RV camping was all fun and games for me until I realized I wasn’t feeling as fit. I got tired more quickly and wasn’t as athletic anymore. That’s not even the worst part. My girlfriend used to taunt me a lot about getting old, and a few white hairs on my head didn’t help at all to counter her argument, lol.
But to be honest, she wasn’t wrong. I used to run for 2 miles daily, and now I could barely run ten steps without panting. What in the world happened?
The answer was staring me in the face; RV life – as exciting and adventurous as it is – is mostly sedentary. Driving around for eight to ten hours every third day was draining the life out of me. Even on campsites and RV parks, I mostly sat around, loading up on carbs and proteins. With this routine, exercising to stay fit was thrown on the back burner.
I also felt that my health was being compromised with higher-than-average blood pressure and sleep apnea. It took tremendous effort, but I worked hard on myself to get fit again.
In this article, I will go over several valuable tips that helped me stay fit and in shape. If you are in the same boat, read on!
How to Stay Fit When on the Road
It’s highly improbable that you can access full-fledged gyms while on the road. This is especially true for Pakistan, where I mostly travel across beautiful mountains across the country’s rural areas.
Carrying fancy gym equipment is also a nuisance because of weight issues. The following exercises only require you to have an open space to work out in. Here are a few exercises I found helpful when I started working out (and they worked like a charm for me).
What you need: Jumping Rope (Costs around $9).
Time required: 10 to 15 minutes daily
As simple as it might seem, Jump ropes can help you burn anywhere from 1000 calories per hour (250 calories in fifteen minutes). It is perfect for campsites and RV parks as you don’t need much space for this workout. You can slowly warm up and then continue for 2 to 3 minutes. Ideally, you should go for at least 3 sets to get into a routine.
Not only is jumping rope a cheap option, but it is also amazing for starters. It is
- Small and portable: You can take your jump ropes wherever you want without worrying. I always keep an extra pair in my backpack.
- Easy: Jumping rope is fairly easy and doesn’t require any complex movements.
Pro tip: I always keep an extra pair with me. Once, when exercising, I left my jumping rope on the ground, where a few cars were parked. While reversing, one of the cars drove over the plastic handle of the rope and broke it. Lucky for me, I had an extra pair because these things are very hard to find in the mountains, where I spend most of my time.
Fun fact: Since I love hiking, I bounce on any opportunity that presents itself (well, if conditions allow). Often, I’d just start climbing a small terrain or a cmall mountain with a backpack, with my jumping rope in it.
Not only does hiking help me stay fit but I also jump rope after finding a good spot on the mountain that allows me to go ahead with the exercise.
What you need: Nothing!
Time required: 5 to 10 minutes with breaks.
When it comes to burning calories, burpees are one of the most popular go-to exercises. Burpees combine pushups, squats, and jumps, leading to a complete workout. You don’t require any items for this exercise, and you can easily do it in a small space.
The best way to go about burpees is to complete the pushup-squat-jump cycle five times in 20 seconds. Then take a 20-second break. Then repeat for 5 to 10 minutes.
Personal tip: I don’t feel comfortable exercising outdoors when the campsites are cramped and people stare at me. I simply use my yoga mat to complete my burpees set inside my RV! But then again, it depends on how much space you have inside your RV.
What you need: Yoga Mat (Costs around $20).
Time required: 30 minutes each day.
Yoga is another excellent exercise that can help you stay in shape, improve your focus, and even help you lose weight. Here’s why I can’t live without it.
- Effortless: Yoga almost doesn’t feel like you are working out. It is quick and easy, and once you get into the routine, quite fun as well.
- Keeps you fit: Certain yoga, such as power yoga or vinyasa, can help you burn calories and lose weight as well.
Personal Tip: As chances of having a yoga instructor are next to none, I always keep a Yoga app on my phone. The best ones include Daily Yoga and Yoga Studio, with hundreds of yoga lectures to follow through!
Fun fact: Ever since I started doing yoga, I have noticed I don’t get as tired as I used to when driving. And it has also helped me focus more.
If you are someone who needs frequent breaks when on the road, try doing yoga. It worked for me; it might work for you as well. A side benefit in addition to staying fit and feeling good doesn’t hurt, does it?
What you need: Running shoes (the price varies, but you can get a decent pair for under $50).
Time required: 30 minutes per day.
Going for a run is perhaps the easiest and the most convenient of all exercises. You don’t need any fancy equipment, and you virtually run anywhere. I run on the grass on the extreme left of the roads in Pakistan. Almost all roads on the northern side of Pakistan are running friendly and are completely safe. So not only do I lose calories and stay fit, but I also enjoy scenic views.
Running comes with a lot of benefits, such as:
- Weight loss: You can quickly burn 100 calories by running a mile. This means if you run 2 miles each day, you lose 1400 calories a week!
- Increased stamina: Running improves blood circulation and strengthens the heart, increasing your stamina and keeping you athletic.
Personal tip: If you are looking to time your run and measure the number of steps you walked, an iWatch or a Fitbit band will be super helpful!
Here’s a picture of me after running a few miles and reaching my destination. Believe me, the feeling of an accomplished goal is unparalleled (I won’t recommend running in jeans though, but at that time, I didn’t really have an option).
P.S. If you’re still looking for more advice, read Andy’s strategies for staying fit and healthy on the road.
How I Use Technology to Stay Fit
With the boom in technology, you can easily optimize your workout schedule to make the most out of it. From cool customizations to exercise videos, I use several apps to stay consistent and punctual.
Here, I have listed some of my favorite ones.
- Nike Training Club: This free Nike app offers many videos on strength training, yoga, and cardio. You can also use it to customize the way you want to exercise based on your RV routine.
- Map My Ride: Developed by Under Armor, this app tracks your route and miles traveled and is ideal for cycling. (While you can keep a cycle in your RV, I prefer not to, even though I love cycling. I just rent it at the main market for a few days and use that).
- Strong: This app is perfect for small workout routines that you can align with your RV schedule. You can buy the pro version for $4.99/month to get access to unlimited workout routines and choose the best ones!
- Peloton Digital: This app offers a variety of training programs that are live and on-demand as well. While the membership costs $12.99/month, you get access to numerous exercises, including stretching, walking, yoga, cardio, and even dancing!
Choosing the Perfect Workout Plan
Having a plan is one of the hardest things for an effective workout. Many RV lifers drop out of exercising only because they have no idea where and how to start. Here, I have listed a few quick workout plans that can get the rhythm going.
The 4-Day Traveling Workout Plan
This is one of the best workout plans that can help you get in shape and feel more energized. It’s divided into days, so you don’t overwhelm yourself and lose out on your traveling experience.
- Day one: Upper body exercises (pushups, chin-ups, and burpees). Doing 3 sets of 12 reps each for 15 to 30 minutes is a good start.
- Day two: Yoga (power yoga, vinyasa, asanas) for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Day five: Lower body workout (squats, jump squats, and lunges). Doing 3 to 5 sets of 10 reps each for 15 to 30 minutes as a beginner will make a difference.
- Day seven: Yoga/Stretching (hamstring, active, and ballistic stretching) for 30 to 45 minutes.
Personal tip: For the off days, you can go running, walking, or cycling for 10 to 15 minutes just to stay active. You can also combine jogging or cycling with yoga or exercises to make your workout more rigorous!
The Do-As-You-Go Workout Plan
This plan is suited to RV lifers who can’t take time out to properly exercise outdoors. I feel these exercises offer great value ad convenience as you can do most of them while inside your RV!
- Back Stretch: 3 sets of 10 reps each.
- Knee Extension: 5 sets of 5 reps each.
- Squats/jumping squats: 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Planks: 5 sets, 10 to 15 seconds each.
Personal trip: If you are like me, you may end up getting bored of the same exercise every day. I mix things up with a bit of Zumba (dancing), Aerobics, and Pilates to keep things fresh.
Imagine exercising here every day for 5 days. I have done it, and I enjoyed each and every second.
Staying fit while traveling is challenging, but you can keep yourself active and in shape with consistency and dedication. As you now know, giving 10 to 15 minutes to work out each day is enough to stay healthy and well. There are also some great apps and digital plans out there that can help you get into a routine and stay motivated. As you continue experiencing and exploring new places and people in your RV, it is essential to keep your body and mind in shape as well!