May 3, 2021
by Vanessa Bouchet
When I think about our full-time adventure starting and all the things we’ll have to get rid of or leave at the house, exercise equipment is the top of the “that’s a bummer to leave behind” list. My husband and I have various items to help us stay in shape, including an elliptical, exercise bike, weight machine, dip/pull-up bar, and different free weights. At home, all of these items get used regularly and we enjoy exercising with them. Unfortunately, they can’t come with us, so we’ve begun thinking of unique ways to stay in shape while traveling. In this blog, we share those ideas for others planning to RV full time.
This next section goes through the different options for RV exercise. If it’s your first time exercising in a while, ease into the workouts and adapt them to your circumstances. Always be aware of your limits, and don’t start an exercise plan without consulting your doctor first.
Squats don’t require equipment and easily become part of an everyday routine. Incorporate squats or lunges during regular activities like brushing teeth or cooking. This way, you work out legs and glutes without taking time out of your day.
Dips work on the upper body: biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders. Stand between two tables, lift your body weight, bend the knees without touching the ground. Lower and pick yourself up using arm strength and the upper body. A good starting point is three sets of five, resting between each set.
Pushups and sit-ups are standard exercises that can be done anywhere. Push-ups work your upper body and core, while sit-ups work the core. Three sets of five push-ups and 10 to 50 sit-ups are good starting points, though you can make a few modifications based on your skillset.
There are two options for beginner push-ups. First is doing a push-up from kneeling rather than from your toes. The other is to use a set of steps as a way to lessen or increase the difficulty. To reduce the difficulty, start with your feet on the ground, find a comfortable step to put your hands and push up from an angle. Place your hands lower on the steps until they are on the ground doing a standard pushup. To increase difficulty, reverse that procedure: Put your hands on the floor and your feet on the step, and eventually move your feet up a step. You may even become an expert capable of a handstand push-up.
Hiking, kayaking and cycling are great ways to work on cardio and increase endurance. Research hiking destinations based on skill level before setting out on that kind of adventure. Read the Best Hiking Trails to get started. If you’re interested in cycling, many beginners start at 5 miles and increase distance with experience. Rowing through the waters in a kayak is a cardio workout. You could also hop in the water and begin swimming for a full-body workout.
One way to keep up with cardio is a daily walk, run or jog at your destination. Walks turn into a family adventure that doesn’t feel like exercise. Running and jogging are great individual workouts, but you can bring your dog along too. A general rule of thumb for healthy adults is to walk 10,000 steps per day. Consider purchasing a pedometer to track your efforts - available on Amazon for under $20 - and become surprised at how many steps you take in a day.
Many RVers have bungee cords for traveling and emergencies. Use those bungee cords as a makeshift resistance band for strength training. You can also find inexpensive resistance bands if you like the idea of one tool to work out your upper body, lower body, back and core.
Lift weights without bringing free weights. We usually get a gallon jug or a 5-gallon jug of water for the dogs. One-gallon jug of water weighs about 8.5-pounds and a 5-gallon jug is about 50-pounds. Use the jugs to do curls, arm raises, and overhead lifts. You could also do squats and lunges with a jug in each hand. If you want the real thing, kettlebells are small and easy to stow away in the RV.
Finally, think about embracing the activities and opportunities around you. There’s an element of fun in switching up your routine, not to mention it’s good for you! Maybe you’re close to a lake for canoeing or close to a great golf course. Many RVers love to experience new golf courses throughout the country.
Remember, this exercise list isn’t a complete list of exercises available and may not be for everyone. It bears worth repeating that you should consult a doctor to determine if these exercises are advisable based on your health. Stay healthy and happy traveling!
New to RVing? Check out our free RVing How-To Guide.