How Much Walking is Enough for RVers?

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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!”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  Couple Walking Dog Exercise RV Park Campground

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…)

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    17 thoughts on “How Much Walking is Enough for RVers?

    1. Bruce

      I like using the Apple Fitness app on my Apple Watch for tracking how much “brisk” walking I get. Any wearable that measures your pulse will also track this (e.g. Fitbit). Good clarification on what “type” of walking is needed for the minimum 150 minutes.

    2. Don Kane

      Our general feeling is about 2 hours of brisk walking per day is about normal for daily exercise, in lue of not doing anything else..

    3. Cecil Treadwell

      Walking DAILY for a healthy length of time is necessary to maintain good health. But many seniors are balance challenged and leg strength challenged. A great solution is a gym where a stationary recumbent bicycle provides the safety and stability for that need. But FOLDING RECUMBENT TRIKES are also a welcome solution for those who can no longer walk very well. Sitting down safely and pedaling around the trailer park and beyond is the new and strongly emerging pastime among seniors.

    4. jim westfall

      My wife & I like to get some exercise and walking is what we do most often. The problem is that my wife can’t walk as fast as I can (inversely – I don’t get my heart rate up while walking with her). Do you have suggestions so that we can exercise together? Thank you.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Hi Jim! Since you and your wife are at different fitness levels, you’re going to get a better workout when you’re walking alone. My advice for you, walk with your wife. When she’s gotten her workout in, drop her back off and go do another intense 15 minutes yourself alone. That way, you get the social-health benefits of exercising with a loved one PLUS you get some intensity in so that you’re creating a training response to your own fitness levels. Another idea is water fitness; are you swimmers? The great thing about water fitness is that while you both might be power-walking (or swimming) laps in the pool lanes, you can go at your own pace and still be constantly crossing paths and staying connected. So it’s still something you’re doing “together.” Best of luck and keep moving! xoxo

        1. David Elmore

          My wife walks more slowly, so I walk on ahead, then turn around until I am behind her, then catch up. Then we can walk together for awhile and catch up on conversation before I go on ahead again.


        2. Stefany - Post author

          I love that! It’s a great way for you two to maintain your own individual levels of fitness. Good for you and keep it up!

    5. Sue Ann Jaffarian

      Stefany, because of arthritis in my right knee my doctor recommended biking over walking or a blend of the two. At home I pedal 6-9 miles 5-6 days a week on my recumbent bike. It keeps my bad knee nice and lubed and gives me a good cardio workout. The problem is, when I move into an RV I can’t take the stationery with me. I plan on buying a fun bike to take on my journey but still want a portable stationery bike for my daily workouts or bad weather. There are lots of models out there, but some look pretty flimsy. Any you suggest?

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Sue Ann I have an idea for you! You should investigate “bike trainers.” Bike trainers are little portable gadgets you attach to the back wheel of your bike to make them stationary. We really like and trust the brand CycleOps…their trainers are made right in Madison Wisconsin. Here’s an example of an entry level trainer: But, very important, you need to make sure the bike you purchase will work with a trainer (back wheel 700c). You’ll want a very lightweight bike, because you’ll be lifting the back wheel and fussing with it to get it attached to the trainer. I suggest when you’re ready to bike shop, you go to a local bike store and let them help you pick out your bike. They can also give you advice on trainers, show you how to attach them, and help you test some out. Yes, this is all going to be a financial investment, so be prepared to spend some money on a good bike and a good trainer…don’t skimp here. It’s an investment in your health and well-being, keep that in mind. Keep me posted! I’m so excited for you and your transition to full-time RVing!

        1. Sue Ann Jaffarian

          Thanks! And, by the way, I really enjoyed your video on resistance band exercises for seniors. I was needing to add more strength training and that fits the bill perfectly. I’m sharing the video with an exercise/health group I belong to on Facebook that has mostly older members.

    6. leia

      I’ve been using the Runkeeper app (iPhone) since 2009. Now I use it in concert with a FitBit Surge. I love FitBit’s interface (I think that’s the right word?) on the MacBook Pro. I’ve recently lost some weight and I can see a direct correlation to my reduction in resting heart rate on FitBit’s dashboard (no, I don’t work for FitBit!). I also like being able to watch my heart rate on the Surge as I’m walking; however, I need to be a bit more mindful of the terrain as we usually walk in the desert area near our house and it’s rocky/rough in some areas and between looking for stray golf balls and watching my progress I can get a bit distracted (a nasty gash on my right knee is testament to that fact).

      Stefany, this blog entry reminds me of an email I rec’d from FitBit a few days ago:

      However, you beat them by a year and a half since your blog is dated August 2014!

    7. Jim Beard

      Great article! I use the Pacer app (free) on my iPhone and then each morning I enter the previous day’s steps on I have been doing this for 8 years and have averaged 12 000 steps a day over that period. My walk to work is 25 minutes and then 25 minutes back home in the evening. That accounts fro about 6 000 steps. The rest are mostly ADL’s.

      1. James

        I’ll let Stef comment here, but I’ll just say – GREAT JOB with that walk to work! Most people don’t get 25 minutes of activity in several days. You’re ahead of the curve.

      2. Stefany - Post author

        Oh if only I could bottle your dedication and sell it. 12,000 a day, walking to work, wow. That’s pretty inspiring, Jim!

    8. Tom Boles

      Hi Stef!

      Nice article…There is walking, and there is WALKING and I think you are talking about the latter, yes?

      How does this fitness idea work with bicycling? My wife greatly prefers cycling to walking, eapecially when it’s for fun or excercise. She was never the hiking mom (our son is an Eagle Scout) and now, with the kids gone, is not at all interested in just “walking”, but cycling she can get into.

      For myself, at home, I row a small boat for an hour or so twice a week and I really like that. I am happy to walk as well, but if my wife wants to cycle, I will go with her whenever: at home, out camping, just wherever.

      Thanks again!

      1. Stef - Post author

        Howdy, Tom! Cycling and rowing are excellent cardiovascular activities to meet the 150 minutes per week guideline! It’s great you’ve both found physical activities you like. Definitely keeps you motivated when you enjoy your exercise, right?!? Just remember though, neither rowing nor cycling are weight-bearing exercises…so if osteoporosis is a concern for either of you, make sure you’re still getting some walking in!


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