Posts in the category "Health":

Yoga room opens at O’Hare Airport

(An expanded post on O’Hare’s new yoga room.)

Chicago O’Hare International, one of the country’s busiest and most stressful airports, took a decidedly mellow turn this week with the opening of a yoga room in Terminal 3, adjacent to the airport’s indoor urban garden.


Yoga at ORD

“The yoga room provides a space for yoga practice as well as a place to relax or meditate,” said Rosemarie Andolini, Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner. “This is yet another amenity to help make the travel experience at O’Hare ‘best-in-class.’ ”

YOGA now available at O'Hare's new Yoga Room

O’Hare’s yoga room has a sustainable bamboo wood floor, floor-to-ceiling mirrors along one wall, exercise mats and an area to store personal articles and garments. A wall-mounted video monitor plays soothing sounds and displays yoga exercise techniques and images of nature. Frosted windows along one side of the room provide privacy and natural light.

“The importance of exercise and the opportunity in clearing the mind and body during long travel days cannot be overstated as it relates to one’s health,” said Brad Jersey, CEO and founder of nLIVEn Health, a company that places sponsored interactive health-care campaigns in airports. “We know from our studies that 75 percent of frequent fliers participate in some workout regimen, so this is a perfect complement at ORD.”

Wellness tourism is a $438.6 billion global market “and a rapidly growing niche within the $3.2 trillion global tourism economy,” according to the a study presented in October at the Global Wellness Tourism Congress in New Delhi, India.

The Global Wellness Tourism Economy report, conducted by SRI International, found that wellness tourism accounts for 14 percent of all domestic and international tourism expenditures and is a segment projected to grow by more than 9 percent a year through 2017, nearly twice the rate of global tourism overall.

Chicago’s O’Hare’s yoga room continues a trend begun at San Francisco International in January 2012, when it opened the world’s first yoga room at an airport. Located in the refurbished Terminal 2, just past the security checkpoint, SFO’s space is a calming blue, with subdued lighting.

“Feedback on the space in T2 has been so positive that a second yoga room is being built as part of the new Boarding Area E in T3, which is scheduled to open at the end of January,” said airport spokesman Charles Schuler.

Other airports have also set aside designated space for yoga and stretching, including Dallas/Fort Worth International, which created a yoga “studio” by installing a privacy screen in front of a window on a walkway between Terminals B and D, and Burlington International Airport in Vermont.

“As a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga, I see a yoga room as a priceless benefit to have at an airport,” said Stacy Lu, a health writer in training to be a yoga teacher. “Not only does doing yoga increase circulation—which is good prep for a long-haul flight—it may have a calming effect on jittery fliers like myself.”

For those planning to take advantage of an airport yoga room, Lu suggests dressing in layers: long leggings or yoga pants with a camisole, topped by a long-sleeve top and maybe sweater to stay warm on the flight.

“I would avoid wearing anything too tight or revealing,” she said, “particularly in an international hub.”

(My story about O’Hare’s new yoga room first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior)

O’Hare Airport now has a Yoga Room

While some of us weren’t looking, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport turned into quite the cool place to hang out.

First, the indoor urban garden that grows herbs and vegetables for use by many of the airport’s restaurants. Now a yoga room.

Yoga at ORD

Find it in Terminal 3, on the mezzanine level.

YOGA now available at O'Hare's new Yoga Room

Get your flu shot at the airport

Should you get a flu shot?

All that sneezing and sniffling around you on airplanes and in airports is a sure sign that flu season is in full swing. And a sure sign that you should get a flu shot.

Here are some of the airports where busy fliers can take care of that task, on the fly:

At Chicago O’Hare Airport, the O’Hare Medical Clinic in Terminal 2 offers flu shots and immunizations (and more) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $30; most insurance accepted. There’s also a flu shot kiosk in Terminal 3 open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.

The SFO Medical Clinicat San Francisco International Airport is located in the International Terminal Main Hall, on the Boarding Area A side, and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (650-821-5600). Flu shots are $32.

At Nashville International Airport the Carehere! Walk-in Clinic and Wellness Store near the Concourse C Exit (post-security) offers flu shots for $25, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At Los Angeles International Airport, Reliant Immediate Care is on airport property, a short walk from the terminals. This 24-hour clinic is offering flu shots for $25 (310-215-6020).

At JFK International Airport and Newark Liberty International airports, flu shots are available at the Airport Medical Offices, each located on airport property and accessible via shuttles. At Newark (973-643-8383), flu shots are $25. Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Take the P6 Shuttle to Stop 4. At JFK (718-244-1644), flu shots are $20. Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take the Q11 city bus to Stop 11 or the AirTrain to Federal Circle and call for a pick-up.

(My story about where to get your flu shot at the airport first appeared on USA TODAY)

Join me in supporting Passports with Purpose is pleased and honored to join the travel bloggers around the world participating in this year’s Passports with Purpose effort to raise funds for a great cause.

Last year the group raised more than $100,000 to fund 5 water wells in Haiti through

This year the goal is to raise $115,000 to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs with buildOn in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa

Contributions to the project are tax-deductible and, better yet, each $10 you kick in gets you an entry in a prize drawing for some incredibly cool and useful items; everything from hotel stays and airline tickets to electronics and travel gear.

Where do all the cool prizes come from?

Each participating travel blogger has a “prize partner” and once again this year my prize partner is, a great on-line site that stocks travel and individual-size items in every category you can think of: food and beverage, household, pharmacy, toys and games, travel and survival. is donating a surprise box filled with at least $100 worth of essential, curious and luxury travel-sized items. And if you don’t like surprises, they’ll also work directly with you to fill up a box with specific items of your choosing. Last year, for example, co-founder Paul Shrater helped the prize winner shop the “aisles” and fill the box with items that would please an entire family.

 There are more than 2500 items on the shelves, but here are few of my favorites:

Among the hand sanitizers in the Personal Care aisle, you’ll find organic options that smell like lavender or peppermint.


In the Travel Accessories aisle, they offer mini-rolls of duct tape.

The Emergency Supplies aisle offers everything from ponchos and shelf-stable foods to light sticks and survival kits.

And in the New Products aisle I found one of my new travel-size favorites: an easy-to-carry plastic egg filled with Silly Putty.

Silly Putty

Travel slug? Get a workout at the airport

It’s far too easy to become a slug when you’re on the road. But staying active offers business travelers an edge: the benefits of working out while traveling include stress reduction and an increased ability to combat jet lag.

GOODLIFE FITNESS - GoodLife Fitness Lands at Toronto Pearson

Travelers passing through Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International, now have an extra advantage: an airport health club.

GoodLife Fitness, which has over 300 locations across Canada, has opened a branch in the Terminal 1 Arrivals area (presecurity), offering a 10,000-square-foot workout area, changing rooms with showers, towel service and luggage storage. No workout clothing? No excuse: Workout clothing and sneakers are available for rent. A daily pass is CND $15, or US $14.58. Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Toronto Pearson may currently be the only airport in North America to have an in-terminal fitness club open to the public, but it’s not the first to give it a try. In the late 1990s, North America’s first airport fitness center opened at Pittsburgh International Airport (it closed not long after 9/11), and for several years there was a 24-hour fitness club at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

While certainly convenient, on-site fitness clubs aren’t the only way to get a workout at the airport. Here are some options for working off calories in other North American airports.

Athletic Club

Athletic Club at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton


Accessible from the domestic terminals and popular with pilots and flight attendants as well as travelers, the 8,000-square-foot fitness center at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport has an indoor lap pool, sauna, steam room and full-service locker room. Work-out gear is available for purchase. Daily pass: $20; hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.

Detroit Westin pool

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, connected to the airport’s McNamara Terminal, offers guest passes to the fitness club, a pool and locker room for $15. Open 24 hours (pool closes at 11 p.m.)


San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has an enclosed yoga room in Terminal 2 and, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, a privacy screen set up in front of a window on a walkway between Terminals B and D creates a yoga “studio” with a view. Burlington International Airport in Vermont also has set aside space for yoga and stretching as well. Loaner mats are available.

BWI Trail - courtesy BWI Airport

The 12.5 mile scenic BWI Trail completely encircles Baltimore-Washington International Airport and has a walking /biking path that includes a link to an aircraft observation park with picnic tables and a playground. “BWI has a longstanding reputation as the ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ airport,” said airport spokesman Jonathan Dean. “The BWI trail resources are an important example of our commitment to a convenient, excellent experience for our customers.”


Calorie-burning mileage is marked on paths inside Indianapolis International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and others. A tool on the American Heart Association website will help you find these paths and others in many other airports.

The Grand Hyatt DFW, connected to the international terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, offers day passes to its fitness center and to the heated outdoor pool on the rooftop overlooking a runway, for $30. Locker room facilities include steam saunas; nonguests may use the facilities until 8 p.m.


At Vancouver International Airport, travelers may purchase a day pass to the health club at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport for CND $18 (US $17.50). Club features include a children’s wading pool, a mechanized three-lane lap pool that allows swimmers to adjust their own current, saunas and work-out equipment. Hours: daily 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Of course, even if there are no marked walking paths, health clubs or yoga studios at an airport, there’s still an easy—and free—way to work off calories: Take the stairs instead of the escalators, avoid the moving walkways and track your mileage with a clip-on pedometer or an app on your smartphone. Just try to set your path to avoid the airport candy shops—and the bars.

(My story about airport workouts first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior)

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