STAYING ACTIVE ON THE ROAD – RV FITNESS
“I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t always have to be on the go. I sit around a lot, I read a lot, and I do watch television. But I also workout for two hours every day of my life even when I’m on the road.” – Jack LaLanne, a fitness legend who inspired tens of thousands of people before his death at 96.
At first two hours a day may sound like a lot but when you think it, two hours of exercise is easy when you are on the road in your RV!
RVing makes staying active and healthy on the road simple and, most importantly, fun! Opportunities for exercise are endless when you are traveling by RV. From bike rides to hikes to relaxing walks around the campground to a game of pickleball with your fellow RVers, there is never a lack of things to do to get your fitness on. RVing makes the world your gym. A workout with a view of the mountains beats a crowded sweaty gym any day!
Fitness hasn’t always been a priority for me. Almost seven years ago, fitness was the last thing on my mind. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. As a last attempt to feel better I decided to hit the gym. It wasn’t easy at first but it was exactly what I needed. After a few months my mood improved and as a side benefit I lost about 30 pounds. I was so excited about the changes in my life that I decided to become a personal trainer.
Now that we live on the road, I no longer teach fitness classes or train clients but keeping active is just as much of a priority for me now as it was then. In fact, traveling by RV has fitting in fitness even easier in many ways. There is never a shortage of things to do. As a family we hike, take walks, go swimming, ride our bikes, and snowboard when we get the chance. Personally, I also strength train with kettlebells 2-3 times a week and do yoga regularly.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or a full time RVer, your RV will help you live the healthy life you want while having fun.
RV Fitness Tips
Everybody starts somewhere. – For most people, starting is the hard part. If you have an all or nothing approach to fitness, let it go. Maybe you’re not ready to hike the Appalachian Trail (I’m not!) and that’s OKAY. If you’re new start simple by taking a bike ride or a walk every day around the campground. Over time you’ll build up stamina and increase your time and distance. Before long you’ll be ready for more vigorous hikes or rides. Once you see how good you feel, you won’t want to stop and who knows where your adventures will lead.
Plan fun activities into your day. – Play a game of kickball or badminton with your kids. Map out a hike for the entire family. Maybe you enjoy waterskiing or wakeboarding. Take a walk with a loved one and you’ll not only move your body, but you’ll get to spend quality time with someone. If you plan a fun activity as part of your day you won’t even feel like you are “exercising”.
Stay safe! – Keep fitness fun by making sure your outing doesn’t turn into an avoidable accident. For starters bring plenty of water, a snack, sunscreen, and wear proper clothing and shoes. If it’s really hot out, plan your activity when it cools off. Always hike, ride, or swim with a buddy or let someone know where you are going. Don’t forget bug spray. Be extra safe and keep a first aid kit in your RV.
Strength training is important. – As a personal trainer, I’m obligated to mention that strength training is a key factor to longevity. It wasn’t that long ago people kept up their strength by plowing fields and chopping wood. In this age of technology, for most of us it takes a little more effort to maintain our strength. If you are just going for a week or a weekend then skip the strength training unless you really love it. After all, it is your AWAY, so make it what you want!
But if you are on a longer trip then you may want to consider finding a way to strength train regularly. Beginners can start with simple bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, and modified planks. Or put the picnic table to use by doing step-ups or modified pushups. If you are looking for something a little more challenging then there are a number of portable fitness equipment pieces to choose from. Suspension trainers are straps that you secure to a sturdy object such as a tree. The straps can be used for all sorts of strength building exercises from beginner to advanced. Best of all they are lightweight and take up very little space. If you have the capacity in your RV you may want to consider a pair of adjustable dumbbells or a kettlebell.
Find something you enjoy. – This is most important. Maybe you don’t like the idea of strength training in the traditional sense. That’s okay! Then give Pilates or yoga a try. Most RVs come equipped with an entertainment system or two, so bring along a DVD. I’ve been known to use fitness apps on my phone and do yoga in a beautiful spot under the trees. Water sports are not your thing? No biggie. Don’t force yourself to like something when there are so many other options. You can walk the dog while everyone else hits the lake. Remember the best exercise is the exercise you’ll actually do, so find something you enjoy!
How does the RV lifestyle facilitate fitness in your life? What sort of fitness activities do you enjoy while you’re away?