It’s the beginning of a brand new year and the pressure is mounting to successfully keep our resolutions. According to USA.gov, the most widely reported resolutions for 2013 include:
- Drink Less Alcohol
- Eat Healthy Food
- Get a Better Education
- Get a Better Job
- Get Fit
- Lose Weight
- Manage Debt
- Manage Stress
- Quit Smoking
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- Save Money
- Take a Trip
- Volunteer to Help Others
It’s pretty clear that the most popular New Year resolutions revolve around self-help, self-improvement and health and fitness. So why should travelling by air interfere with our ability to stay the course with our health and fitness goals?
We should be able to travel and stay fit. This means that airports have unique opportunities to help us as well as to capitalize on this annual consumer mindset that includes the overall healthy living trend already sweeping America. It’s great to find that some airports have already embraced the trend by incorporating healthy improvements to enhance the overall passenger experience at their airport.
It is common knowledge that in advance of long flights or in between flights, passengers benefit from activity and should move around or exercise, rather than sitting in lounges, on barstools or in the gate areas. Long periods of inactivity in cramped seats on board aircraft can lead to potential health hazards, including deep vein thrombosis.
Since much of travel time is actually spent at terminals (especially during flight cancellations and delays), airports can and should create opportunities to facilitate passenger well-being by promoting activities like walking, exercise, meditating or healthy eating. This ultimately benefits travelers by helping them arrive at their distant destinations feeling better and with more energy.
So what healthy activities can travellers find at their airports today?
Last January, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opened what they refer to as the ‘first ever’ Yoga Room at an airport. Described as a quiet, softly lit 150-square-foot room that was formerly storage space, the yoga studio is located in SFO’s Terminal 2, just beyond the security checkpoint. It is available to all ticket passengers and there is no need to worry about classes or instructors. The room just has some mats and a couple of chairs, allowing passengers to do their own yoga exercises at their own pace. And everyone knows that getting on board an aircraft in a relaxed state certainly can make flying much more pleasant for everyone.
Later last year, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport also opened a yoga studio between Terminals D and B that offers basic yoga equipment including exercise mats, and for newbies, there is a beginner’s yoga video they can watch.
Similar to some mega cruise ships that boast exercise decks and tracks, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is providing options for passengers to get active and stay heart healthy. The airport has teamed up with the American Heart Association for their Start Walking program and travellers can now choose to walk the 1.4 mile walking path at Terminal 1-Lindbergh, staying active rather than sitting in the gate area awaiting flight departures.
In-terminal gyms are also gaining popularity and a handful of them have already turned up at U.S. and international airports. These full service exercise facilities offer healthier options for passengers to adhere to their regular exercise routines whether on extended layovers, or if they are stranded at the airport by weather or other delays.
At the Detroit Metro Airport, The Westin Fitness Center is located in the Northwest terminal and offers a basic gym including treadmills, weights and free weights for a $15 daily fee. Visitors to the gym also have access to the showers and towels, but the pool access is for hotel guests only.