Tuesday 21 May 2019

Road Warriors: How can business travellers stay fit and healthy?

Travel health

A woman waits for her flight. Photo: Getty
A woman waits for her flight. Photo: Getty
Virgin Chicago
How to keep fit as you fly? Photo: Deposit
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

An Irish start-up is helping road warriors to keep fit as they fly, writes Pól Ó Conghaile.

Travel is unhealthy. That’s not a sentence I enjoy writing, but it’s a no-brainer. From dry air on planes to fast food in airports, from jetlag to hours spent sitting, getting from A to B, can take a gruelling toll on body, mind and productivity.

Road warriors who spend two or more weeks a month travelling for business have higher rates of obesity and poorer self-rated health than colleagues who travel less, according to a 2011 Columbia University study (and that’s not even starting on the stress). So what can frequent flyers do to fight fatigue, stay fit and kill calories?

Karl Llewellyn, Co Wicklow-based founder of Sanctifly (sanctifly.club), has one solution. Sanctifly is a members’ club that grants access to hotel gyms, pools and spa facilities within a walk or short shuttle ride of 20 airports (and counting) in Dublin, the UK and US. Having racked up the air miles himself, Karl saw a gap in helping business travellers use their stopover time to stay fit.

How does it work? Sanctifly members pay annual fees of €49 to €199, download the app, and buy $20 passes on the go. Full insurance is included, and the list of premium brand partners (think Hilton, Marriot and Langham) now stretches to over 500 locations. Business travellers can finally use their downtime for productivity in ways that don’t involve pints, sandwiches and laptops.

It’s a timely start-up. Roam Fitness has opened an airside gym at Baltimore Airport (see below), San Franscisco International has an airside yoga studio, and more and more hotels are rebooting their fitness facilities.

On the road, it pays to make health part of the routine.

Work out on the go

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 06.41.59.jpg
How to keep fit as you fly? Photo: Deposit

The next big thing? That’ll be airport gyms, according to ROAM Fitness (roamfitness.com), a US company that has just opened a 1,200 square-foot facility post-security at Baltimore.

The ‘first of its kind’ gym offers fitness space and equipment, but also private showers reservable in 15-minute chunks, with complimentary gym gear and shoe rentals included in the price.

It opens from 5am to 10pm, with possible outlets in airports ranging from Heathrow to O’Hare and LAX to follow. $40 day passes were on special at $25 as we publish.

Hotel intel

iw virgin_0501 (Read-Only).jpg
Virgin Chicago

Think of hotel gyms and basement sweatboxes spring to mind. As business travellers get more health-conscious, however, a growing number of chains are rebooting their facilities.

Westin now has a ‘Run Concierge’ (@RunWestin on Twitter); EVEN Hotels is a wellness-focused brand developed by Intercontinental; and Virgin Hotels’ debut Chicago property, designed with female business travellers in mind, has a 24-hour gym with internet-equipped cardio machines ‘that allow you to get stuff done while you’re getting it done’ (above). Boom!

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