Airport-Friendly Exercises for Frequent Flyers
Working out in the airport can be tricky, but if you are willing to push through the awkwardness, you can squeeze in a bit of healthy activity during your layover.
The first thing you need to worry about is your apparel. While you don’t need to be in full workout gear, you certainly don’t want to be in a pencil skirt and heels. Personally, I like to wear a travel dress made out of sweatpants material. It is long and flowing, so I don’t feel constricted at all. I also wear some comfortable leggings underneath so I don’t have to worry about anyone seeing up my skirt while I’m doing some of these moves. If you have a long enough layover and some extra space in your carry-on, you can also toss in some comfy workout clothes so that you have them ready for your airport workout.
The next step is finding a relatively empty area. The chances of you finding somewhere that is completely empty are pretty slim, so you need to accept the fact that you will have a bit of an audience. All you really need is a little bit of floor space, but if you can get something near a chair and some wall space, that’s even better.
There are so many great leg moves that require little to no equipment. Try this circuit for a good leg burn:
- 15 squats
- 20 calf raises
- 30 second wall sit
- Repeat 3 times
- 15 pushups (feel free to do wall pushups or chair pushups to avoid touching the floor)
- 15 tricep dips (on a chair or on the floor)
- Repeat 3 times
- 40 Russian twists (20 each side, sit sideways across a couple chairs if you don’t want to sit on the floor)
- 40 sidebends (20 each side, try holding your back pack or luggage with the hand you are bending towards for an extra burn)
- 40 standing toe touches (Make an X with your body by spreading your legs a bit wider than hip width and holding your arms at a 45-degree angle above your head. Lift your right foot to meet your left hand in the middle of your body, but do not bend your knees or elbows!)
- Repeat 3 times.
If you do not want to get sweaty, you might want to skip this section and just focus on your legs, arms and abs. However, there are great benefits to doing even just a really quick cardio circuit. I will often do one tabata, which is eight minutes, so that I won’t get too sweaty but I will still get my heart pumping. It helps kick start my metabolism and also helps to prevent cramps and overall discomfort on the plane.
A tabata is an eight-minute workout that involves 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Do each move for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest. If you really want a good workout, repeat this circuit three to four times.
- Jumping jacks
- Squat jumps
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Jump rope (no rope needed, just do the motions)
- Squat and punch (Be careful not to punch as hard as you can – without something to actually make contact with, you could cause strain on your joints)
- Sprint, march, skip or jog in place
Even if you only have an hour to kill, you can squeeze in a tiny workout. Airports can be a serious problem for anyone trying to stay fit, so try to focus on doing something healthy to keep your mind off the endless food courts full of overpriced and unhealthy food.