As a cabin attendant and globe trotter, I like to stay in shape. It’s essential for my job and the impact of jetlag is reduced if you’re physically fit. So I try to work out wherever I am in the world. This can be a question of trial and error – sometimes literally. Keeping fit and staying healthy go hand in hand, as everyone knows, but it can also be a true adventure when you’re away from home. From hyperactive senior citizens to Japanese mob henchmen – I’ve encountered them all on my (sporting) travels.
Join me at the crew hotel in Seoul, where I’m surrounded by Korean fitness fanatics. One of them is pumping every piece of iron he can find, another is running for dear life on the treadmill, and there’s also a lady effortlessly folding her legs behind her head. I’m watching all of this from the cross-trainer.
High in enthusiasm and age
My gym mates are all wearing the same outfit. An oversized blue shirt and ditto shorts. They all have their shorts pulled up too high, but that definitely doesn’t stop them from getting a good workout. And my respect for their efforts is doubled by the fact that they’re not only hyper-enthusiastic, but also super-aged! They could be an Olympic team from the 1960s. The youngest is certainly over 80!
I’m dragged out of my Olympic fantasy by a cough near my ear. An impatient 100-year-old wants to take my place on the cross-trainer and points at a sign: “No resting on the equipment.” I reply to his cough with a sigh and let him get down to business.
Three bikes down, things are a lot more peaceful. The cyclists are chatting and reading newspapers laid out on the handlebars, as they pedal at snail’s pace. Having concluded that these must be the coaches of my veteran Olympic team, I decide to join them, knowing that I can match their standard!
Although my South-Korean workout wasn’t much to write home about, it was a lot better than the cycling race I had with a colleague in the crew hotel in Teheran. We were both on exercycles in the hotel gym, having a bit of a laugh at the somewhat battered, 1980s Kettler equipment we were seated on. My mockery was swiftly punished when, as my colleague and I sprinted for the finish, I found myself lying on the floor. The chain had come off the exercycle, which was now riding me. In my enthusiasm, I had gone too hard on the shaky handlebars, breaking the bike off its moorings in the concrete floor. Needless to say, I lost the race.
A slippery slope in Japan
When you look for an indoor swimming pool abroad, you often end up in steamy cellars that smell of mouldy feet. But not in Japan, where the hygiene standards are high and the pools pristine. Visitors are expected to be tattoo-free and have to wear a bathing cap.
Respecting the rules I move in the general direction of the swimming sounds. A lady wearing a pink-tutu bathing suit loudly hits the water right near me. I give her an angry look and her two friends shout at me in Japanese. I’m not really fazed by the incident until I see the backs of the two men. They are covered in tattoos reserved for Japanese mobsters. And then I notice they’re not wearing bathing caps. I wisely decide to pull down my cap and finish my work out in record time. I guess the moral of this story is: stay fit, by all means, but try not to give yourself a heart attack in the process…
Wilbert works out world wide to remain physically fit. By doing so he reduces the impact of jetlag. Want to know why you get a jetlag and more importantly how you can reduce its impact? Read more in our blog Why Do We Get Jetlag?