A post-security fitness facility, called ROAM Fitness, is scheduled to open at Baltimore/Washington International Airport on Monday, in the new connector between Concourses D and E.
The space will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will have cardio equipment, stretching space, free weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, stability balls, a TRX system, yoga mats and a pull-up bar.
Travelers who don’t have their own workout gear can rent or purchase activewear and footwear and – here’s a great idea – have their own workout outfits vacuum-sealed after a visit to keep odors from mingling.
There’s also a shower reservation system to make sure everyone can freshen up before their flight.
Access to ROAM Fitness at BWI is currently $40 for a day pass, $175 for a monthly pass and $600 for a yearly pass. Passes can be purchased online, on a smartphone or at the door. (Check the website for deals on discounted passes.)
Not a regular at BWI? The next ROAM Fitness center scheduled to open in 2017 is slated for Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
ROAM Fitness claims to be the first public-use post-security airport fitness center with both a gym and shower facilities, but it is not the only airport fitness center.
In North America, travelers can purchase a day pass for $15 to use the fitness and showering facilities (and heated indoor pool) at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is attached to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport McNamara Terminal.
For $20 ($22.40 with tax), travelers can get a day pass to use the pool and extensive fitness facilities at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport, which is accessible from O’Hare via underground walkways.
And there’s also a branch of GoodLife Fitness on the arrivals level of Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport ($14 CAD/about $11 US for a 14-day trial membership.)
It’s Fit2Fly week at airiports in Boston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland and that means free healthy snacks, complimentary massages and giveaways that include Fitbit wireless activity-tracking wristbands and travel yoga mats through May 2.
Coordinated by AIRMALL USA, which operates shops and restaurants at the participating airports, Fit2Fly Week also features free health and wellness services and handouts with tips on staying healthy while traveling.
Activities vary by airport and day.
At Boston Logan’s Terminal B, the schedule includes free yoga lessons on Wednesday, free 5-minute massages on Thursday and healthy snack tastings at the Berkshire Farms Market on Friday.
At BWI there will be free yoga classes on Wednesday, with giveaways of yoga mats, water bottles and jump ropes and a free “healthy choices” tasting event at the Silver Diner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Friday, there will be a 1K airport Fun Walk with a drawing for a Fitbit.
At Pittsburgh International Airport you’ll find free yoga lessons and giveaways on Wednesday, complimentary foot massages at the Massage Bar on Concourse A on Thursday and – kale alert – on Friday, there will be a sampling event for Pinkberry’s kale and strawberry smoothies.
At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport there will be free 3- to 5-minute chair massages on Thursday and, on Friday, free tea tasting and complimentary healthy snacks.
(Photo courtesy AIRMALL. My Fit2Fly story first appeared on USA TODAY in a slightly different form.)
That’s the message an increasing number of airports are giving passengers by posting signs and distributing maps and brochures identifying the number of steps and/or the actual mileage between gates, concourses and terminals.
“If your psyche can handle the moving obstacles – also known as people – airports are natural walking paths,” said Erin Kaese, managing editor of the Athletic-Minded Traveler, “and designated paths mean one’s thoughts can more easily wander.”
Some of the first walking paths at airports were created with employees’ heath in-mind. But everyone is encouraged to go the distance and follow the markers in the corridors at airports in Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Baltimore, Atlanta and Cleveland, where health-related messages are posted on columns along the two-mile CLE Health Walk path first set up in 2010 in partnership with the American Heart Association and the city’s health department.
“Passengers who have time before a delayed flight or layover can get a little exercise in by taking a walk through the airport,” said Jacqueline Muhammad, Community Relations manager for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. “Employees can do the same during their breaks or lunch hour.”
Beyond burning calories, seeing a valuable collection of Northwest-inspired art is the reward at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), where a half-mile mosey to the end of Concourse A passes by sixteen permanent art installations and a variety of rotating temporary exhibits. Skip the moving walkways on the way back to the central terminal and you’ve logged an easy, entertaining mile.
Art is also part of the program at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where the LiveWell Walking Path stretches seven-tenths of a mile in Terminal D, past tiled floor medallions and ending, conveniently, at the airport’s yoga studio.
As part of the Steward Health Care-sponsored Strides for Health program at Boston Logan Airport, there are not only walking paths, but health stations where passengers can check their blood pressure, height, weight and body mass index (BMI).
Eight-foot-tall signs explain how easy it is to burn calories on a layover and free maps detail the walking paths and the length between concourses and terminals.
“I see this as the norm moving forward,” said Brad Jersey, founder and CEO of the nLIVEN Group, which put together the program for Logan and is working on bringing it to other airports. Jersey notes that there’s “pressure on airport authorities to provide healthy avenues and choices for the passengers today.”
The latest airport to join the walking path craze is Phoenix Sky Harbor, which earlier this month unveiled its two-mile, post-security, PHX Fitness Trail inside Terminal 4.
The circuit takes passengers past water-bottle refill stations and offers great views of Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak and the PHX Sky Train bridge, which passes right over an active taxiway.
“We were aware that passengers on layovers enjoy the views from Terminal 4, which serves eighty percent of our passengers, and are often looking for an opportunity to get some exercise between flights,” said airport spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez.
While MSP airport has post-security lockers where walkers can store carry-ons, PHX does not. “But look at it his way,” PHX noted in its Fitness Trail announcement, pulling a roller bag or backpack along the route is “added cardio.”
Not all the airport walking paths are indoors.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has a 1.3-mile FLL Fit Walking Path between the terminals and a bag-storage concession where passengers can leave their carry-ons. There’s also the 12.5-mile BWI Trail circling Baltimore/Washington International Airport, which has a paved trail, an observation area for watching planes take off and land, and a park with a playground.
On its website, San Diego International Airport notes that there’s a shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians connecting the airport to Little Italy and downtown San Diego to the east and to Liberty Station and Point Loma to the west.
And then there’s the hike passengers can take near Anchorage International Airport. After stashing carry-ons at one of the baggage storage concessions, many travelers head for the 4.2-mile paved trail surrounding the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, the busiest seaplane base in the world.
“Just go out the front door and start walking,” said airport manager John Parrott. “Really, it’s just about that easy.”
To get more information about many of these walking paths, as well as mileage information for routes at other airports, use this helpful tool on the American Heart Association website.
(My story about hiking at airports first appeared in my At the Airport column on USATODAY.com)
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, 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 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.
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.)
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.”
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.