Jan - Feb 2023

5 Ways to Exercise When You Are Traveling by Plane

By Kelsey Piersol, MS


Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure,  frequent flights can take its toll on your workout routine. While a trip can do wonderful things for your mind and spirit, it can wreak havoc on your body. So, instead of doing nothing between layovers and between flights, you can use that time to figure out creative ways to squeeze in a quick workout in the terminal.


Even a five to ten minute workout can increase blood flow, lift your mood, and loosen up stiff joints and muscles that can result from flying. Instead of wasting time sitting during your next layover, try these 5 exercises to get moving:

  1. Squats: Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder distance apart and your arms out in front of you. Sit back and down to lightly tap your hips on the chair, then press through your heels to stand up. Need more challenge? Try it without the chair! Perform 15-20 repetitions.
  2. Incline Push-ups: Place your hands shoulder width apart on an elevated surface (the higher it is, the easier the exercise). It could be a table, countertop, chair, or even your suitcase. Find a straight line with your body from your head down to your feet. From there, bend the elbows to lower your body into a push-up position. Press the arms straight to return. Repeat 10-15 times.
  3. Stair walks: Holding your suitcase in one hand, walk up a flight of stairs taking a brief rest period at the top. Walk back down the stairs with your suitcase in the same hand. Switch hands and repeat up to 4 times.
  4. Jumping jacks: Perform 30 seconds of jumping jacks to get your heart pumping. This is a great way to warm up your body especially in a cold airport terminal! Take a short rest and repeat up to 4 times.
  5. Stretching: Sitting on a chair, cross your right ankle over your left knee and lean forward to stretch the outside of the right hip. Hold for a few deep breaths and then switch. You can also bring one leg straight out in front with the foot flexed and lean forward to stretch the back of the leg.


With sitting being considered nearly as harmful as smoking these days, any amount of time to get up and move can have benefits on your overall health. Next time you find yourself scrolling through your phone, tablet, or laptop on a layover, put down the electronics and get moving! Your body will thank you.