How To Stay Active During A Layover
Airports are unhealthy places, especially if you’ve got a long layover. You sit around for hours at a time, with no fresh air, and no access to healthy food. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, more and more people are using their layovers to burn calories and keep themselves in great shape. A decade ago, it would have seemed crazy to see someone doing squats or running around an airport lounge, but now everyone’s doing it. Of course, not everyone is comfortable with exercising in public, so we’ve thought of 10 ways to stay active during your layover. They range from going for a walk to doing a full-blown workout, so hopefully, there’s something for everyone.
1. Pack Your Own Lunch
Before we really get into the different ways to stay active, we thought we’d mention diet. For some reason, airports seem to be behind the rest of the world in terms of healthy eating options. Almost every airport is full of McDonald’s, Burger Kings, and KFCs. And anyone who cares about their health is going to be avoiding these places like the plague. There are some airports with okay eating options, so we’d recommend doing your research before your layover.
If you care about your health, you should pack your own lunch for your layover. Some of you might be confused at this. Maybe you’ve had a bottle of water or a jar of jam confiscated at security. But, if you’re flying domestically, you can usually bring your own food as long as it adheres to the airline’s guidelines. Dry food and fresh vegetables are usually okay, as long as they are sealed in a leak-proof container. The problem normally comes with liquids, but you can easily buy water once you’re inside the airport. The rules are different on long-haul flights, but with a bit of research, you should be able to take some healthy snacks with you.
2. Stretch Yourself Out
Anyone who flies regularly will know how stiff and sore you can feel after a flight. If you’ve then got to jump onto another flight without the time to do a proper exercise, some simple stretches should help you out. Obviously, the type of stretches you can do depends on the amount of space and equipment you have. If you can find a nice open space, you can lay down a mat (if you have one) and do a whole series of exercises. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to get a bit more creative, but there are still loads of leg stretches you could do. Just remember to wash your hands after touching the airport floor.
The best thing about stretching on your layover is that it increases the blood flow to your muscles. That means it will stop your body from aching as much and keep you feeling fresh. It also improves your posture and helps to prevent back pain. Basically, it’s your best friend when you’re flying regularly.
3. Use The Airport’s Facilities
You might think that airports are full of bad restaurants, uncomfortable chairs, and expensive shops, and some of them are. But not all of them. A lot of airports actually have a lot of facilities to help you stay active. You can find everything from small gyms to full-sized spas and pools. We’ve even found some airports that have yoga rooms.
Access to these rooms is rarely free and the price will vary a lot from airport to airport. There’s an amazing facility in Dubai, with a gym, steam rooms, and saunas, that costs $13 an hour. Some other airports might charge more than that. If you travel regularly to an airport, you can even buy annual passes. Whatever the cost, it’s definitely worth finding out if the airport you’re going to has any facilities like this. It’s one of the best ways to pass time on your layover and you’ll sleep easily once you get on the plane.
4. Bring Your Own Gym
If the airport doesn’t have a gym, why don’t you bring your own? If you’ve got some extra space in your luggage set, you can fill it with exercise equipment to create your own gym. Now, the type of equipment you can bring will obviously depend on how much space you’ve got, but we’d recommend exercise mats and foam rollers as the obvious choice. These are both really versatile and aren’t going to add a huge amount of weight to your bag like a set of dumbbells would.
We already talked about how you could use an exercise mat to do stretches in the airport, but you could also use it for more vigorous exercises. Foam rollers are another great option because they basically act as a self-massaging tool. You can use them for a number of exercises, but also to massage out the tight spots in your muscle groups. Anyone who has spent time on long-haul flights will tell you how much they need a massage after they land. And now you can do it for yourself.
5. Use Resistance Bands
This one sort of ties in with the last point. Resistance bands are one of the most portable and versatile pieces of equipment you can get. And you’ll even be able to fit them into your hand luggage without worrying about space or weight. That’s because they’re literally just large rubber bands.
There are so many different workouts you can do using resistance bands. You can put them around your legs and walk side-to-side like a crab. You can pull your arms apart. You can even use them as make-shift dumbbells.
You might feel a little self-conscious using them inside an airport lobby, but just remember that you are doing it to keep yourself in great condition. These bands are, without question, one of the most versatile pieces of kit out there. Even if you buy them just for your long layovers, you’ll end up using them for your regular workouts.
6. Squats And Lunges
If you don’t have enough space for any equipment, you should think of a few exercises you can do without any. The two obvious exercises that come to mind are squats and lunges. These are two awesome exercises that work all the muscle groups in your legs, including the thighs, glutes, and hamstrings.
There are so many reasons that squats and lunges are good for you. They build muscle all over your body, they can burn fat, they prevent injury, and they can increase your mobility. Plus, they’ll stop your body from feeling as tired after a long flight. The only problem is, you might feel a bit silly doing squats and lunges in a busy airport lounge. If you’re not the kind of person that can do this confidently, try and find a quiet corner where people won’t be looking at you. And just remember, you’ll never see any of your fellow passengers again – except for maybe on the plane.
7. Explore The City
Working out in public isn’t for everyone. A lot of people won’t go to the gym to avoid people looking at them whilst they’re working out. So, doing exercises at the airport isn’t going to work for them. If that sounds like you, don’t worry, there are all sorts of other things you can do to stay active on your layover.
One of the best things you can do to stay active is to explore the city you’re staying in. This isn’t possible on every layover – sometimes you can’t leave the airport without a visa or you don’t have enough time to get out of the airport. But, if you have more than a few hours, you could burn off a couple of hundred calories by simply going for a walk. Again, it’s always worth researching this beforehand because you can sometimes get a one-day visa for really cheap. That way you might actually have a story to tell from your travels.
8. Just Go For A Walk
Sometimes you’ve only got a couple of hours on a layover, so you can’t really leave the airport and go for a long walk. But that doesn’t mean you’ve got to stay glued to your chair. Why not walk around the airport? Most airports, especially international airports, have plenty of room to get a long-distance walk in. Put your favorite song or podcast in your headphones and try to walk from one end of the airport to the other a couple of times.
It might not be the most interesting walk, but it still counts as good quality exercise. You’ll get the blood pumping around your body and stop your muscles from seizing up on the long flight ahead. Plus, if you powerwalk, you could burn over 300 calories an hour. And, if you’re lugging heavy suitcase or carry-on bag with you, you’ll burn even more calories.
9. Use The Airport As Your Gym
If you’re not the self-conscious kind, you can get really creative with your airport lounge workouts. There’s a ton of equipment that is already sat there waiting for you to use it. Probably the most obvious example is the airport chair. Every airport in the world is full of these and most of the time they’re unoccupied. If you like to mix up your workouts, you’ll already know that there are loads of different workout you can do using a chair. For example, tricep dips, chair plank, seated hip thrust, Russian twist, and leg lifts are all great workouts that can be as effective as any session in the gym. For more information on these workouts, just type them into Google and you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions.
After you’ve used the chairs, you could use the floor or wall as another exercise aid. Or, you could find a stairwell and do a couple of reps up and down. You could even run the wrong way up an escalator, but you should probably check that security aren’t watching first.
10. Run Around The Airport
If none of the above suggestions are working for you, you could simply run around the airport. You don’t need any equipment, except for a pair of running shoes, and you can get loads of exercise in on your layover. However, there are a few things to remember if you’re going to try this.
Firstly, don’t forget how security conscious airports are. If you’re running fast in normal clothes, you’re going to alert security and you might end up getting tackled. We’d definitely recommend putting your stuff in a locker and changing into proper running attire. That should avoid any awkward interviews. Secondly, don’t try and run if it’s really busy. If passengers are rushing to get their plane and you’re in their way, people are going to get annoyed quick. And lastly, make sure you can get a shower afterward. In fact, this applies to every exercise we’ve mentioned. Don’t get on the plane if you smell and you’re covered in sweat.
- The Flyer’s Guide To Running In Airports – Inside Flyer
- Simple Exercises You Can Do In The Airport On Your Next Layover – SkyScanner
- Stuck At The Airport? 5 Exercises To Do During A Delay – Sharecare