Isn't it funny? I actually look forward to setting out on a 6 hour hike, but call it "exercise" and I just want to get it over with.
While traveling we get most of our exercise doing fun stuff: walking, hiking, biking. From time to time we still need to add a workout routine. Here's one that we often use. It's short (only 10 minutes), relatively painless and requires no special equipment.
Since we didn't make this up ourselves, I need to give credit to Marc Lebert. A certified personal trainer, he designed this 10 Minute Circuit Training Routine. We adopted it after seeing it in the Oct/Nov 2007 edition of Healthy Directions Magazine .
The idea of circuit training is moving from one exercise to the other right away. Perform each exercise slowly and after 30 seconds move on to the next. Of course, by recommending any fitness program, I need to give you the standard warning so here it is: "Don't begin this or any workout program without first checking with your doctor."
This workout can be done at any campsite. No equipment is necessary but since you need to time each step, a clock with a minute hand can be useful. When your campsite is more gravel than grass, a small foam pad can protect your hands and knees while doing the push-ups.
Oh, and an apology in advance for the poor looking model in the photos. I guess the lack of a smile on my face shows how much I love exercising.
Although there are 12 steps to the 10 minute circuit, there are only 5 exercises to learn. Here's the entire program:
A great warm-up for the joints and works the inner and outer thighs. If you don't like jumping jacks you could jog on the spot instead.
Remember to keep your head up. Tilt your hips back and bring your hands out in front of you. Start to lower your body slowly like there is a chair behind you. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and bring your hands down to your sides as you move back up. Do not push your knees forward.
In push-up position, with your hands and feet on the ground, hands should be right under your shoulders and your abdominals tight. Slowly lower yourself to the ground and touch your nose, then come back up. If you can't actually accomplish a real push-up (like me), try lowering yourself down from the actual push-up position but then dropping to your knees (Marc calls this a flop) and raising yourself back up from your knees as I'm demonstrating in the photo. Return to the proper feet and hands position to lower yourself for each repetition.
It's time to get up and moving again with stride jumps. Great for the butt! Like jumping jacks, but your arms and legs move scissor-like forward and back instead of side to side.
With feet together, step back about 2 feet and touch knee to the ground. Alternate legs. It may be helpful for beginners to hold onto something like a chair. Keep knees at 90 degree bends.
When you work these compound exercises into a circuit of 30 seconds each, the heart rate really goes up and you get a great cardiovascular workout. You also increase your metabolism with the strength training and unlike low intensity cardiovascular training, you will burn calories long after this workout is done. (Now, that sounds good to me. What's for breakfast?)
Do this exercise routine every day consistently. You'll feel and see results.
Running is one of the best and most portable fitness programs available. I've got a great beginner's running program that Randy and I both completed successfully several years ago. (Now, nearing our 60's, our knees don't like running as much. We walk vigorously instead.)
For those who prefer a weight program you can accomplish a lot of the same results without carrying heavy weights in your camper. For this we follow an exercise program using rubber bands (also known as resistence bands).
Want more variety? Isometric excercise is also easily incorporated into an RV lifestyle.