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New airport amenities take the pain out of a layover

Friday - 2/24/2012, 3:38am  ET

AP: cc8b47b3-bbf2-471f-8758-dbe00dd40c47
In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 photo, travelers Maria Poole, right, and Lindsey Shepard, practice yoga at San Francisco International Airport's new Yoga Room, in San Francisco. The quiet, dimly lit studio officially opened last week in a former storage room just past the security checkpoint at SFO's Terminal 2. Airport officials believe the 150-square-foot room with mirrored walls is the world's first airport yoga studio, said spokesman Mike McCarron. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Yoga, spas and a marked walking course.

These are not just features of a trendy gym. They are now healthy perks for the connecting passenger.

The long layover can evoke the image of marginal food choices in the concourse followed by a nap lying awkwardly over seats at the gate.

But airports are offering passengers more options, beyond an array of healthful food choices.

San Francisco International Airport's highly-publicized yoga room is just the latest example of offering a fitness option for travelers.

The layover is changing in hubs all over the country, according to USA TODAY.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, connecting passengers can take advantage of a 1.4-mile walking path.

On-site airport hotels have also made fitness centers available. Those who are not guests can pay a fee to unwind and let off some stress.

At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, passengers can work out or hit the spa via hotels. At Chicago's O'Hare Airport, non-guests can buy day passes for $10 to $19, the newspaper reports.

Other airports, such as Los Angeles International Airport, have kinetic options just minutes from the terminal. An 18-hole golf course is one option. Passengers who make the short trip to the LAX Flag Courtyard can do yoga or tai chi.

Exercise- and travel-enthusiast Kevin Gillotti's Airport Gyms website documents fitness options within 15 minutes of a given airport.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)