For people who only travel once in a while, a layover is a great time to treat oneself to a drink, some lip smacking snacks or even a quick nap. But for frequent flyers, businessmen and sales people, sitting idle for long periods of time at the airport has started taking a toll on their health. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Healthy Air Travel task force, layovers need to be utilized by people as an opportunity to exercise, rather than just sitting idle and waiting for your flight.

It seems that people who spend the majority of their week traveling are putting themselves at serious health risk through constant inactivity. They sit on the plane, they sit in the terminal, they sit at their meeting – then it’s off to the hotel for some well-deserved shut eye. All of this sitting can affect your metabolism making it very slow, affect your heart and raise your stress levels. To combat this epidemic, a number of doctors and fitness experts have developed some simple recommendations to help keep you fit when you’re stuck in the airport.

In this article, we’ll discuss the options to work out that everyone has access to, while waiting at the airport

Pack Some Comfy Shoes
Airports are big places, and one could easily log a 5 mile walk or more during a one-hour layover. So doctors have started recommending that frequent flyers pack sneakers or tennis shoes in their carry on, so that they can comfortably stroll the terminals instead of sleeping at their gate or snacking in the bar. All it takes is a little perseverance and a bit of dedication.

Some additional benefits include

  • Your layover will go faster,
  • You’ll feel better and
  • You’ll help stave off frequent traveler problems like jet lag, insomnia and upset stomach.

Check Out What the Airport Offers
Airports are well aware that they often have to entertain people for long periods of time, which is why they usually have bars, restaurants and plenty of places where people can relax. However, many airports also offer facilities for individuals who wish to remain active during their stay – like yoga rooms, fitness centers, even full-sized gyms.

So rather than sitting on your duff at the terminal, why not see if there’s a place where you can make more productive use of your time.

Get Some Fresh Air
If the airport is small, boring or doesn’t offer any facilities of interest, why not strap on your tennis shoes and hit the airport parking lot for a jog? Many airports are situated on miles of property, and getting some exercise out in the fresh air would be a healthy way to kill some time. Even better, you’ll still be under the guise of airport security and won’t be in danger of entering any unsafe areas.

Leave the Airport Entirely
For some reason, many people seem to think that there’s a rule against leaving the airport during a layover. Quite the contrary, many individuals take advantage of layovers as great times to explore an unfamiliar city or take in some local color.

  • You could very easily take a taxi into town and take a walk around the local shops, or
  • You could suit up for some real exercise and have a cab driver drop you off at the nearest park or fitness center.

Whether you take inspiration from these suggestions or develop your own layover exercise regimen, it’s important that frequent flyers make a concerted effort to stay active.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in the airport with nothing to do, take a walk, go for a jog or even go pump some iron at the nearest gym. Your mind and body will appreciate you finding time in your busy schedule to maintain your health.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP