Travelling can disturb your training routine – you may not have a gym where you’re going, you might find yourself eating at unusual times, you might be tired from dealing with time-zone changes and apart from anything else, you might not want to spend too much of your precious holiday in the gym! So why not make the most of any downtime you have at the airport to keep up with your training routine? Elliott Upton, a personal trainer with Ultimate Performance and regular long-haul flyer, has some tips.
Prepare for Your Trip
‘It can be easy to be tempted by all the food outlets at airports,’ Elliott said, ‘especially if you have a long layover – it’s easy to eat out of boredom. Take your own food with you – with very few exceptions, it will be fine going through security (except liquids) – just remember not to bring any metal cutlery! And if you have a layover, try to stock up on the raw ingredients – maybe some salad, nuts and a pre-cooked chicken breast or some baked tofu – rather than heading for a restaurant.’
Use Airport Facilities
Some airports have facilities to help you keep fit. At Dubai Airport, people passing through the airport can use the G-Force Health Club for a small fee, and relax in the jacuzzi, sauna or steam room afterwards, and at Changi Airport, you can enjoy a swim in the rooftop pool. Several airports offer yoga facilities –Paris Charles de Gaulle is offering free yoga classes this summer in several locations throughout the airport while Dallas and Frankfurt airports have yoga studios equipped with mats, blocks and other equipment which are free to use. The Dallas studio has windows with a view of the runway and specially produced yoga class videos and in Frankfurt, there are floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and a giant Buddha. Heathrow also has a yoga studio but you will need to buy a pass to the Skyteam lounge to use it. ‘It’s a great idea to do some exercise between flights if you can,’ said Elliott. ’It gets your blood pumping again and your body back in alignment after sitting still for so long – it can also help combat fatigue.’
Even if your airport doesn’t have special training facilities, there are still things you can do to keep fit. ‘Most of all, I’d suggest walking,’ Elliott said. ‘Most airports are very large and there’s plenty of room to walk! I recently had a layover of several hours at Bangkok Airport and walked 20,000 steps – around seven miles – while I was answering emails on my phone. If you don’t want to work you could listen to an audio book or a podcast while you move. You don’t even need anything special to track the number of steps - download an app such as StepsApp Pedometer - and your phone will do it for you.’
Stretch It Out
Sitting still on a plane can make you feel stiff, so as well as walking, you might like to try some gentle stretches. ‘Your neck muscles may feel stiff, as well as your quads, calves and glutes which can also cause back pain. Stretches should be part of your normal training routine so you’ll probably know which ones to do, but if not, find a routine online. You might want to find a quiet spot for this – an empty gate can work well.’
Once You Arrive
You might not feel like it, but assuming your hotel has a gym, get training as soon as you can after you arrive,’ Elliott said. ‘Or if there’s no gym, go for a run or similar. It will help with any jet lag or stiffness and set you up well for training habits while you’re away. Try to fit training in so it doesn’t impact on your time away – first thing in the morning is often best whether you’re on holiday or on business. Keep your sessions down to about an hour, focussing on whole-body workouts rather than specific body parts to get the most out of the least amount of time possible spent training.’
Join a Community and Challenge Yourself
It’s often easier to stay motivated while training on the move if you have goals to aim for. Air France now has over 13,000 members in 60 countries signed up to its Running scheme. You can sign up via various fitness apps and take part in various fitness challenges to win flights and Air France accessories.
There are plenty of ways to stay fit and motivated while you’re traveling – even while you’re at the airport!