As athletes, we’re always traveling; for competitions, conferences, events and so much more. Who doesn’t love to travel? The opportunity to explore new places and experience new things; who loves to fly? Well that’s a different story. It’s no doubt flying and dealing with airlines, airports, luggage and people can be quite the stressful experience. With all your training and fitness built up, extended hours of traveling can have a negative impact on all that you’ve built up.
Think about it, finally on the plane you’re stuck in a seat that was practically designed for a small child and not capable of moving around. Sitting for extended periods of time has been associated with an increased risk to a number of disease, from heart disease and diabetes to poor posture and back problems. It can even lead to mental disease such as depression and anxiety (as if the flight wasn’t enough) that can quickly turn your trip into a nightmare.
For people who are physically active and exercise regularly, sitting for a long time at the airport or on a long haul flight can be even more difficult. With all that energy built up, what are you to do? Here’s some tips…
Before the Flight
Before you fly out get a workout in!
-The closer to your flight the better. Hit the gym, pool or go for a run before you head out to the airport. Not only will you help you relieve stress and feel more relaxed for the flight, your body will relish the extra rest to recover! Just don’t forget to shower!
Dress for physical activity.
-Wear good shoes and clothes that don’t constrict you so you can be ready to lift and move around as you make your way.
At the Airport
-Avoid the moving walkways, escalators and other people movers if at all possible. While the terminal may seem endless the extra walking can help make a big difference. More points if you take the stairs!
-Bring some snacks and a small lunch from home. Airports are full of fast food restaurants and are not known for their healthy options. Pack yourself a lunch and some snacks to take with you on your flight.
-Even short workouts are better than no workouts! You don’t a gym full of fancy equipment to get some exercise in, nor do you need a lot of time! If you have a few extra minutes to kill do a few sets…
Body weight exercises: such as Pushups, Burpees, Squats, Lunges and Dips
Plyometrics: such as Jumping jacks, Speed skaters, Shuffles and Toe Taps
Core exercises: such as planks, v-pose, t-pose, bicycles, banana crunches.
You can improvise too! Use your luggage as a weight device to add more challenge to some of the exercises. You can choose any exercises you want to incorporate into the routine so use your imagination.
An example set you could do is 3 rounds of 3 exercises for 3 minutes.
3x (60 Seconds Each non-stop for 3 minutes)
Some airports like Las Vegas’s McCarren Field have gyms right in the terminal or Chicago’s O’Hare have “yoga rooms” that are good to do some basic calisthenics in.
On the Airplane
-Wait in line! While we all hate waiting in line, if the flight rules permit you to stand and wait for the lavatory then get up and give yourself a good stretch. Even if you just have to wash your hands.
-Practice balancing on one foot. If you’re standing for a while, practice balancing on one foot. With the movement of the plane will help you better engage the muscles in your legs and hips while you engage your core and hold a good posture.
-Stretch! Spending time to get in a few stretches and achieve mobility to help your blood get flowing and body moving again.
After the Flight
-Hit the gym or go for a run! Doesn’t have to be a long training session but getting some exercises after you’ve settled in will better help combat jet lag and restore your energy so you can better enjoy your trip. Plus running is a great way to explore a new city!
Hope these tips help you get the most out of your training and exercise while you travel!
By Dirk Smith
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