Ask any RVer why he or she enjoys the lifestyle so much and you’ll surely hear the words, “freedom, adventure, relaxation…”
If you’re a recreational RVer, you probably look forward to the time spent in your RV as a break from your normal routine. A time to get away from the grind and enter “vacation-mode.”
While breaks from the routine help you maintain your sanity, it’s easy to get so absorbed in “vacation-mode” that you actually take a vacation from your healthy habits.
As they say,
The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.
Overeating, too much lawn chair time, staying up late…these are all habits you know are bad for you, yet for some reason they become acceptable on vacation.
But if you follow these five ‘RV Fitness Rules’, you’ll come back from your RV vacation in as good (or better!) shape as you left.
1.) Take Planned Driving Breaks
While we all love to make good time driving cross country, sitting for long stretches wreaks havoc on the body.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this graphic by the Washington Post.
Set a rule that you’ll stop your RV every two hours and spend 15 minutes walking around or getting some physical activity. James and I pre-plan each of our 2 hour stops, making sure to stop some place interesting.
It gives us something to look forward to and makes the drive much more fun!
2.) Get Out of Your RV
You love your RV.
It’s like a grown-up version of the blanket fort we used to make as kids. It’s fun to be in it, I get it.
But you aren’t doing your health any favors by hunkering down in such a compact space.
Your body was designed to move and be active. The whole “use it or lose it” principle is at work here.
If you want to age well, lace those athletic shoes up, step out of the RV, and get moving.
And you don’t need to be a Cross-Fit superstar either. Just three five-minute walks during a three hour period is all you need to do to reverse the negative health consequences of prolonged sitting.
3.) Avoid Gas Station Garbage
It can be way too easy to grab a Big Gulp and a bag of chips during your road trip rest stops.
With 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz can and questionable artificial ingredients, it’s no secret soda is terrible for your health.
Research has linked them to kidney decline and a much higher risk of metabolic syndrome.
Here’s a fun drink alternative: Puree a few of your favorite fresh fruits and herbs, and then freeze them in an ice cube tray.
Add one cube to your water bottle for a refreshing soda alternative on the road.
As for road trip snacks, plan ahead by making your own healthy snack bags. My favorite is a simple trail mix: almonds, coconut, dark chocolate and dried cherries.
4.) Stretch Every Day
It gets tougher, more fibrous, and less pliable. If you aren’t stretching regularly, your posture and range of motion will suffer. And once your posture goes, many health problems follow.
Related: Stay Fit in Your RV: The Bed Workout
As RVers, we already have some strikes against us.
We sit a lot (driving days, campfire gatherings, etc.) and we live out of a compact space, with things easily within reach. We don’t need to walk or move much to prepare meals, go to the bathroom, or perform household chores.
A simple way to improve your range of motion and make up for the ease of small space living is to make stretching a non-negotiable part of every day.
5.) Don’t Skimp on Pillow Time.
Good sleep sets the foundation for a healthy life. But so many of us take sleep for granted, especially when we’re on the road.
Being chronically sleep-deprived increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. It also suppresses your immune system, affects your mental clarity, and sets you up for the dangers of drowsy driving.
If you have a hard time sleeping on the road, try traveling with some sleep-friendly accessories: comfortable foam ear plugs, silk sleep mask, small battery-operated fan, and lavender essential oil – which studies show improves your ability to fall asleep.
Being well-rested will make for a much more pleasant RV trip.
Reviewing these 5 RV Fitness Rules, you can see that staying healthy while RVing isn’t so complicated. But you have to make it a priority.
And the great news is, staying fit doesn’t have to be a chore.
By taking breaks while driving you’ll see more cool travel destinations, reverse the damaging effects of prolonged sitting, and reinforce the good habits you started your RV journey with.