Sweatworthy Airports

Sweatworthy Airports

It’s only fitting that in a city where yoga is second nature to locals you’d find a yoga studio in the airport. It’s called the Yoga Room—no surprise there—but what is a surprise is that you’ll find yoga mats ready for your use. Just pack those smartphone apps with you (or load your favorite yoga DVD on your iPad), as you’ll have to guide yourself through your practice. 

If you’re itching to hit the links, you’d better hope your next long layover has you flying through Incheon, where you can work off stress at the Incheon Golf Club, complete with a 330-yard driving range and 18-hole putting course. (And yes, you really can get a sweat perfecting your swing: A 180-pound person will burn 245 calories in an hour at the driving range.) Or head to the Ice Forest and take a spin on the year-round ice skating rink. Just don’t worry about packing extra clothes in case you fall: The special surface of the ice is designed to keep you dry. 

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) takes its commitment to fitness seriously. The airport, its spokespeople say, is aiming to be the healthiest in the world. To that end, DFW introduced an American Heart Association-endorsed walking path that measures seven-tenths of a mile and includes a 55-foot high stairway to get that heart pumping harder. Even better? If you’re looking to do your downward dog, you can slip into the airport yoga studio in Terminal D where you’ll find mats and a continuously running yoga DVD.

Long layovers offer the perfect opportunity to explore, and Zurich Airport has the answer: Head to the Service Center where you can rent bikes and inline skates for adults and children, and even Nordic walking poles. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s walking with specially designed poles, using the same arm and leg motions as you would with cross country skiing, just sans snow.) Rent for either half or full day. 

Schiphol has put a new spin on waiting lounges: Stationary bikes in its Airport Park serve as charging stations. Plug in your electronic devices, hop on a bike and start pedaling to get a charge. While there, get your nature fix by gazing at live trees, including one that’s 130 years old. The airport even pipes natural sounds into the park and projects images of butterflies and famous world parks to make the experience that much more real. Feeling hungry after that ride? Pick up a healthy organic snack from Park Café and enjoy it in the park or outside on the terrace.

It’s not just the American Heart Association-endorsed walking paths (total distance measures about two miles) that caught our attention. It’s also the attention to detail, or rather, the health tips posted throughout the terminals. These tips include diet and nutrition-related items and are rotated regularly to promote healthier living.   

You won’t have an ounce of guilt about indulging in wiener schnitzel or Black Forest cake if you’re flying through Munich. Here, you can check into Kempinski Fit & Fly Spa for two hours or all day and enjoy the indoor pool, sauna, steam bath, whirl pool, solarium and gym. And while it may not a workout per se, you can always add a little more movement to your day by playing miniature golf at the airport’s 18-hole course. 

No worries about blowing your calorie budget here, unless, of course, you choose to do so. In 2012, Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked eighth in the nation for serving up healthy vegetarian eats, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey took top honors). Yet even the healthiest of eaters need their exercise, and fortunately, the airport features a 1.4-mile walking path endorsed by the American Heart Association. 

It may not be the world’s biggest airport, but it boasts some of the hottest shrimp cocktail you’ve ever tasted (find it at Harry & Izzy’s in Concourse A), which will easily fuel your trek on the American Heart Association walking paths. Prior to security, you can powerwalk the quarter-mile path around the ticketing hall. Once you pass through security, log a 1.1-mile lap around the two concourses, repeating as many times as you wish. Distances are marked on the walls. 

Take a plunge—literally—in the fitness options at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Log some laps at the rooftop swimming pool for a small fee, which includes use of a hot tub, shower facilities, towel, even a free non-alcoholic drink from the bar. (All of this is free, though, if you’re staying at the Ambassador Transit Hotel.) Or buy passes that start in three-hour blocks to lounges that offer options like treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers and free weights. 

You certainly won’t have to abandon your healthy lifestyle when you have to kill time in Detroit. The airport, after all, took top honors in 2012 as having the healthiest eating options among U.S. airports, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And while the airport doesn’t have a designated place to work out, you can pay $15 for a day pass to the Westin Hotel, connected to the airport, where you’ll find a fitness studio with stair steppers, stationary bikes, treadmills and strength training equipment. After your sweat session, wind down in the hotel’s heated pool before hitting the shower.

If you’re a Fairmont Hotels fan, you’ll love this option: The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, which features direct access to airport travelers (translation:  no shuttle required), offers day passes to its state-of-the-art health club for only $18. Not only will you find all of the usual fitness offerings here, you can also use the mechanized three-lap lane pool and swim against a self-adjusted current. Then, to melt even more of that travel stress, chill out in the sauna.