How Are Travelers Keeping Fit on the Fly?

How Are Travelers Keeping Fit on the Fly?

On a mission to make staying fit on the go easier and more accessible, we tapped into Yelp’s database to map the availability of gyms and wellness centers within three miles of major airports nationwide. We also surveyed 1,000 Americans about their fitness and travel habits. Our results show travelers how they can easily integrate wellness into their journey, from pre-flight workouts to exercise and relaxation opportunities just steps away from the terminal.

Every jetsetter deserves the chance to pair their adventures with well-being, and we’re here to show you the way.

Key takeaways

  • Nearly 1 in 2 travelers (47%) make time for workouts during their trips.
  • 31% of travelers skip leg day when working out on their trips.
  • Travelers who exercise during their trips have a 19% lower risk of weight gain compared to those who don’t.
  • 76% of Americans gain the most weight during Thanksgiving, with 62% skipping workouts during this holiday.
  • 43% of travelers believe fitness positively enhances their holiday experience.

Gyms and wellness centers near airports

Having a designated space for workouts or meditation can significantly increase your ability to stay active and balanced during your travels. We’ve combed through Yelp to pinpoint gyms and wellness centers within a three-mile radius of major airports in each state. Look below to see the number of conveniently located facilities within and near airports awaiting you.

gym proximity to airports

By default, the Yelp API we used returns locations within a three-mile radius of any given address—in this case, pinpointing gyms and wellness centers near primary airports across all 50 states. While the availability of fitness amenities varied nationwide, certain states and airports emerged as notable for having the highest number of these facilities.

Numbering almost 400, California gyms and wellness centers were especially plentiful near San Diego (97), Santa Ana (93), and Burbank (67) airports. Our findings track with other studies that have highlighted California as the state with the most health clubs and where one of the most popular gyms—Planet Fitness—has the most locations.

At 99 total, Florida also had a wide availability of airport-adjacent gyms and wellness centers, mostly near Miami International Airport (29). Other airports boasting an abundance of nearby fitness options included:

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport - DCA (72)
  • Denver International Airport - DEN (66)
  • Los Angeles International Airport - LAX (60)
  • Boston Logan International Airport - BOS (53)
  • San Jose Mineta International Airport - SJC (52)

Travelers flying through some U.S. airports can also take advantage of fitness centers conveniently located inside terminals. For example, fitness options at BWI Airport in Baltimore include a gym (with showers!) just past the D/E security checkpoint.

Whether you’re flying for business or leisure, our insights can help you make informed choices for maintaining your well-being and fitness routines. Next, we’ll look at how people are working out before and during their travels.

Travelers’ workout trends

Our survey of 1,000 Americans reveals the feelings and behaviors of active frequent flyers. We were curious about everything from the workouts they squeeze in before a flight to the exercises they manage to pull off at the airport.

travelers workout routines

A notable 41% of travelers exercised before arriving at the airport, with the majority finding muscle-building activities as the most highly effective moves to do ahead of time. Over half of these travelers (54%) also said cycling workouts were a highly effective way to work in fitness before a trip.

Another 1 in 8 travelers said they work out inside the airport—a testament to the growing importance of in-airport fitness facilities. In-airport exercisers found yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to be the most highly effective activities. Many also did more vigorous exercises to get their hearts pumping—squats, high knees, jumping jacks, and 50% agreed that cycling is an excellent way for them to stay fit while on the go.

It’s also impressive that nearly 1 in 2 travelers maintained their fitness routines while on their trips, with 71% of them saying cycling is an effective workout for staying in shape during travels. The health benefits of cycling are undeniable as it’s a low-impact exercise good for our bodies and minds. Exploring new destinations from the unique vantage point of a bike seat also makes for fun and memorable adventures.

Interestingly, nearly 1 in 3 travelers (31%) skipped leg day when working out on a trip. Perhaps they did so to preserve their strength for walking city streets, or for hiking or cycling on picturesque trails.

traveler consideration of fitness facilities

It’s also worth noting that almost 40% of travelers factored in the proximity of quality fitness centers when booking accommodations. Nearly 10% were also willing to pay an additional $60 or more per night for a hotel with fitness amenities. It’s likely money well spent, as there are multiple perks to maintaining a wellness routine—like less stress, and maybe even a more enjoyable trip.

We found that 87% of travelers were satisfied with their trips overall, but those who incorporated exercise into their journeys reported slightly higher satisfaction compared to those who didn’t (91%). About 1 in 4 travelers reported gaining an average of 4 pounds on their trips, but those who exercised while traveling were 19% less likely to gain weight than those who didn’t.

In addition to traveling, one of the hardest times to avoid weight gain is around the holidays. Let’s see how our survey respondents fare during these festive times.

Staying in shape through the holiday hustle

Our final section dives into holiday weight gain and the strategies Americans employ to stay fit, whether they’re traveling this season or not.

holiday wellness

A staggering 76% of respondents said they’re most likely to put on a few pounds during Thanksgiving, while 72% also gained weight at Christmastime. All those extra calories might seem like the obvious cause, but inactivity could also be the culprit: 66% skipped workouts during Christmas, and 62% did so around Thanksgiving. But the holidays weren’t all about overindulgence among our respondents, as many said they try to stay fit during this time. Their top three approaches included:

  • Making healthier food choices
  • Tracking food choices to avoid overeating
  • Engaging in outdoor activities like running or power walking

While holiday treats are tempting and workouts sometimes take a backseat, it’s heartening to see so many finding savvy ways to blend festive cheer with wellness. Remember, it’s all about balance—so go on, enjoy that slice of pie, but maybe follow it with a brisk walk or a dance to your favorite holiday tune.

Airborne and active

Our journey has taken us from gyms near busy airport terminals to the workout routines of modern travelers to fitness around the holidays. As you set out on your next adventure, let these insights be your guide. Don’t think of wellness as a burden, but as a core component of your travels this season and beyond. After all, isn’t the joy of exploring places and meeting people heightened when you’re feeling your best, both mentally and physically?


We surveyed 1,000 Americans to explore their fitness habits. Among them, 86% reported engaging in regular fitness routines, while 14% indicated that they do not participate in fitness activities. Also, we leveraged the Yelp API to identify the number of gyms and wellness centers located near major airports in each state. The Yelp API, by default, returns locations within a three mile radius of any given address.

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Fair use statement

Feel free to share these valuable insights for noncommercial purposes, provided that you include a link back to this page. Sharing our findings with proper attribution allows readers to access the complete results and methodology behind our research.

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