports have walking loops as a convenience for travelers.  You’ll find designated areas at Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Baltimore Washington (BWI), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Indianapolis (IND).  The paths are usually marked so you know the distance and you can do as many laps as your layover or delay allows.  Looking for more paths?  The American Heart Association provides a tool for searching airport walking paths, just enter the state and for type of path, select “airport.” Battle-tested travelers would probably tell you to just skip the train and walk between terminals.  Carrying your luggage and walking is a great workout if you know the airport and are sure you have enough time to make the gate call.  Sometime I just set my watch and start walking through the terminal.


More from Samantha Brown:

Airport Upgrades Make Traveler’s Lives Easier

My Airport Survival Guide

2013 Top Gifts for Travelers

Travel Fitness Survival Guide

Yoga Retreats: Unleash Your Inner Yogi

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