Air travel can be a stressful endeavour, and many passengers crave the ability to decompress before a flight. While some airports have offered gyms in their terminals for years (check out this index of in-terminal or nearby hotel gyms), a growing trend in airport fitness products is the emergence of yoga rooms and walking paths.
For instance, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) have recently opened yoga rooms beyond their security checkpoints.
Lesley Merritt, DFW social media specialist, says the airport’s new yoga room is part of a greater wellness effort targeted at passengers, which focuses on activity and diet. “We are working to get more health-conscious concessions added to our terminals,” says Merritt. “We’re also working with our current concessionaires to add more healthy options for DFW passengers, including vegetarian and gluten-free items.”
The American Heart Association has designated 4 April of each year as National Walking Day. This year Indianapolis International Airport (IND) marked the day with the opening of their walking paths (both pre- and post-security). The paths are marked with signage throughout the terminal and are open to passengers and airport employees.
“The Indianapolis Airport Authority developed a comprehensive wellness initiative in 2012 for employees…there is a benefit in the walking paths to passengers as well,” says Carlo Bertolini, IND director of communication. Maps of the three walking paths at IND can be located on the airport’s website.
DFW also opened walking paths on 4 April, as are part of a Live Well fitness initiative, which encourages passengers and airport employees to “Be healthy. Be fit. Be safe.” Its walking paths are centred around the airport’s Art Programme floor medallions, which run the length of the D-concourse for secure-side, ticketed passengers; measures .7 miles in length, and includes an option step course at the SkyLink (terminal tram) stations.
Need a workout while at Changi Airport in Singapore? The airport not only offers the customary fitness centre, complete with showers and spa service, but also boasts and indoor pool and relaxation gardeners for weary and beleaguered travellers. There are three facilities of this nature located in the Changi terminal.
So what is the driving the trend in airports adding fitness amenities for passengers and employees? In a recent article appearing in USA Today, Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, notes, “There certainly is more awareness, and there’s a great deal more attention given to the idea of maintaining an active, fit lifestyle. It’s largely in part due to the disturbing obesity statistics our nation [the United States] is facing. With regard to air travel, it’s also an attempt to limit the risks of air-related health problems.” Bryant went on to list, blood clots, dehydration, and jet lag among the dangers air travellers can face.
Are you flying to or from an airport that doesn’t have a dedicated fitness centre or marked walking area for travellers? If time permits between your connections, consider walking instead of riding the tram or using the moving walkway. A walk around the concourse is certainly a healthier option than liquoring up at the airport bar.