Air Travel and Fitness

Because Americans are so spoiled, we love to complain about air travel. Rather than celebrating and appreciating the ease and speed with which we can cover long distances, it is more common to focus on the delays and crowded conditions. There are a few features of airplane travel that present challenges to people who are concerned about fitness, but nowadays those challenges are easier to overcome.

Airport food used to be consistently overpriced junk food, but most airports now offer a variety of healthier options, though still at inflated prices in most cities. You could load your carry-on bag with healthy snacks of your choosing, but pay attention to TSA restrictions. Trail mix is welcome, but hummus is not.

A bigger risk is the potential lack of movement. It is not good to sit in one position for hours at a time, yet that is a common hazard of air travel. This problem is easy to address with a little forethought. It is surprising to see many people sitting still in the gate for an hour before a lengthy flight. It would be a much wiser option to walk back and forth past your gate while you are waiting to board. Even standing still at the gate would be better than sitting in the airport before you sit more on the airplane. If you have a lengthy layover, use your smart phone to track your mileage and see how many miles you can log as you tour the airport. Many airports have a variety of interesting shops to browse.

Once you are on the plane, think about what you can do to avoid stiffening joints. Try to time your bathroom break around mid-flight so you will avoid lengthy sedentary periods. When you get up to go the bathroom, take advantage of the opportunity to stretch. If there is a line at the lavatory, do a few squats while you are waiting your turn. You might attract a few quizzical looks, but that is better than limping off the plane after hours of inactivity.

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