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At a recent RV show, a chatty attendee was cheerily telling me she’d gotten her required 150 minutes of walking in for the week from just walking around the show that day. Feeling pretty proud, she exulted, “Now I can take it easy the rest of the week!”
While it’s true the WHO and CDC both recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, there’s a pretty common misunderstanding about it. People will count their activities of daily living (ADL’s) towards the 150 minutes. ADL’s are things like shopping, cooking, carrying the garbage to the RV park’s dumpster, and even attending an RV show. None of these things count toward the guidelines.
Why not? The biggest problem is that during those activities, your body isn’t working hard enough to get your heart rate up. You need to increase your intensity enough to break a sweat, and do so for AT LEAST 10 minutes straight. A great way to know if you’re working hard enough is to take the singing test. If singing is difficult, you’re working hard enough. So, browsing around an RV show isn’t going to cut it.
Brisk walking is probably the easiest way for RVers to log their 150 minutes. An evening power walk around the RV park, walking through the touristy downtown of your destination (that’s walking briskly – not shopping), or even hitting that hiking trail near your campground all are ways to keep your fitness up. There’s a wealth of research that proves walking is good for you. Not only does it tone your body, it strengthens your heart, lowers risk of disease, increases bone density, promotes weight loss, and much, much more. And if that’s not enough reason for you, a recent study found that the minimum of 150 minutes of brisk walking per week was associated with an overall gain of life expectancy of 3.4–4.5 years. Even better, the more you walked, the more years you added to your longevity. Taking that walk can lengthen your life!
Ready to get consistent with your walking and meet the 150 minutes goal? Here are a few tips to get you there:
1) Keep Track:
Whether you simply time your walks and write them down OR use an app on your phone like MapMyWalk, keeping track of your walks will help you stay accountable and motivated.
2) Make it Non-Negotiable:
You don’t stop eating or sleeping just because you’re on an RV trip, so why should you stop exercising? All are critical for good health, and all should be non-negotiable parts of your day…whether you’re on the road or not.
3) Find a Friend:
You just met your RV park neighbor, invite him or her for a walk in the morning! Having a friend walk with you not only makes it more social, it also holds you accountable to someone else, and makes you less likely to back out of a pre-planned walk.
4) Make it Fun:
Find interesting routes, put your favorite music on your headphones, or reward yourself by ending your destination somewhere that interests you (a coffee house, perhaps?). The more fun you can make your walks, the more motivated you’ll stay.
Bottom line is this. If we want to continue RVing long into the future, we need to keep our bodies healthy. You do that by getting your minimum of 150 minutes of brisk walking in each week; no excuses. And why not start right now?! Grab your headphones, lace those athletic shoes up, and get out of the RV!
See you on the road, friends! (Or walking around the RV park…)