5 Fun Airport Exercises

From the WebMD Archives

By Sara Cheshire

Flying over the holidays? The journey from airport security to your seat on the plane can be a little boring and (let's face it) immobilizing. After the security lines, there's more waiting at the gate, which can seriously make you feel sluggish. Here are a few easy ways to make your airport visit more energizing (and calorie-burning). And since sitting is bad for you -- whether you're on a plane or not -- trying these exercises before takeoff will keep your trip from being a mostly sedentary one.

1. Travel (Walking) Rewards

Sure, anyone can walk around the airport until it's time to board the plane, but why not reward yourself for walking? If you have time before your trip, check out your airport's map of shops, services and restaurants. We don't know about you, but we'd definitely trek to another concourse for a chair massage or better food. You'll also find a shoe shine in most airports and a bar or restaurant with seating and waitstaff if you have extra time for pampering.

2. Hydration Curls

Staying hydrated is important before and during a flight, due to the risk of dehydration from low humidity on the plane. The solution? Buy a large bottle of water that can double as a dumbbell. To activate your bicep, certified personal trainers (and upwave review-board members) Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, aka the Nutrition Twins, suggest that you keep your arm bent while you hold your water bottle. Or, go for the full curl to work your guns (best to avoid saying that word in the airport, though). Remember: The largest bottle you're likely to find at the airport (1 liter) only weighs about 2 pounds, so you'll have to compensate by doing lots of reps.

3. Suitcase Tag(along)

The act of pulling your luggage is a small workout in itself, especially if you pack your carry-on to the max. Don’t forget to alternate the arm you pull with (or, focus on strengthening your non-dominant arm). For an extra challenge -- and an unexpected core workout -- carry your luggage by the handle, making sure to keep your body tall and straight.

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4. Invisible Seat

Ever arrive at your gate, only to find that all of the seats are taken? "Simply [find] a space on the wall and sit in a chair position... without a chair!" suggest the Nutrition Twins. It's a great leg workout and exercises your core. Bonus points for "sitting" near an outlet to charge your gadgets.

5. Leg Room

Thighs are a trouble spot for many -- and flying might make you even more aware of how holiday sweets have settled on your body. The fix? Leg lifts! For best technique, the Nutrition Twins recommend working your outer thigh by standing and lightly holding on to the arm or back of a chair (to help you balance -- or have something to hide behind). Lift one (straightened) leg up and out to the side as high as possible. Do this 15 times, then repeat with the other leg. For a less obvious exercise, work in some calf raises while hanging out at your gate. Slowly lift your heels off the ground until you're on your toes, lower and repeat. Who knows? Someday you might use those strong leg muscles when running to catch a flight!

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