Let’s start this off with what you need to know about me:
I’m not a fitness fanatic or expert, and I don’t have a perfect body. In fact, you could say that my desire is not to stay in shape, but more to stay out of a certain shape category.
The round one.
I fight really hard to keep my waistline narrower than what’s above and below it.
At 48, I’m a curvy size 8, 5’4” tall, and my weight hovers around 145. A few pounds less, and I rejoice. A few pounds more, and I extend my middle finger at my scale — and then spend several weeks counting calories to get back on track. This is what’s normal for me.
So that covers Vanity, the first tenet in my holy trinity of fitness motivation. Ready for the other two?
Sanity. Activity that works my body gets me out of the RV and my own head, and just generally makes me feel better about myself, my day, and whatever I need to face during the course of it.
Survival. Exercise is widely known to be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. I’ve had that shit. I don’t want it back.
That said, I exercised regularly before my diagnosis too — hell, I was even a Jazzercise instructor for almost 7 years — and now it’s more important than ever.
As I wrote in a Facebook comment earlier this year, it’s not a matter of “Look at her. She was fit and healthy, and got cancer anyway, so why exercise?” To be quite blunt, cancer doesn’t care how fit you are. But being fit and healthy at the time of diagnosis makes a tremendously positive difference in how the body handles and recovers from treatment.
Now you know the why. Here comes the how.
I can take 19 steps from one end of The Toad to the other. That means I’d have to walk it 526 times to reach that ever popular daily recommendation of 10,000 steps.
Instead, I’ve developed an arsenal of several alternatives that I rotate, not just to combat workout boredom, but also to be able to get some sort of exercise even when the weather’s uncooperative, or when we don’t have much time, or when the roads aren’t safe for walking or biking, or when I’m sore from pushing myself too hard the day before, etc.
In no particular order:
Walking — I hoof it at a pretty good clip, 3.5 to 4 mph, on urban trails and in parks when possible, and on regular ol’ roads when not, but only if there’s a wide shoulder or sidewalk to keep me safe. Yes, I always walk against traffic.
Hiking — I’m slower at this, usually averaging only 2 mph, but that’s because the terrain is often uphill and tricky, and I’m wrangling poles and a pack too.
Biking — We carry our bicycles on the back of the RV, and we use them for both fitness rides and for local transportation.
Dancing — It’s my favorite exercise method of all time. I’ve made use of empty picnic pavilions, rally halls and all-purpose rooms, laundry rooms, a fairgrounds exhibit hall, and a cousin’s garage. Have tunes, will travel! Forget dancing like nobody’s watching, and dance like somebody’s filming.
Resistance Tube — It’s a small, nearly weightless alternative to dumbbells, kettlebells and the like, which are just not practical to store in an RV. I use it primarily for arm exercises, but occasionally I throw in a few leg and abdominal reps too.
Yoga — Sometimes I use the Yoga Studio app on my phone; sometimes I just do my own thing. I’ve taken enough classes over the years that I can put together my own 30-minute sequence of poses for strength, flexibility, and/or relaxation.
The Fit RV — Unlike me, James & Stef are fitness experts, and they focus on workouts geared toward those of us with nomadic lifestyles. Thanks to them, I’ve learned how to turn a picnic table into a home gym! Those videos are here and here.
Fitness Centers — Not the kind that require paid membership, but the kind that are included as amenities at RV parks and hotels (yes, we stay in hotels from time to time), and the ones we are able to use for free when we’re parked on military bases. Nothing like walking into a gym full of young soldiers, sailors or airmen to get this girl to work harder!
Fitness Classes — It’s a little pricey to pay on a per class basis, but sometimes it’s worth it. I’ve been to boot camp classes with a cousin, and I return to my old Jazzercise center any time we pass through Norfolk, VA. I’ve not yet participated in a “yoga in the park” session, but several cities offer them, often in conjunction with their farmers market. It’s on my list!
Healthy Eating — I’ve admitted already that I count calories when I’m feeling tubby. Overall, I try to eat right by focusing our meals around reasonable portion sizes of lean meats, fresh produce, and whole grains, while also trying my best to keep splurges to a minimum. We love to try local treats, and I will happily order a low-calorie entree in order to sample guiltlessly a hometown diner’s famous pie.
In conclusion, living in a tiny, rolling space is no excuse for me to slack off. I can and do #ExerciseEverywhere.
Disclaimer: I’ve received no compensation from any brands, apps, or entities mentioned above. I’m just sharing what I like so that maybe you can benefit too!