How to Stay In Shape on the Road

Feb 25, 2020 | Travel & Destinations

How to Stay In Shape on the Road

We've compiled a list of tips, advice, and helpful information on how to stay in shape and exercise while traveling in an RV.

By Stacey Powers

Photo: Stacey Powers

Exercise has always been a priority for me. But being on the road and in a small, confined space can make that a bit more challenging. And while it’s nice to take advantage of the close proximity to the outdoors and move around outside, sometimes bad weather and shorter daylight hours can interfere. Because of this, I’ve developed a health plan that works both inside and outside your RV, and is ideal for anyone interested in staying in shape while on the road.

A woman running in a campsite
Photo: Stacey Powers

Explore Your Surroundings

One of my favorite things about RVing is that my surroundings are constantly changing and there is always something new to see. When I first get to a new place, I like to go for a walk and check out my new neighborhood. Especially after a long day of driving, it’s nice to have a reason to stretch my legs.

A woman tying her shoes on her RV steps
Photo: Stacey Powers

I also like to try and incorporate activities that are unique to my current surroundings. For example, if I’m near an ocean, then surfing is my preferred method of exercise. If the weather is warm and the terrain is flat, then a nice long run will work. Or if I prefer to stay close to my RV, a jump rope is a great default—it is lightweight, doesn’t take up much space and allows me to work up a quick sweat.

A woman jumping rope outside her RV
Photo: Stacey Powers

Small Space? No Problem

In addition to the various outdoor activities, I have also found a number of ways to workout inside the confined space of my Airstream. As a yoga instructor, my yoga practice has come with me on the road. And while I may have to modify some of the poses, most are still easy to do right inside my narrow living room. And when all else fails, I often go back to the basics and complete a series of push-ups, sit-ups or hold a plank for as long as I can. Using your bodyweight is a great way to workout, without needing much space at all.

A woman doing yoga in her RV
Photo: Stacey Powers

Gym Memberships Have Multiple Perks

Another great option is to get a national gym membership or pop into a fitness class at a nearby town. Local fitness facilities will often let you try a class for free, or for a discounted rate, so you won’t have to pay full membership prices. One added perk to having a gym membership is that you can also use the facility to shower. This can come in handy if you’re boondocking or trying to limit your water usage.

A woman stretching outside of her RV
Photo: Stacey Powers

Technology Is a Friend

If you’re just starting out on your RV journey, exercising can be a nice constant in your ever-changing, ever-moving life. I don’t have a consistent workout routine, but moving my body every day has become my routine. It helps to have a watch or device that tracks your movement and reminds you if you’re lagging behind. These devices are also great for when you want to go for a walk or run but aren’t sure where the mile markers are or how far to go.

A tablet and a jumprope on the floor of an RV
Photo: Stacey Powers

And if you’re someone who is already on the road but has lost some of the drive to get moving again, I highly recommend utilizing virtual exercise classes. There are so many great free yoga and workout videos on YouTube. And oftentimes taking a virtual class can help push you a bit harder than you may push yourself on your own. Plus, you can take the class when it’s most convenient for you and in the comfort of your own (tiny) home.

The Fit Five

When it comes to staying in shape on the road, here are five things to remember:

  1. Keep It Simple: If you only have 15 minutes for a workout, just pop outside and go for a quick walk or run. You won’t regret how good it will feel to just move.
  2. Like What You Do: Do something you love! Working out should never feel like a chore. Find something you enjoy doing—whether it’s hiking, surfing, cycling, running, kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle boarding—and find ways to do that activity in your new location.
  3. Stay Consistent: This may sound like an obvious one but staying consistent can help you build a routine. Take it from someone who has been on the road for over two years—scheduling your exercises, even if it’s just 10 minutes, will keep you happy and healthy.
  4. Get Creative: If you don’t want to add weight to your RV and pack fitness equipment, try utilizing what’s around you. Full water jugs can act as heavy dumbbells, and a picnic table or bench is great for step-ups, tricep dips or modified push-ups. Don’t feel like you have to carry lots of equipment in order to exercise on the go.
  5. Look Into a Gym Membership: Find a gym or fitness organization that offers access to multiple locations across the country (or at least locations specific to where you are traveling). Having a gym not only gives you a place to workout but also a place to shower.
A woman exercising on the floor of her RV
Photo: Stacey Powers