Staying fit and not gaining weight can be a challenge on the RV road. It may feel like you are moving when you travel, but actually you are sitting a good part of the day. When you stop for the night, or before you leave in the morning, you need to set aside time to exercise.
At the RV park
Before you leave in the morning or after you get settled, take a walk around the park. It can be fun to see the different RVs and where they are from, even strike up conversations. You may not get your heart rate up, but it some activity. Riding your bicycle around the park is another alternative. Use the pool and swim laps if the park has one.
RV parks and resorts designed for longer stays may have exercise equipment, courts for bocce ball, pickleball or tennis, larger pools. Often they offer classes or have tournaments that you could take advantage of if you stay for a few days or longer.
In your RV
You can bring hand weights and exercise bands easily in an RV. Other equipment may not be as easy to carry. When my late husband and I began full-time RVing, we brought a Nordic Trak machine. It took up a whole closet when folded up. To exercise, we set it up in the kitchen/dining area where it took up most of the aisle – no slideouts back then. Needless to say, between blocking the isle and the difficulty in setting it up, it was sold or given away fairly soon.
Exercise DVDs or videos can be another way to exercise if you have the space.
As you travel
Walking, hiking and biking are activities you can do as you travel. The trick is planning time to do them. Women Outdoors is a national organization with resources for women wanting to get out and be active. Members have access to the names of other members who could be good resources for finding hikes, bike trails and activities when in an area.
You may also be able to find hikes, nice areas to walk or bike trails nearby if you do some research. The American Volkssport Association is made up of walking clubs, which have events all over the U.S. Check to see if there is something near your travels. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has a list of trails for biking and walking at their Web site. An article naming walkable cities by the now defunct Walking Magazine lists a number of cities to keep in mind as you travel. Local papers may list hiking groups that you could join for a hike. And, of course, many national and state parks and forest have miles of trails.
Women who join Curves can stop at any Curves and do their workout. They have more than 10,000 locations worldwide; some pretty small towns have Curves locations. By doing some planning, you could probably work out several times a week. Other gyms sometimes allow guests for a small fee. Ask at RV parks where you stay if they know of any. Community swimming pools or Y’s may have public swimming available.
So why not stay fit?
The biggest hinderance to staying fit is usually not equipment or facilities, but being disciplined about exercising at least 3-4 times/week. It helps if both spouses, if married, exercise. Or, if you travel solo or your spouse or partner isn’t interested, find an exercise partner if you’ll be in one spot for a while. It’s harder to go back to sleep when someone else is counting on you showing up for a walk.
If you are Workamping or volunteering in a location, you might be able to join or start a class locally. RV friend DeAnna carries foam handweights and a water belt for doing water exercises. When she has been an area for a while, she has started classes and gotten others interested so she had people to exercise with. She gets empty gallon milk jugs to use as weights so people don’t have to invest in equipment.
If you get into a routine, the good feeling, increased muscle tone and weight loss can become self-motivating. In RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journeys on the Open Road, Joanne Alexakis tells her story in “Losing Weight with Suzanne.” She writes a hilarious account about making one more New Years Resolution to lose weight. She followed the Suzanne Somers’ weight loss plan, combined with brisk walking laps around the permeter of the Florida RV park where they stayed that winter. As the pounds came off, she added sprints and dumbbells. She lost a total of 40 pounds!
How do you stay fit? Do you make the effort? Do you get off the road in time to get in some exercise when you are traveling? Please add your strategy in a comment.
Jaimie Hall Bruzenak