There is so much going on when living on the road, that adding a fitness routine can seem daunting. You are working, planning travels, exploring, homeschooling, working… when are you supposed to work out? If you think the way that I was thinking, you probably wonder why you’d even need a fitness routine, since you will be moving and exploring on most days. Isn’t hiking in national parks enough exercise? What else do you need?
Guest Post and Photos by Laura Georgieff
Yes, you are right – you will probably spend more time exercising outdoors than you ever had before. Remember those office days? When you came out of work at 6PM, picked up the kids from after-care, then headed home, cooked dinner, handled homework, bath time, and it was 9PM before the kitchen was clean and you had a moment to yourself?
So yes… your days are about to get a lot more active than they used to. You will be outdoors hiking, walking, visiting, and getting regular exercise. Naturally, without having to schedule it, your body will move and be active.
We have been traveling 2.5 years, and I never had to even watch what I eat – I burn more calories on a daily basis, than I am able to eat…
But am I fit and healthy? As a matter of fact, I realized about 2 years in, that I could barely hold my regular run. My body did not feel strong. It was lean, but not strong. Was I healthy?
Because of the amount of moving I did each day, I indulged in snacks and unhealthy eating. We ate fast-food more often than we ever had, the marshmallow roasting became a weekly occurrence. Our freezer, filled with ice cream. Chips with a beer several times a week… because it didn’t matter – I wasn’t going to put on weight with all the hiking. Right?
But something had to change. I started feeling tired, and generally unwell. This was an easy trick to fall into and I had jumped in with both feet!
There is something to be said about strengthening. Having a routine and scheduling exercise is so important on the road. It is so easy to get lazy because our days are filled to the rim… but it will be so good for your body, and your mind, to carve out time to exercise.
If you are into running, campgrounds give you so many opportunities for jogging routes. Try to keep up with your home routine. I used to run 5 days a week… and did not jog once in 2 years. I consider myself very athletic… yet that first run, I could not complete a mile and had to walk half of it. It was my run of shame, and it has pushed me to make the changes I needed to make to get back on the healthy track.
Taking 20 minutes to go for a jog isn’t too much to ask for. Your partner can hold the boat while you clear your head and do your body a favor.
Strengthening workouts can easily be done while on the road. YouTube is full with fitness professionals leading workouts you can easily follow with just a mat. If you’re limited in weight, skip the dumbbells and work with strengthening bands. Many wonderful workouts use the weight of your body, and nothing more.
Make the time to schedule exercise two or three times a week. It will put your head in a good place and ensure that you remain fit, healthy, and happy.
There it is… We had always been a very healthy eating family. At home, we cook 100% of our meals, never eat out, nor order in. While traveling, we cook nearly all of our meals and grab some fast food a couple of times a month. It is easy and convenient on long travel days, believe me.
But because we move so much, we indulge in nightly ice cream bowls, baked goods, a beer, or a local whisky. Life on the road is fun. You hang out outside by the fire with your spouse, you live faster, but slower, at the same time, you dedicate yourself to learning, exploring, and having a good time.
Everything we cook, is still very healthy food! But we have added all of those little extras, that we would typically keep for 2 or 3 vacation weeks a year, and started consuming them on a weekly basis.
We may not have gained weight from them, but we couldn’t have called ourselves fit, or healthy, in any way.
Chips became too much of the norm on driving days. Perfectly roasted gooey marshmallows were no longer an exception. And we felt more tired than we should have felt.
Thankfully, it takes very little to switch back to a healthier lifestyle. Buy berries and fruits to snack on. Raw veggies make an excellent snack and in a matter of days, we watched our energy levels go up.
Staying Fit And Healthy While Full-Time RVing
It takes a little more dedication to stay fit and healthy while full-time RVing. I thought a lifestyle of constant hiking and movement was going to make it a no-brainer… but your body needs constant work.
Make sure to consciously carve out time to exercise with a purpose. Eat healthy and get the whole family on a healthy snacking plan. You are traveling with your kitchen after all, which makes healthy living a lot easier than traveling in hotels or house rentals.