Would a few minutes of yoga make that flight from L.A. to London easier on the spine and legs? Yoga rooms that have popped up in at least seven international airports in recent years suggest it would.
“I’ve been to yoga rooms at Chicago and San Francisco during layovers,” said Jill Miller, L.A.-based founder of Tune-up Fitness. “People are in there and they are really doing it.” If you’re a yogi headed through one of those airports – the list also includes Dallas/Fort Worth, Burlington, Vt., London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Hong Kong – turn on your favorite podcast and go.
Not a regular practitioner? No yoga room at the airport you’re in? Miller suggests waking up your back, bottom and legs right at the gate.
Hold onto the back of one of the seats and do a few squats for your quads and buttocks, then stand straight with your feet parallel and do some calf raises by repeatedly lifting and lowering your heels. This stimulates circulation in the lower legs and reduces your risk for deep-vein thrombosis, a rare but life-threatening blood-clotting condition.
Let go of the seat and raise your arms overhead, then stretch up and over to the left, then the right, for a full-body side stretch. Finally, put one foot up on the seat and step the other back into a runner’s lunge to pre-stretch your hip flexors. Repeat on the second side.
Brave enough to get down on the floor? “If you have the courage to do some planks, they are really good for firing up all of your core muscles,” Miller said.
Hold each stretch or pose for 30 seconds to two minutes – enough that you feel energized or even a little tired. “You want to feel some type of shift,” she said. “That will indicate that your body actually put out.”
Whatever you do, don’t sit until you have to. Walk, stretch or give that yoga room a try. “Your flight is definitely going to put your body to sleep,” Miller said. “If you have access to the lounge, don’t lounge.”