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Airport Travel Tips for Happy, Healthy Journeys

Travel, especially air travel, used to mean glamour and excitement. Alas, the growing millions of people traveling and the ever increasing security requirements of the 21st century have taken some of the fun out of air travel, especially the time in airports. Here are 2 airport travel tips you can use to survive and actually benefit from the more tedious bits of getting through airports.

First, how do you survive the inevitable line ups? Check-in, baggage drop, security and passport control can all involve lines. Even a first class ticket may only reduce, but not eliminate the lines. But, surprisingly, the time spent in line can lead us to a more independent old age. How is that?

When we are older, falls are a main reason for losing our independence. Falls occur as we lose balance. Balance, like any other physical ability, improves with practice and standing in a line is an ideal time to practice balance.

Simply stand on one foot until the line moves. Then, step ahead and stand on the other foot. Keep one hand on the handle of your carry-on to make it easier. Close your eyes (but listen for sounds of movement) to make it harder.

This greatly reduces the tedium of waiting in line. You may even find yourself wishing the line was a little slower so you can get more time on each foot. You will not look weird. No one will notice. I know because I have been doing this for years.

Lining up at airports is just the prelude to being immobilized, often for hours in an airline seat. Whether that seat is up front and luxurious or tightly packed into the back of the plane, we all have to sit there and we all know now that, health-wise, sitting is the new smoking. It is just not good for you.

Here is the surprising part. Look around in airports in the lounges and gate areas after you have been through all the lines and are now waiting to board. What are most of the passengers doing to prepare for their sedentary flights? They are sitting. If the airport is crowded, they rush to find seats. If there are no empty seats, younger types may be found sitting on the floor.

So, here is #2 of airport travel tips. Do not sit down in airports. Once you have been through all the formalities and are waiting to board your flight, use the remaining time to keep moving. I usually do a gentle, leisurely walk along the length of the airport corridors in the secure part of the airport. I stay closer to my gate as boarding time nears. Since we are all asked to be at our gate well before boarding, I usually have time to stroll at least a mile (about 1.5 kilometres). With longer layovers between flights, I can walk much further.

You, too, can turn the pre-board wait into some easy fitness. If you have a Fitbit or similar device, you can measure exactly how much exercise you are getting. You will board your airplane happy to sit down and enjoy the flight.

Travel may be necessary or desired in our careers. It is something most of us want to do more of in the second half of our lives. Being part of the jet set does not have the glamour that it used to, but these airport travel tips can help us make even the less fun parts of travel contribute to a healthy, independent life.

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