It’s hard to imagine anything sedentary about the RV lifestyle when your backyard is ever-changing and your wheels are constantly turning. Tired of the red sandstone canyons in Sedona, Arizona? Shift into drive and head northwest until you hit the sandy desert of Death Valley in California. Prefer less of an inhumane, sauna-like atmosphere with an environment more hospitable to bipeds versus kangaroo rats? Drive north to Lake Tahoe, the land of the pine and take a refreshing plunge into one of the purest lakes in the world.
The ability to move is part of the mobile lifestyle charm, but sometimes, no matter how inviting the landscape, exercising on the road can be particularly challenging. Buying day passes at a nearby gym can be costly. Hiking is great exercise, but the terrain is unfamiliar. And what if it’s raining? Limited indoor square footage limits your range of movement and storage space prevents you from hauling around tons of equipment. Before all these negatives give you “the protein powder shake is only half-full” outlook, there are some key solutions to these problems. Staying fit on the road just requires additional foresight and some planning versus simply rolling out of bed and hitting the neighborhood gym.
For those who need a daily elliptical fix or enjoy the guttural, grunting sounds near the free weights, gyms with a large national presence can be a solid option. 24 Hour Fitness is the world’s largest privately-owned fitness chain. With the gym’s All-Club memberships, workout enthusiasts can access more than 300 locations in 17 different states. Anytime Fitness provides a similar program with its Anywhere Club Access, which allows members to visit thousands of locations, in all 50 states, plus Canada and Mexico. Be sure to confirm when signing up for a membership that there aren’t restrictions on visiting other locations outside of your home gym. Because some nationally-recognized gyms are franchise operations with varying fee structures, memberships aren’t always reciprocal. Always verify options and read the fine print.
If you’re tempted to actually get outside and explore those incredible mountains, beaches or trails beyond your windshield, AllTrails is the best app to add to your iPhone or Android. With more than 50,000 trail guides across the U.S. and Canada, AllTrails is perfect for finding hiking and biking routes. Along with enjoying the apps partnership with National Geographic, users can review and filter trails to fit their preferences, like searching for dog-friendly paths or ones with access to waterfalls. The pro version allows users to edit, download and save maps. Another app that offers local insights to less-explored areas, Map My Hike, allows you to search trails around the country compiled by fellow users. Available on Android and iPhone, it also tracks your speed, distance and elevation and allows you to record and share information with other users.
If the weather isn’t cooperating, or you can’t seem to find the motivation to leave the RV, there are a few items that don’t take up too much space that are ideal for in-home exercise, even if you’re limited to 200 square feet. A quality yoga mat is the most useful all-purpose item for RV exercise, whether you’re indoors or outside. Perfect for downward dogs and pigeons, yoga mats are also ideal for sit-ups, push-ups and all sorts of stretching. Plus, their roll-up design allows you to stick them in creative places (cough, behind the motorhome couch, cough). I’m partial to the Manduka Pro series. It’s a sturdy mat that seemingly lasts forever (going on 8 years for me) with minimal care — because I can barely keep that succulent alive as it is.
Another item easily stowed away and practical for RV use are resistance bands. Instead of lugging around heavy and awkwardly-sized barbells, dumbbells and kettleballs, resistance bands are a great strength-building alternative for lifting. I’d recommend EliteFTS resistance bands, which come in varying degrees of tensions, great for serious arm and leg workouts or light stretching.
One other item that’s worth adding to your workout repertoire is a streaming workout service, like DailyBurn. With a subscription to DailyBurn, you can access thousands of different at-home workouts, from dance, to strength-training, to cardio. Want a workout using only a towel and a mat? What about something quick when you only have 15 minutes to spare? Or hip stretches to relieve tightness after that grueling mountain bike ride? As long as you have a decent Internet connection, you can watch a multitude of different workout routines and exercises — all created for the comfort of your home, regardless of whether it’s on wheels or not. There are other streaming workout subscription services out there, but in my opinion, DailyBurn is a cut above the rest.
Beware: Signing up for the service doesn’t mean you’ll actually do the workouts, but if you put on a cardio workout while you eat greasy takeout Chinese food, there’s a high probability you can guilt yourself into getting off the couch after a few spring rolls. While the RV lifestyle is filled with unique obstacles that stationary life sidesteps, exercising on the go doesn’t have to be a roadblock. With a little flexibility, planning and patience, staying fit can be both gratifying and painless. Now go grab that extra spring roll — you’ve earned it.