Airport layover – Go on a walk to burn calories

Estimated read time: 3 minutes



Over the years I’ve had my mix of short and long airport layovers.There was a stretch that every time I flew through Chicago O’Hare International Airport I had to run from one terminal to another to make a connecting flight. On those days, there’s no need to go on a walk to burn calories.

Sprint from one gate to another. Workout done. Check. I need a water, please.

But there have also been plenty of times when I had lengthy layovers in airports like Atlanta, Philadelphia or Dallas-Fort Worth. On those hours-long time periods it’s easy to just hang out, grab a bite – or two or three – to eat, or take a nap. And sometimes a nap is all that we can muster. I think of the time when I arrived in Chicago at around 5 a.m. after a red eye from Vegas after speaking at WordCamp Vegas. Sitting and semi-napping was the only option.

But some airport layovers leave plenty of time to get some exercise in while options are a bit limited. I have yet to run across a gym at an airport. A business idea perhaps? If you know of a gym at an airport, let me know by email.

There’s plenty of room, though, at airports to go on a walk. The scenery is a bit limited and it could be compared to mall walking – where people take laps inside indoor mall centers that were extremely popular from the 1970s to the 2010s or so.

Walking up and down terminals is an option and if you have a fitness tracker – like a Fidbit or Jawbone Up – those will tell you how many steps you’ve taken. GPS indoors is usually not an option. I tried this with the Nike Plus app inside an airport and did not get it to track my route due to weak GPS signal. I like the Nike Plus app while running outside!

At the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport you can also take the walking trail in Terminal D. It’s not as obvious to visitors as I expected it to be, but the concept is great and I appreciate that the airport is making an effort to encourage customers to take a walk while waiting for their next connection.

The walking trail shows a number of original art pieces on the floor like this one:

airport layover - Dallas - Fort Worth walking trail

On the nearby wall, a sign gives details on the piece and tells you how many steps you’ve taken since the last art piece and which way to continue to the next one.

airport layover - Dallas - Fort Worth walking trail

I’m not necessarily the most interested in art, but see this as a nice way to possibly involve my daughter, too, if I ever travel with her. Walk from one piece to the next, talk about it. Repeat.

It’s easy to stay healthy and fit just about anywhere and that includes the airport during layovers. It’s just as easy as it is to grab a big calorie meal at nearby restaurants. Next time on an airport layover consider going for a purposeful walk.