How To Get In Shape At The Airport

By Subodh / December 12, 2013

Many airports now have gyms within their walls, where body-conscious travellers can take out their frustrations with delays, baggage limits and unhelpful services by pumping some iron or really giving the punch-bag some leather. But it comes at a price of course – in most cases these are chain outlets where you will have to pay through the nose for a one-off entry, or sign up for an annual membership, which can leave precious little for duty-free bargains.

Why bother, I say, when with a little ingenuity and brass neck you can keep trim for nothing? Try some of these free airport exercises and before you know it your trousers will be slipping off your hips when you take your belt off at security.


You know the little electric carts that carry around people with difficulty walking? Try and outpace one without breaking into a run. Too easy? Then see if you can power-walk faster than someone on the moving stairways.


Deliberately arrive as late as possible for your flight so that you have to sprint to check-in, then to security (brief pause for breath and so as not to arouse suspicions) and then a last push to the gate.

The Long Walk

Larger airports will have a wide variety of restaurants, which are usually situated in a food-court on the second floor. Eschew the lift and walk repeatedly up and down the stairs instead, pausing at the top every time to gaze helplessly at the fast-food chains and strengthen your resolve as well as your legs.

Ball Games

If you’re travelling during the winter months then you can anticipate a delay. Take advantage of the waiting by bringing along a cricket bat and ball so you can get an impromptu game going – not only will you be getting some exercise and staving off the boredom, but your reputation among your fellow passengers will be akin to the guy who brought out the football in the WW1 trenches at Christmas.

Crunch It Out

During off-peak hours it’s easy to find an unoccupied bench. Utilise it to do a few quick sets of crunches, but try not to fall asleep afterwards.


Travelling with the kids? Wear them out, and work on your cardio, with a game of tag around the terminal.

Funny Looks In The Queue

Ditch the suitcase with wheels and instead opt for one that you have to carry by a handle. That way you can do some squats or shoulder-raises while you’re queuing at the check-in.

Still got some energy left? Try a few more exercises while you’re actually on the flight:

Shouldering the burden

Pack all your heavier items into your carry-on luggage. Then, during the flight, repeatedly lift your bag down from the locker to get something out, and replace it in the locker afterwards. You can probably manage this about a dozen times before the stewardess says something.

Turbulent Times

Bring a hand-grip along, so when turbulence strikes and you involuntarily tense up, at least your wrists will be getting a work-out.

And one for luck…

The Luggage Lift

Strengthen your back, leg and arm muscles by helping people to remove their luggage from the conveyor belts. For added reps, try taking the wrong bag off several times until the owner shouts at you.

No need even to book activity holidays when everything you need to stay in shape is right there at the airport waiting for you, and no enormous membership fee to worry about either!