Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Preparation & Readiness, Traveling Tips
Finding Creative Ways to Stay Fit on the Road
Hello from Lake Mead, Nevada! I’m sitting at the picnic table outside our RV sipping green tea from a mug that says, “Organized people are too lazy to look for things.” Ha! Husband James got it for me during a recent trip to Sedona. On the other side, it says, “I can’t clean because I get distracted by all the cools things I find.” See? Even this mug is so cool it’s distracting me from my writing! What I REALLY should be doing is exercising right now. After all, it’s 6 a.m. When Das Bus is parked and we’re home, I always exercise at 6am. So what am I doing sitting here chuckling at my silly mug?
Even for me, an exercise specialist, staying in shape while RVing can be tough. I can point fingers at the hours and hours of being strapped in the co-pilot’s chair, my body as idle as that last road sign that whizzed by. And then I can blame the size of our RV, because where in our Class B can I stow a squat rack or some weight machines? While both driving time and space issues are definitely a fitness challenge, they aren’t my biggest obstacle to staying fit on the road. The biggest culprit? Lack of routine. Life in an RV is anything but routine.
Yet I’m coming to realize that perhaps lack of routine isn’t a bad thing. After all, “exercise” doesn’t ONLY occur at the gym at 6 a.m. while wearing workout clothes and a heart rate monitor, right? Sometimes, exercise might sneak up on you in the most delightful, unexpected ways. And it’s not until later you realize, wow, I just got a workout!
Take our recent trip to Buckskin Mountain State Park in Arizona. Pilot James landed Das Bus in camping spot number 11 quite late, and then we went exploring the next day. We were definitely in out-of-routine mode. Making up missed workouts was the furthest thing from our minds. We’re traveling! Workout shmerkout! James and I noticed a trail on the RV park map directly out of the campground. We assumed it would be a hundred-yards-long cement pathway to a park overlook that we could see from our RV spot. “Let’s take the camera and get some pics of Das Bus from the top!” And off we went.
Five minutes later, we were at the overlook, but the trail didn’t end. Our curiosity was aroused. Onward! That surprise hike from Buckskin Mountain turned out to be the most amazing three-hour hike into the desert we have ever done. We even discovered some old abandoned mines. James had fun standing right at the edge of the mine pit because he thought it was hilarious to see me hyperventilate. Anyways, that afternoon at Buckskin, there was no routine or any expectations, yet our spontaneous adventure turned out to be one of the best surprise workouts I’ve ever had.
When I’m on the road, I have to keep reminding myself of that. It is okay to think of fitness outside of the box. To find it in the moment. To tie it into the journey. Exercise can even be so amazing, it finds its way into your top 10 Best Life Experiences list! Like our trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Anyone who’s been to Theodore Roosevelt National Park knows what a hidden gem it is. James and I basically just stumbled upon it as a stop on our way into Canada. We decided to unpack the bikes and take a ride around a scenic loop road. We had to share the road with the small number of cars visiting the park at the same time (there are no paved trails), but it was well worth it. You know that feeling you get when you find yourself in a moment of wonder? Like when you see an amazing sunset, for example. You see it, and all the cells in your body collectively sing out, “WOW!” Well, our whole 20-plus mile bike ride through the park was like that! It started with the prairie dog cities….sing out, my cells, “WOW!” Next came the running herds of buffalo just 100 yards from us alongside the road…this time a little scary, but still, ”WOW!” And the grand finale? Wild stallions BLOCKING our path on the road…triple “WOW”!!
We were so ridiculous after that bike ride. Jumping up and down, clapping our hands, “Did you see…?!!!” “Oh my gosh, the baby horses….!!!” “We almost DIED from the buffalo…!!!” While getting a workout was the last thing on our minds, we had done just that. And thanks to exercise, we created a memory we will always cherish.
And then there are those times where you wish you WEREN’T getting exercise while traveling. Our recent stop in Banff will forever be known as “the Quest-To-Find-The-Internet”. Even when traveling I like to keep up with my personal training clients and keep track of their workouts. That requires Internet access. (Although, to this day, my husband maintains that I just wanted to get on Facebook.) Our stop in Banff had us staying at one of the sites along Tunnel Mountain Road, just a bit out of town. Well, I had to get to the internet, so we loaded up the laptop, and headed into town searching for a WiFi signal. We tried the Banff Springs Hotel (gorgeous!) – but no luck. Several other places we tried, all over town.
No luck. Finally, we were able to snag a signal at – of all places for a fitness professional – McDonald’s! By then we had been walking for what seemed like about 12 miles, carrying my notes, laptop, and a camera (in case we saw something good). Once we schlepped back to the RV, we were completely wiped out – on what was supposed to be our easy, sightseeing day. Still, it was a pretty satisfying feeling. We saw things we wouldn’t have otherwise seen had we spent the day idle. Fitness snuck up on us in Banff. It wasn’t planned, yet I’m thankful for the adventure.
And now here I sit in Lake Mead. My tea is cold now, and the RV park has begun to stir. James is humming to himself as he’s making omelets at the other end of the picnic table. Suddenly, I stop feeling guilty about missing today’s 6 a.m. workout. I realize that just because I’m away from my normal exercise routine, I don’t have to abandon fitness. So, I can’t get to a gym, big deal! Fitness can be found all over this beautiful planet, and it doesn’t have to be scheduled in a planner. Perhaps if I’m lucky, it might even be found today, here in Lake Mead, in a new “WOW!” moment. The day’s adventures await, me, friends…time to go find them. But first, that omelet.
I’m sure some of you have stories about workouts you didn’t expect, but nonetheless, got. Let’s hear how fitness has worked its way into your camping adventures.ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stefany Adinaro is an exercise specialist and SilverSneakers instructor at the Cottonwood Heights Rec Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband, James, are avid RVers and maintain a website dedicated to fitness while RVing at www.thefitrv.com. Check it out for fitness tips and video workouts!