The RV lifestyle can push physical fitness so far down the honey-do list that after a few months on the road you might be asking your RV partner in crime "honey do these pants still fit me"?
Who can blame the full-time RVer? Driving to a new town on Wednesday, setting up camp in a national park on Friday and then driving to a completely different state the following week. Who has time to consistently raise their metabolic rate and maintain RV fitness when there's so much to see and do at every destination?
Set a goal, get a regimen
: Here's a simple way to win the battle of the bulge on the road. Think about a physical activity you want to accomplish that's outside your comfort zone. Walking at a brisk pace for thirty minutes. Riding your bike for an hour. Completing a 10k run. Whatever the goal, set it and then create a calendar of "workout days" designed to keep you on track to meet your new fitness "carrot". Setting an objective and creating a calendar will keep you motivated by taking training one step at a time instead of getting overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once. And with a calendar to keep you focused, moving from location to location won't disrupt your routine.
Turn the RV park into a personal gym:
With a fitness goal in mind, the next step is actual exercise. With a little creativity, you'll find there are plenty of ways to raise your heart rate and burn extra calories without a health club membership. Besides, you're already in the world's first gym – the great outdoors.
Strike a Pose
: Yoga may just be the ultimate RV health toning and mental wellness workout
. Check out a few of the poses here, and don't be intimidated if you haven't stretched in a few years. Start our slow and gain confidence along with flexibility. Practice for a few weeks inside, and then when you hit an amazing spot with a view of the Grand Tetons or the Sawtooth Mountains, work your poses outside in the morning light. Your chakras will thank you.
Exercise DVDs: Floor space can be tight but most RVs have a DVD player and just the right amount of room in front of the TV to allow indoor exercise. Send your significant other off to the local Railroad Museum or hand him the weekly grocery list, (the amended version), toss in your DVD, and get in an hour of calorie-burning fun. One caveat – if you don't want the RV to smell like the boy's locker room after gym class, remember to open a few windows and turn on that Fantastic Fan. Here are twelve videos to get you on your way. If you have a Wii, you can also turn your RV living room into an exercise studio for a quick and effective workout.
Don't let your bike gather dust
: Taking bikes on and off the rack as you travel burns calories but taking a ride is way more fun. Lube your chain, grab your helment and find a local Rails to Trails
bike path. Many towns also have a local riding club. Visit their website for maps of local routes, or join the group on a local outing. You'll make some new friends and burn about 290 calories per hour on a casual bike ride.
Walk for your supper
It's easy to jump in the toad and drive into town for a night on the town, but if the mileage isn't bad, why not walk and take in the fresh air while seeing the local sights on your own two feet? One mile of walking burns about 124 calories, so a mile or two each way and you've earned that dessert. You'll help build aerobic fitness, strengthen bones and burn more calories after a night walking the town.
Join a Habitat for Humanity crew
: Nothing burns the calories like carrying 2x4's, sawing studs or hammering nails. Check online and find out if their a local Habitat house being built, and sign on for a few days of work. You'll discover muscles you never knew you had and help out a local family as well – a fitness two-fer!
Go old school
: Jump rope. Try some calisthenics; lunges, crunches, and squats along with the tried and true sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups. Find a medicine ball at a local garage sale and discover how quickly you can strengthen your core
. Or check out the Kettlebell, a traditional Russian exercise weight that is both portable and effective at cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Or just do a few reps a day with small dumbbells and tone up while you're waiting for the sky to clear.
Exercise where the locals do
: Odds are high that you can find a local samba or spin class, or a gym that will let you drop in on an exercise class or two for a small fee. Likewise, check out local dance studios that may offer high energy dance classes. You'll burn a few calories and be ready for the rumba, cha-cha or samba when the opportunity presents itself.
Take a row or a swim
: Many RV parks around the country are close to lakes complete with kayaks or rowboats to rent. Get out there a few days a week for a good row and enjoy the solitude of a lake. Swimming is one of the best exercises and on a lake, it's also free. Get a full-body workout for nothing by doing a few laps up and down the beach or jump in the pool at your RV park.
Turn the Toy Hauler into a mobile gym
: This may be for the more hard core fitness RVer out there, but the big open space at the rear of a Toy Hauler
can hold a few key exercise machines, some free weights, even a heavy bag to punch out the stresses of the road. Leave the quad at home and lighten up.
Listen to your best friend
: Many full time rvers
have their dog with them. Take a walk with your dog and you'll get fresh air, burn a few pounds and meet fellow dog lovers. Best of all, it becomes a daily ritual that you don't have to make a note to remember - your dog will take care of that.