It can be pretty tricky getting workouts in when you’re on the road. You don’t have the space, you’ve got lots of events planned, you don’t have any equipment, and you’re far away from your gym. As an RVing personal trainer, I’ve heard all the reasons and excuses. Exercise all too easily gets pushed down the priority list in the RV.
But here’s the thing. Without exercise, you are allowing sarcopenia to set in. Don’t know that term? You should, because your body is going through it. Sarcopenia refers to the natural muscle wasting that happens with age. Suddenly you notice the stairs getting harder to climb, your balance isn’t what it used to be, and the grandbabies are so, so heavy. That’s sarcopenia in its advanced stages. It actually starts in our 30’s though…so you young ones aren’t immune either. Funny thing about sarcopenia is it is controllable AND reversible. But there’s only one way to do that. There’s only one medicine that combats it.
And I don’t mean exercise every now and then…when you’re not on the road, when you feel like it, when you notice the scale number not to your liking, etc. No gang, exercise and keeping ourselves moving have to be non-negotiable parts of every day. It’s the only way to age well and to truly combat the symptoms of sarcopenia.
But that doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy a gym membership. 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!
Clapping Wall Pushups:
You can do this one on any wall, inside or outside the RV. Prepare to 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. Perform a pushup making sure your hips stay aligned with the rest of your body, and allowing your heels to rise as your elbows bend outwards. Have your hands a little wider than your shoulders so you’ll get a nice stretch as you do the pushup. Next, forcefully push yourself away from the wall until you’re standing with control and clap once.
Dead Bug Getups:
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 as quickly, and then go on my merry RVing way. Dead 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.
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. This exercise move is a great way to work your balance…and so much more. Teeter totters will strengthen through your lower back, your glutes, and your legs. They will 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!
We can’t leave the kitchen out of our RV gym exercises! Sink pulls are a great way to work your lats, your big back muscles, and they’ll also work your biceps…muscle groups responsible for things like carrying firewood or any sort of lifting. You’ll feel your legs getting worked on this exercise, too.
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.