Practice RVing well being throughout your life.
Let’s face it: Whether you’re 19 or 90, it’s imperative that you take care of your health. Unlike the tires of your RV, you have no spare body, so you should cherish what you’ve got.
Doctors will tell you to sleep well, get exercise and follow a sensible diet. But did you know that you should add traveling to the mix? Turns out, hitting the highway and camping benefit both your physical and mental health. So take your medicine and get moving. We’ll see you in camp for years to come.
Bouncing Back from Cancer
Joan Lalosh is an expert when it comes to the health benefits of RV travel. The septuagenarian sparkles now that she is RVing full-time with her daughter Maya and son-in-law Ryan. Always up for chatting with RV park neighbors or soaking up the local attractions, you would never guess that less than a year ago, the beaming grandmother was physically drained and succumbing to cancer. It turns out that RV travel was the best medicine for Joan’s cancer fight. As a bonus, it strengthened her relationship with Maya and Ryan after years of living on opposite coasts.
The Highway to Better Brain and Body Health
The Lalosh family RVing story directly correlates with travel study findings: hitting the road is good for us. “Travel and healthy aging, the process of remaining as vibrant as possible in body and mind, are, in fact, closely associated,” reports the Global Coalition on Aging in its report, Destination Healthy Aging: Social Benefits of Travel.
“Travel is good medicine,” says Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D., ABPP, president and founder of the Brain Health Center Inc. and a clinical neuropsychologist. “Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, it is an important behavior that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan,” he said in a report by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS).
The health and mind benefits of RV travel cited by experts includes:
- A better mood and a happier outlook on life
- Stronger relationships with friends and family
- More energy, better sleep and mental clarity
If we want to foster health, we must fit travel into our life during both our working years and into retirement. RV travel is one of the best ways to do it. Seeing new places and meeting new people gives us a wide range of health benefits each time we embark on a new national park, get back to a favorite hiking spot or head to a nearby campground for a weekend rally.
With a home on wheels, we have the luxury of reaping the health benefits of RV travel in our own comfortable surroundings. Each time we take time for adventure, we enjoy a long list of mental and physical boosts such as:
Mentally Stimulating Activities for Improved Brain Health
Engaging with different surroundings and people builds stronger connections between brain cells. This may even help our brains form new nerve cells that decrease our risk of dementia as we age.
Improved Physical Vitality
A regular getaway gives us numerous body benefits including better sleep, more energy and increased productivity, according to a 2018 travel and aging report called “The Health Outcomes of Travel – Perceptions of Boomers,” conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons Travel Research division.
Vacations create better ties with friends, family members and life partners, concludes an American vacation time study by the U.S. Travel Association. For example, traveling couples surveyed report that taking trips together is far more important to improving the romance and spark in their relationship than material gifts.
And whether RVing families experience happy, comical or challenging situations on RV road trips, the shared experiences give a lifetime of tales that get lovingly re-told around the campfire for generations.
How to Reap the Health Benefits of RV Travel
Hitting the road doesn’t always come easy. When home and work obligations define our days, it’s easy to let our “someday” dreams of RV getaways slide on by. Before we know it, the best time of the year for RVing is behind us. To enjoy regular benefits of RV travel, remember to:
Schedule Frequent Road Trips
If you want to get out and actually use that RV sitting in your driveway, you need to plan ahead. Just as you would book a medical appointment or note a significant family event, get out your yearly calendar and jot down as many short or long RV trips as you hope to take. Monthly, quarterly or seasonally, even if you don’t take all of your aspirational getaways at least you’ll have planning reminders to nudge you during the year.
Build Wellness Activities into Your Road Trips
Travelers who participated in some kind of physical activity during their getaways usually look back on them favorably, according to the AARP study. Your home on wheels makes it easy to get physical on RV trips, such as:
- Adding a bicycle rack or carrier to your rig and use human-powered transportation for short trips to the camp store or a leisurely ride along a bike path.
- Getting out into nature. Play a game of campsite pickleball during happy hour get-togethers with friends or go on nature walks.
- Book on a heart-pumping day on wheels, in the water or flying through the air on a zip line.
Leave Room for Spontaneity
Although it’s great to do some basic planning, with an itinerary and checklist, you shouldn’t plan every single hour of your journey. “I’ve made some of my best discoveries by not planning and simply talking to people,” says travel expert Rick Steves. “Serendipity and a willingness to be spontaneous can add up to the best travels.” Once you arrive at your destination, get a feel for the area by heading to a nearby visitor center staffed with locals in the know.
One Last Tip
Always leave room for the unexpected detour to a quirky roadside attraction, savoring a lush desert sunset or spontaneously splashing in the RV park pool with your kids. These little events we squeeze in are the ingredients of a rich and rewarding journey. You’ll never regret the time you spent enjoying them, but you’ll undoubtedly regret not fitting spontaneity into your life as often as you had hoped.