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It can be pretty challenging getting workouts in when you’re on the road. You don’t have much space, you’re busy doing vacation-y things, you didn’t pack any exercise equipment, and you’re far away from your gym. As an RVing personal trainer, I’ve heard all the reasons (and excuses). Exercise gets pushed down the priority list in the RV all too easily.
But here’s the problem. Without exercise, you are encouraging sarcopenia to set in. Unfamiliar with that term? You should know it, because your body is going through it. Sarcopenia refers to the natural muscle wasting that happens as we age. Suddenly you notice the stairs seeming harder to climb, your balance isn’t that great, and since when did the grandbabies get so, so heavy? That’s sarcopenia once it’s hit the advanced stages. It actually starts as early as our 30’s though…so even you young RVers aren’t immune. The good news about sarcopenia is it is controllable AND reversible. But there’s only one way to do that, just one, nothing else. It’s a medicine, but not in the conventional sense. You ready for it? It is:
And I don’t mean exercise every now and then…like when you get around to feeling like it, or when you notice a displeasing number staring at you from your scale. No gang, exercise has to be a non-negotiable part of your day EVERY day. It’s the only way to age as best as you possibly can and to truly combat the symptoms of sarcopenia.
But that doesn’t mean you need to rush out and join a gym or buy a bunch of expensive exercise gadgets to get your workouts in on the road. With a little creativity, you can turn your RV itself into your gym…and you don’t need any equipment whatsoever! Below you’ll find 4 exercises you can do around the RV. Beginners can start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each. Between the 4 exercises, you’ll work all your major muscle groups and you’ll be well on your way to combating the big “S”. Give them a try and then come back here and let me know what you think!
1. Clapping Wall Pushups Exercise:
You can do this one on any wall, inside or outside the RV. You’ll be surprised how many different muscles you’ll feel working. Any sort of plank like this works your core, and the added pushup works your chest, triceps, and shoulders, too. Plus, I really love the balance and stability component of this exercise.
Place your hands on your wall and step your feet back as far as you feel comfortable, allowing your heels to raise. Perform a pushup making sure your hips stay aligned with the rest of your body. Have your hands a little wider than your shoulders so you’ll get a nice stretch as you do the pushup, and make sure your elbows come out to the sides, not down. Next, forcefully push yourself away from the wall until you’re standing with control, and then clap once.
2. Bed Bug Getups Exercise:
No bugs required, but you do need your bed for this one. I always prefer exercises that use lots of muscle groups all at once. When I’m on a trip, I don’t want to spend all day exercising. I want to maximize my time, get the workout done quickly, and then go on my merry RVing way. Bed Bug Getups are a perfect example of an efficient exercise. They’re not only a smart way to improve coordination, they also burn more calories and improve functional fitness much better than traditional isolation exercises. Plus they’re way more fun:
Stand with your back to your bed and your arms held out parallel to the ground. Very slowly, sit back onto the bed and roll to your back. Lift your legs, arms, and head in “dead bug” position, and then smoothly stand back up.
3. Teeter Totters Exercise:
I can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate exercises that challenge your balance. Just think about all the daily tasks in your RV life that call for balance. Bending to do the hookups, climbing in and out of the RV, maneuvering across unfamiliar campsites, etc. Teeter Totters are a great way to work your balance…and so much more. They will strengthen through your lower back, your glutes, and your legs. Plus, you’ll also work your hip flexibility, which is yet another important, and often overlooked thing we need to age well.
Stand facing your couch or a sturdy chair. If you’ve got a small Class B like me, you can do these outside your RV, and stand facing the entry step. Very slowly lift your right leg behind you while simultaneously bending from the hips to lower your upper body so you can place your hands on the couch (or step). Just as slowly, return to stand. Continue to do all 10 repetitions on your right leg before switching to your left. Make sure you keep your back flat, DO NOT ROUND! Also, make sure you don’t lock the knee of your planted leg. Keep it slightly bent. The slower you go, the more challenging it is. So go slow!
4. Sink Pulls Exercise:
We can’t leave the kitchen out of our RV gym exercises! Along with working your arms, sink pulls are a great way to work your lats, your large back muscles, and even hit your core. Thanks to the squatting action, you’ll feel your legs getting worked on this exercise, too. So, yes, folks. We have here another full body exercise move. My favorite kind.
Stand facing your sink. Place your fingers down in the sink bowl, so you’ll have a good grip. Use your arms to pull yourself backwards. It’ll feel like you’re trying to pull the sink over. To do this, you’ll slowly drive your hips backwards, as if you were about to sit in a chair. Then, use your arms to pull you back up to standing position.
So, there you go. Four exercises to help you stay fit on the road AND to stick it to our sneaky nemesis, sarcopenia. Exercise truly is the only fountain of youth, gang. I wish there was a magic pill we could swallow quickly and be done with it. But alas, there isn’t. We can either put the time in and exercise, or we can age in the not good way. The choice is yours, but you know what I hope you’ll do.
As always, I’m rooting for you!