The following is excerpted from our upcoming book, 300 Healthy Travel Tips.
Before your next flight, don’t just sit there. Get up and move around. Take a brisk walk. Do stretches. Use the stairs. And get your pulse pumping before you step on the plane.
The good news is that many of the biggest airports in America and abroad are helping to make air travel healthier and less stressful. In a growing number of forward-thinking air terminals, you can indulge in yoga, walk on a dedicated and marked path before or between flights, and find tranquility from the noisy crush of a busy airport.
If you look closely, you’ll find marked walking trails inside the terminals (and nature trails on the grounds), and yoga studios at airports like Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Baltimore-Washington International, Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, and more. Some of the best examples include:
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) has a walking path traversing Terminals A through E, along a .79-mile route.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) has two cardio trails that give you the option to burn calories before your flight. Covering 1 kilometer (.62 miles) each, you can stroll either trail in about 20 minutes.
If you have more time and calories to burn, go outside the terminal (you will need to re-enter the security zone afterward) and hike the12.5-mile BWI Trail that circles the airport. Catch some badly needed fresh air along its paved trail, stop at the observation area for some plane spotting, and indulge with your kids in the airport’s park and playground. You can find a map of the BWI Trail here.
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) offers walking paths along with four health stations in Terminals A, B, and C where you can check your blood pressure (hopefully, it’s not boiling over from airport madness), height and weight, and test for Body Mass Index. (Yes, we know: Checking your BMI is like looking in a funhouse mirror.) You can pick up Logan Airport’s free Strides for Health map that details the walking paths and the length between concourses.
Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) offers a yoga studio in Terminal 3, which includes bamboo floors, full-length mirrors, and instructional videos for yogis of all levels.
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) does everything big. Indulge in some yoga in Terminal D. Open 24 hours, the DFW yoga studio includes mats and instructional videos. If you want to step things up a bit, the airport’s walking path winds through Terminal D between gates D6 and D40, with distances marked between 12 different floor art medallions, where you finish up at the yoga studio entrance. For something more heart-pounding, challenge yourself by climbing the 55-foot staircases to the airport’s Skylink people movers, also in Terminal D.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) has a route you can walk through the terminals stretching 1.3 miles. We give you 3–1 odds you can make it — assuming you don’t stop to hit the slot machines along the way.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) might be in the home of the great white north. But the airport’s 1.4-mile walking path in the Lindbergh Terminal (between the C and D concourses) lets you take a brisk stroll through its comfy indoor environs. As you do, you will find distance markers along the way to track your progress.
And just two miles away, the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge can help you escape to a world of nature. Hike through forests, native prairies, and lake marshes from loops as short as a half-mile to a 12-mile trek. Just minutes from the airport, you can discover bald eagles, deer, turkey, red fox, songbirds, and waterfowl along the Mississippi River.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) ups the ante with its two-mile long Fitness Trail inside Terminal 4. Your walk will reward you with views of Camelback Mountain and the PHX Sky Train bridge. Along the route, you will find water-bottle refill stations too.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is a great place to start a hike or go on a bike ride. Locals even ride their bikes from the city to catch their flight. Just outside the terminal is the gateway to a multi-use bike/pedestrian trail system with spectacular views of the Columbia River, the Cascades, wildlife, as well as jets taking off and landing. You can find out more here.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is so very California. Step outside the terminal to bask in the San Diego sunshine and ocean breeze along a mixed-use pedestrian and cycling path. Walk, run, or pedal for miles along North San Diego Bay, from Shelter Island and Point Loma, all the way to Little Italy in downtown. You will enjoy views of the water, downtown San Diego, U.S. Navy facilities, and more. You can even rent a bike to plot your escape. And because it’s Southern California, you can ride your bike to the airport and store it in a convenient locker. Totally rad. For details and maps, visit their website.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) helps you escape to the inner peace of its two Zen room yoga studios in Terminals 2 and 3. Their yoga rooms offer mats and the welcome tranquility of low lighting, peace, and quiet, thanks to noise- and cell phone-free zones.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) can provide you with a quick stroll before your flight along a collection of fine art. Trace your steps over a half-mile amid dazzling artwork from the airport’s central terminal to the end of Concourse A. You can also squeeze in a good two miles by walking all of Concourses A, B, C, and D.
Abroad, Incheon International Airport in Seoul features a skating rink, and you can even play a round of golf at the SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course on the grounds of Hong Kong International Airport. And Singapore’s Changi Airport, famous for its amenities, boasts an array of fitness centers, spas, showers, steam baths, even pools in its different terminals for international travelers.
These are only a few examples of a rapidly growing trend worldwide to offer healthier activities for air travelers. So before your next flight, look around. You might be surprised at what you can do.
From our upcoming book, 300 Healthy Travel Tips. Learn more at http://www.healthytrekking.com/300-healthy-travel-tips-book/