How to Exercise at the Airport
For so long now, being stuck in an airport with a long layover has carried the stigma of a lengthy wait with nothing to do besides eat fast food and people watch.
Finally the tides are changing and there is a huge group of us who have figured out how to fly fit and keep busy during that layover! Airports throughout the world are now partnering with gyms, health organizations and hotels to provide multiple fitness opportunities for passengers. Walking routes, yoga rooms, express spas, even full service gyms are now popping up in airports to give passengers the chance to exercise while traveling!
The American Heart Association has been working on a Start Walking project since 2008 where they have been installing walking tracks in several airports across the USA. If you happen to be at one of these airports, try their walking trail complete with water filling stations and markers to count how far you have been.
Airports with Walking Paths for Exercise at the Airport
- Dallas Fort Worth (DFW): 1 ¾ mile path from D6 to D40, with optional step courses in the form of 55-foot high staircases at Terminal D’s two Skylink people mover stations.
- Indianapolis (IND): 4 tracks in total. ¼ mile through ticketing, 2 ½ mile tracks in each concourse and a 1.1 mile track around both concourses.
- Minneapolis St Paul (MSP): 1.4 mile path in Terminal 1.
- Cleveland (CLE): 1 ½ mile path.
- Lambert-St Louis (STL: 1 ½ mile path.
- Boston Logan (BOS): Several 2 mile paths with health stations to monitor things like blood pressure and heart rate plus water filling stations.
- Baltimore (BWI): 2 mile path inside plus a 12.5 mile path right outside complete with rental options, bag storage and a playground.
- Atlanta (ATL): 2 mile path.
- Seattle Tacoma (SEA): ½ mile path.
- Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX): 2 mile path in Terminal 4.
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL): 1.3 mile path with a carry-on bag storage options available.
- Anchorage (ANC): 4.2 mile paved trail for hiking and biking with spectacular views just outside the door of this airport! Carry-on bag storage and rental options easily available.
Interested in a little yoga? These airports have special yoga rooms in them for exercise at the airport:
- San Francisco (SFO): Free 24-hour studio in Terminal 2 with mats and props available.
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD): Free open from 6am-10pm in Terminal 3. Includes continually streaming yoga video, music, mirrors and bamboo flooring.
- Dallas Fort Worth (DFW): Free 24-hour studio near D40.
- Burlington (BVT): Free 24-hour studio with bamboo floors and a local yoga studio comes in to offer occasional classes.
Full gyms are popping up now also for more serious exercise at the airport:
- Dallas (DFW): Grand Hyatt Fitness Center and Spa on the SkyLink/Terminal Link – $30 day pass.
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD): Hilton Athletic Club in Terminal 2 – $10 – 20 day pass.
- Detroit Metro (DTW): Westin Fitness Center in McNamara Terminal – $15 day pass and $5 clothing rental.
- Philadelphia International (PHL): Fitness bikes are all over, just jump on!
Traveling internationally? Here is where you can exercise in the airport:
- Toronto Pearson (YYZ): Good Life in Terminal 1 – $15 entrance and free for members. The gym offers luggage storage, changerooms and showers. Reebok shoe and clothing rentals are available.
- Dubai (DXB): G-Force Health Club in Sheikh Rashid Terminal 1 – $13/hour. They have showers, jacuzzis, massage therapists and a coed pool!
- Singapore Changi (SIN): Fitness Lounges in Terminals 1 – 3 – $13/hour and $7 clothing rental, and the Ambassador Hotel also offers fitness facilities and a pool.
- Munich (MUC): Kempinski Hotel Fit & Fly between Terminal 1 and 2 – $40 for day pass.
- Zurich (ZRH): Radisson Blu Fitness Center on basement floor – $43/two hours and upwards.
- Vancouver (YVR): Fairmont Hotel at USA Departures Hall – $18 entrance and $10 clothing rental.
I am hoping the trend continues and we see more things like this popping up. But in the meantime, if you find yourself stuck in an airport not listed here, there are still ways for you (and your family) to exercise!
When traveling I have a super light picnic blanket that I always pack in the bottom of my carry-on. If we get stuck or have a layover, I find an empty spot and spread out our blanket. We then do some stretching and exercising to keep the blood moving, plus burn off a little energy! If I am traveling alone and I have forgotten my blanket I find a quiet spot and do standing exercises.
Here are 6 ways we exercise at the airport (please check with your doctor first to make sure these exercises are safe for you):
- We start off with some light stretching.
- Reach for the plane in the sky, stretch your arms right up and try to touch the sky, hold for 5 seconds.
- Now bend down, keep knees straight and touch those toes, hold for 5 seconds.
- Stand, put one hand on hip stretching the other arm over your head to the side, hold for 5 seconds. Switch and stretch to the other side.
- Repeat all 3 more times.
- Stand straight, feet hip width apart with arms out in a T position. Move arms in a small forward circle for 30 seconds. Then reverse the circular motion and do it the other way for 30 seconds. Now go forwards again but in a large circular motion for 30 seconds. And reverse that for 30 more seconds.
- Jumping jacks and burpees. These are a great way to get the blood moving. Get 20 jumping jacks (Jump, spread legs, raise arms, repeat) and 10-15 burpees (From standing position, touch the ground then raise your hands above your head while you jump up, repeat in a fluid motion) in.
- Squats. I know, the word is just painful. But they are really good for you, especially when you have been sitting a long time. So stand straight with feet hip width apart, toes pointed forward. Lower to your comfort zone, hold for 3 and stand. I like to do 12 reps and get really excited when I make it to 15 reps!
- Yoga poses. I read that a true Yogi listens to their body for the next pose. I love this idea. So once I have finished the above exercises, I listen to what my body needs and move into suitable poses. Anything from downward dog, to extended side angle pose, to warrior pose (pictured above) to tree and eagle pose works. Do what feels right for you.
- Take a walk! Just because there is no specific walking path at that airport does not mean you can’t create your own! Use your carry-on as weight and go explore the airport!
Whether traveling alone or with my family I always like to get a little exercise in when flying with connecting flights. These are simple exercises to keep the blood flowing and all of us feeling our best during our travel day.
How do you exercise at the airport?
Malibu Mama Loves Xx