Delayed at the Airport? Get in Shape While You Wait

stay in shape

Getting fit when there’s access to a gym, roads, and even the living room floor is one thing. But when you’re sitting for multiple hours on a plane, after sitting in the airport lounge with several hours of delay, that Channing Tatum 12-pack seems impossible.

Fear not. There is a solution.

Check for a gym!

There’s a decent chance an airport actually has a gym for its passengers to use. In fact, airport gyms seem to be popping up all over the world, allowing people to get fit on the fly. See this comprehensive list of airports that come with health clubs, weight rooms, and more. As an alternative, many city hubs (like New York City) have gyms that are a quick taxi ride from the airport in case a layover is long enough to warrant a trip outside.

Stick to bodyweight.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get the muscles burning without needing any equipment. Find a quiet corner of the airport, and do sets of squats, lunges, push-ups, and mountain climbers to get the heart rate up in no time. For those heading to sunbathe at a tropical island, an exercise to fire up the core (like crunches and planks) will be a nice treat beforehand. Here’s a great 30 minute bodyweight exercise workout for any airport, or try the quick routine below:

  • Tuck jump (12-15 reps)
  • Push-up (12-15 reps)
  • Squat (12-15 reps)
  • Mountain climber (12-15 reps)
  • Tricep dip on chair (12-15 reps)
  • Glute bridge (12-15 reps)
  • Jump plank (12-15 reps)
  • Superman (12-15 reps)

One round should take about 10 minutes or under going once through. (Still have time or want more of a challenge? Try it twice back-to-back!) Workout illustrations can be found here!

Exercise the mind!

People can meditate anywhere—airport included. After a nice bodyweight workout, sit in silence for 5-10 minutes and count inhales and exhales in order to calm and strengthen the mind. Here’s a great routine to get started. Lucky you if you’re at SFO-you can hit up the meditation room for added peace.

Lap the airport.

If it’s too hard to change into workout gear, don’t sweat. (Well, not mentally). There are simple ways to take advantage of the long halls and multiple floors of an airport. When killing time, take the stairs versus an escalator, walk down the long stretch of gates instead of hopping on the moving escalators, and if the airport allows, walk to a terminal versus taking the air rail. Also, make sure to avoid sitting for as long as possible, even when at the gate.

If you find yourself a set of stairs, give this a shot:

20 Calf Raises

Run or Walk the Stairs (And back)

40 Calf Raises

2 X Run or Walk The Stairs (And Back)

60 Calf Raises

Run or Walk the Stairs Two At a Time

Repeat As Necessary!

Stretch it out.

Okay, so even even it’s time to give the body a rest, we can still get some work down sitting down. When people sit at the gate and count down the minutes until they can finally board, most never think about using their chair to give the muscles a good stretch. But the glutes, hips, calves, and back can all get a nice mini workout in, and most fellow passengers won’t even notice!

For a glute stretch, raise the knee towards the opposite shoulder, and wrap the arm around the knee. Move the leg towards the shoulder and feel the burn. For hips, rest the ankle on the opposite knee and press down gently. The calves can get a nice stretch by extending the leg, raising the toes, and then trying to grab them. As far as the back goes, cross the thighs, and turn the body toward the leg that’s raised to feel a good stretch in the lower back. To target other areas of the body (and get off the chair!) try these stretching ideas.

This post was first published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 5, 2016 by Fiona Moriarty.

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