Travelling Can Be a Painful Business


Traveling can be painful business. The body craves movement. Sitting in a cramped seat for hours will challenge the fittest, most flexible person. Combined with using a laptop or handheld device, or trying to sleep, your body will be crying out for some exercise once you hit your destination.

There is no perfect posture. Sitting upright is not enough. Our spines demand movement to maintain circulation, peak disc nutrition and muscle flexibility. A dynamic, changing posture is most beneficial.

Here’s how to achieve it:

While queuing to get onto the plane:
• Tuck your tailbone under to lengthen your lower back and feel your tummy and buttocks activate
• Raise your heels to stand on your toes and relax back to the floor
• Stand on one leg x 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side
• Wiggle your toes, in your shoes, to improve circulation and activate calf muscles
While on the plane:
• Press the back of your head into the seat, and feel the length through the back of the neck
• Roll your shoulders backwards
• Clench and relax your buttock muscles regularly
• Circle your feet and ankles, and pump your feet up and down
• Lift your phone or magazine, don’t drop your head to read

While waiting for your bags:
• Place your two hands behind your head and open your elbows
• Place your hands on your hips and bend backwards
• Tuck your tailbone under to lengthen your lower back and feel your tummy and buttocks activate
• Raise your toes to stand on your heels
• Get close to the luggage carousel and lift your bags, while exhaling, when they are in front of you
Get used to doing these movements, regardless of the length of your flight. Keep your body moving while you travel and stay fit while you fly!
Jenny is a Chartered Physiotherapist, and owner of Total Physio in Sandyford. She is Physiotherapist to the Irish Women's National Football team, a certified Pilates Instructor and features regularly in the media.

5 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Make Exercise Fun!


For many people, the biggest obstacle to exercise is time; finding the time needed in our busy schedules. If it’s a low priority, like all your other low priorities it’s pushed back to the end of the queue. So exercise needs to be a high priority in your life, but for this to be sustained in the longer term, you have to want to do it and to get to this point you have to enjoy it and essentially see it as fun.
I was recently on TV in San Francisco talking about 5 Simple Things You Can Do Today To Make Exercise FUN! Click here to see my interview.

1 Fun: if you want your exercise to be fun and enjoyable you have to be prepared to give fun a chance. You’ll have to change any negative thinking such as, I have no time for exercise, it’s a pain in the butt or a waste of time. Instead, you’ll need to develop a positive mindset; exercise is good for my health and makes me feel good. It also makes me look good, helps me relax and helps me sleep. Of course it’ll help big time if you can find activities [e.g. walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates, zumba, dancing, etc] that you really do enjoy once you give fun a chance.

2 Relationships: over the years living in Dublin, London and Charleston I’ve always found it much easier to keep exercising on a sustained basis when I do it with other people. Now you can do it alone some of the time, even most of the time, but if you want it to endure, do it with your family, friends and/or colleagues. Exercise is a great way to build new friendships but perhaps more importantly you can nurture and develop your current relationships.

3 Personal Time: while exercising with family and friends will be great fun, don’t underestimate the benefits you can get from exercising alone. In reality, it’s hard to find someone to do it with every time you want to exercise. When you exercise alone you have time to think, to consider important issues in your life and make decisions. You have time to be creative, to destress or simply to unwind. So embrace your personal time and enjoy the experience.

4 Outdoors: now the weather is not always conducive to exercising outdoors but whenever possible you should take advantage of the opportunities which exist right on your doorstep. You’ll need to dress appropriately but don’t let this get in your way of enjoying your local parks, beaches, mountains, lakes and rivers. I promise you this is a game changer if you want to truly have fun and enjoy your exercise.

5 Holidays: the next time you go on holidays try to make it an active, outdoor one with exercise [e.g. skiing, cycling, walking, swimming, running, sailing, etc.] the focus of your attention. Do this with your family and friends and you’ll bring your fun and enjoyment to a whole new level! The best part of this approach is that you’ll truly enjoy the eating, drinking and partying so much more. One last thing, when you travel, remember to use your Sanctify Club membership. Have Fun!

“You don’t have to be fit and healthy to start but you do have to start to be fit and healthy!”

Jim Kirwan
Get America Moving

Leaders Must Lead from The Front for A Fit and Healthy Organization


There is plenty of evidence that employees are more stressed out than ever; they are tired because they don’t sleep very well; they eat poorly and are not as active as they should be! So is it really a surprise that our health problems are getting worse, not better?


According to the Milken Institute, chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, hypertension, pulmonary conditions and mental illnesses has a total negative impact on the US economy of some $1.3 trillion per year. Of that, about $1.1 trillion represents lost productivity. Get your head around those numbers!

One of my favorite quotes from Dr Kenneth Cooper is “We do not stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising” and there is no doubt that if you want to be fit and healthy you have to be physically active and that means moving throughout the day, not just fives times a week, for half an hour - the minimum recommended weekly activity. Most members of Sanctify understand this, however, physical activity is just one element of an effective employee well being program, albeit a very important one, mainly because what we have done so far has not been very successful. According to Gallop, 70% of employees in the USA are disengaged. At an average cost of more than $5,000 per employee, disengagement goes well beyond employee wellness or well being and everyone loses as a result.

F IS FOR FIRST: In my lifetime, nothing has really changed with regard to how the great organizations regard their employees. Employee well being has always been one of their highest priorities and with healthcare costs increasing everywhere, it presents a huge opportunity for organizations with designs on being great too. To succeed, F is for FIRST* which means employee well being must start at the top with the CEO and the C suite. They must walk the talk, practice what they preach, set the example and truly inspire their employees to be fit and healthy.

Of course, sustainable, long term effective employee well being also applies to leaders across the organization, from top to bottom. HR must also play a “champion” role as advocates, promoters, supporters and defenders. It needs to be or become an integral part of your organization culture and integrated into organization development, management training and development and performance management. Edgar Schein at the MIT Sloan School of Management said “the only thing of any importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture”. I’m not sure it’s the only thing but there is no doubt it should be a very high priority. Because a successful employee well being program will help create the right environment to maximize employee and organizational performance and thus profitability in the long term.

• F for FIRST is the first of six key ingredient of FITCEO, created from research and experience and required for effective organization and employee well being.

[Author: Jim Kirwan is the creator of Get America Moving, author of The eXercise Factor, creator of signature talk FITCEO and an organization and employee well being coach and consultant.]
Author: The eXercise Factor
Coach: email me at:

Don’t Let Your Physical Activity Suffer On Your Next Trip!

AdobeStock_62225259runner on treadmill.jpg

As a general rule, physical activity is one of the first things to suffer when you travel, especially when you fly, because of the total time involved, door to door. Exercise takes a back foot and we don’t move that much on an airplane, so what’s really important for you to do before, during, after and especially between your next flights? Perhaps most important of all you need to manage this process and make sure that your health and exercise remains a high priority.

Before You Fly: Stick with your normal routine as much as possible but be prepared to be flexible taking your travel time into account. In arranging your travel plans, don’t leave everything to the last minute; give yourself enough time to be as active as possible before you get on that airplane, especially if it is a long flight.

During Your Flight: You have probably heard that “Sitting is the New Smoking”. This is because when you sit for long periods, it messes with your body and slows down your metabolism and blood circulation. You actually burn less fat, sugar converts to fat and your brain function slows down too.

It should therefore not come as a surprise that when you sit for long periods of time in a tin can at 35,000 feet, in cramped conditions, with low oxygen levels, low humidity and low cabin pressure, that it creates the perfect storm for all kinds of additional physical problems. What results is dehydration, poor circulation, swollen joints, dry skin and mouth, bad breath, fatigue and headaches, to name a few.

That’s the bad news but the good news is that the solution is actually pretty simple. Here’s what you need to do if you are on a flight that lasts for more than an hour:

• Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every hour. Do a few squats and lunges if you can.

• Stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. This will force you to get up and go to the bathroom so you kill two birds with one stone!

• Eat healthy; try to avoid processed food, sugar and alcohol, if possible. Wash your teeth and moisturize your face, on a few of your bathroom visits.

• You can also do some exercises with your legs and feet to improve circulation while you are sitting. For example, pack a golf ball and practice rolling it forward and back under your sole as you sit (try not to lose it to the back of the plane!)

Between Flights: During your time between flights it is important to get physically active; there are no rules which say you have to sit down and wait in the airport! So this is where you can really benefit from Sanctify's Membership Club. Instead of getting stressed out, hanging out for hours in a busy/crowded airport where you are less likely to eat and drink healthily, why not use this time more effectively to do that circuit training in the gym, enjoy a relaxing swim or a rejuvenating spa?

After You Fly: Exercising after you fly is always good especially after a long flight. It will also help you reduce your jet-lag, work-out muscle tightness and create mental space away from the din of airports and inflight white noise.


Author: Jim Kirwan is the creator of Get America Moving, author of The eXercise Factor and an organization and employee well being coach and consultant.
Author: The eXercise Factor
Coach: email me at 

The Best New Business Ideas Are No Brainers


Okay, let’s start at the beginning. I am often asked where did the concept for Sanctifly come from? Well, it’s quite simple. I had just completed a ten day coast to coast six flight relay and was in Chicago O’Hare waiting for my next flight, in four hours. ARRG airports!

I didn’t want to shop or drink, but what else was there to do? I looked out at the many hotels on the airport concourse and thought ‘I wish I could go over there and use their pool, maybe a sauna, stretch and relax for a couple of hours’ away from the din of the airport – without having to book a room. And that was it.

When I started asking hotels if they would they be interested in the revenue from auxiliary assets and increased business footfall, they repeatedly said – “sure – no brainer”

When I interviewed business executives to see if they would they be interested in joining a club which gave them access to international airport gyms and pools, they said – ‘wow, definitely!’

When I spoke with their HR department about the known negative effects of continuous travel on their team and the opportunity to offer airport gym and pool access as part of a well-being and duty of care budget – they chimed in ‘no brainer’.

So, that was the clincher. Sure, there were road blocks: insurance, pricing, scaling, but nothing major, no chasms.

So, what is my lesson learnt for fellow start-ups at the idea stage? Get out there and interview (not pitch) all the stakeholders in your vision. The customers, vendors and influencers. Be very clear who owns the budget you are targeting and how are they currently spending it.

If you start hearing ‘no brainer’ to your proposition, maybe you are on to something too…


Karl Llewellyn

CEO and Founder of Sanctifly

What to do on your San Francisco Layover

Smart choices for the healthy traveler

Suggestions for a San Francisco layover


SFO Museum uniform


Not every airport has an accredited museum. The SFO MUSEUM in San Francisco International Airport was the world's first. Today. there are many different exhibitions across all the terminals including ceramics, motorcycles, ancient art, and pop culture. One great exhibition displays the history of airline uniform design. Over 85 years of uniform history. Those old stewardess outfits: real style, big colour. They don’t make them like they used to. The museum trail is a nice way to stretch the legs and get the mind off work. A quiet library located at the Aviation Museum (pre-security on the Departures level of the International Terminal Main Hall) is an ideal place to charge your device and escape the chaos.


Possibly the healthiest food option at the airport is to be found in terminal 3 (Boarding Area F, by Gate 81). Fraiche is a local, artisanal snackbar specializing in homemade organic yogurts. All their yogurt is homemade. In Palo Alto they actually have a small-scale dairy plant right inside their shop. Using only whole fruits and veggies they maximise the nutritional value and minimize the sweetness. Certainly the best frozen yogurt in the airport and one of the best in San Francisco. Open from 4:30am in the morning and until 10:30pm most nights. A fresh and nutritious way to sharpen up.

SFO yoga

 3. YOGA

There are two nice Yoga rooms at SFO, one in Terminal 2 (Boarding Area D) and another in Terminal 3 (Area E, near Gate 69). Well-equipped with a hardwood floor, sanitizing wipes, yoga mats and a mirror. The rooms are free to use, which is great, but for that reason not everyone uses it for its stated purpose. Be prepared for the possibility of having to finish your vinyasa to the sound of clicking laptop keys. Still, it's better than rolling out your mat at the gate. A useful amenity.

 2-3 HOURS


The Japanese Garden, in San Mateo Central Park, is one of the finest gardens in California. It was designed by landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, and features a granite pagoda, tea house, koi pond and bamboo grove. It is beautiful throughout the year, but be sure to visit the Garden in the late Winter and early Spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Glorious. The Park is a 13 minute cab ride from the airport and the perfect natural antidote to the din of the terminal.


Take a hotel shuttle or short taxi out to the Marriott and you can enjoy a walk nearby along a pleasant stretch of water. This 6 mile trail is lined with benches where you can sit and watch the planes land and take off. The roar of the jets on the runway; the open air; the calm water: good head space. Glorious for a run, a walk, or just to sit down and enjoy the view. Return to the airport a new person.   


The Embassy Suites shuttle will take you to yet another lovely waterfront walkway. From the Shorebird Sanctuary in Burlingame you can watch the planes on approach, where the scenery changes constantly, along with the tide and the weather. Depending on the time you visit you might see a beautiful sunrise or enjoy incredible views along the esplanade of wading birds at low tide. Lined with benches for plane watching and picnics it’s a great spot for a stroll. For those visiting with binoculars keep in mind you may or may not get lucky with the birds.




10 miles from the airport there is a cute, up-scale town called Burlingame. The avenue is a long street of many and varied shops: some quirky, trendy places and some classy stores. It’s a relaxed stroll and there are plenty of places to eat. If it is a nice, healthy food option outside the airport that you crave, then The Plant Cafe might be for you. This popular spot sources its produce and goods from local Bay Area growers and artisans, working with small organic farms to take advantage of the great variety of seasonal produce Northern California has to offer. A great organic snack or meal in a lovely little town only a short cab ride away.


The Bay Area Rapid Transit has been the public metro in San Francisco since 1972. It couldn’t be easier to travel to the city directly from the airport. Arriving at SFO Airport every 15 minutes the BART takes half an hour to get downtown. Once you’re in the city you have any number of things you can do or see. We suggest shopping at Union square or people watching at Fisherman’s Wharf. Wander around. Take it all in. San Francisco is a wonderful place. Just don’t relax too much and miss your flight.

Golf ball on tee


There are two golf courses near the airport if you have the time. Poplar Creek is a good, flat course, less than 7 miles from the airport and reasonably priced. Fees depend on time of day and week but as a guideline you could for example pay €30 for clubs and $24 for an early morning back nine. Bear in mind that it can get busy at times so you might want to allow for delays. Crystal Springs is a challenging course located in a wildlife refuge with spectacular views of the reservoir. The surroundings are more impressive than Poplar Creek but it is a little more expensive. Their nine-hole earlybird is priced at €32. The journey from the airport to Crystal Springs is 12 miles. Doable with a four hour plus layover.   


To get to the Marriott in Burlingame take the complimentary shuttle bus straight from the airport. There you will find the M Club lounge at the Marriott. The lounge offers a relaxing atmosphere and flexible spaces to work, connect and recharge. A breakfast buffet in the morning and hors d'oeuvres in the evening allow you to eat while you check your emails. WIth 24 hour access and business services available including free premium WiFi The M Club really is a valuable amenity.  


Sanctifly is our number one recommendation at every airport

Become a full member now and enjoy the benefits today