My husband and I recently attended his high school reunion. Many of his old buddies looked just as he remembered them in high school. Others, not so much. Of course, everyone matures and changes as time passes. As we talked to various people and learned about their lives, one thing became more and more clear as the evening progressed. The folks who “moved” hadn’t lost their spunk.
Not changing homes
I’m not talking about moving from one location to another. I’m noting that the people who looked, spoke, and acted far younger than their chronological age were the very same people who led active lives.
I realize that terrible diseases and unfortunate accidents can ravage a person—stealing their vitality for life and robbing them of good health. For others without these terrible circumstances, however, their choice to lead a non-active life really showed—and not in a good way.
After the reunion came to an end, my husband and I had a serious talk. Seeing firsthand the results of both active and inactive lives helped us reevaluate our own way of living. We decided we’ve got to do something—anything—to keep our muscles strong, our minds alert, and our bodies as healthy as we can.
RVing in and of itself can provide some measure of physical activity. Hitching our fiver to our diesel truck demands that one of us be flexible enough to clamber up the truck’s side, reach in, and fasten the emergency breakaway cord, along with securing the hitch lock. Bending and stretching are needed to set up the wheel chocks, and it takes strength to lift and position the large, 2 by 12 wooden pads we use under the landing gear and leveling jacks.
Once we’re set up, then what? A button automatically extends the slides. The stove and cooktop heat our meals. And then the television seductively flashes its single, big, dark eye at us. Before you know it, much of our evening is gone! We might head to the campfire when darkness descends, but there we continue to sit even more. We know we need to move more and get more physical activity into our days.
We’ve tried the 10,000 steps protocol, online exercise routines, and even have a free gym membership through our Medicare supplement insurance. None of them held our attention for long. We were able to come up with too many excuses not to take advantage of the exercise each one offered.
Find a physical activity that you love
Frustrated, I finally talked to our family doctor. He suggested we find something—something active—anything active—that we love doing. “It might take a while to find it, but when you do, you’ll be moving more than you ever dreamed you could.”
He’s right! My husband and I both love to volunteer and work on construction projects. When we’re on a job site we get plenty of physical exercise! The problem comes when we’re not on a construction team. It doesn’t take long for our aging muscles to weaken and our flexibility to quickly degrade. We need to keep up our activity levels so that we’ll be ready for the next construction project.
Happy to RV
That’s why I’m so happy that we can RV. RVing affords us so many possibilities! There are new hiking paths and biking routes to explore everywhere we roam. Often, the campground itself or nearby communities offer amenities that can keep us on the move, with their swimming pools, ball courts, exercise/dance classes, shuffleboard, and more.
Have we found it?
I’m not sure we’ve found the one active thing that both my husband and I love, outside of construction—yet. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t searching! The stakes are just too high if we stay inactive for long.
Take a hike
For now, we’re hiking. We also go bike riding. Our RV takes us to different terrains and fabulous scenery every time we change campgrounds. (We use the free app AllTrails to find trails near us.) Our interest remains high as we explore one area after another. We make our after-dinner walks a priority, too. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is. We simply dress for the weather. After all, our RV’s fireplace can warm cold toes, and the RV’s shower can wash away sweat and dust, as well.
We started out slowly and, I’ll admit, I lacked confidence that we’d stick with it, given our track record. But, as they say, baby steps, right? For now, I know we’re doing what we can to stay healthy and active, too.
Does RVing help you stay active, or do you (like us) sometimes “relax” just a bit too much and for too long? What roadblocks keep you from pursuing a more active lifestyle?
Excellent advice! Thank you, Gail!
I have a dog that wakes me up at 6 or 630 every morning (well sometimes he lets me sleep until 7). My other dog isn’t so pushy. Whether at home or on the road we are out walking, rain or shine. I do a minimum of 8500 steps on those morning walks but almost every day do over 10k. Then on the road we walk again in the afternoon and around 10 before bed. At home they enjoy the dog park in the morning and use the doggie door to go in the yard the rest of the day.
I’ve gotten younger with them around and lost weight.
I’m not as active as I should be, but I lead a class and do the chair exercises six days a week for 45-50 minutes. (Doing them with friends makes them more fun.) All who do them say that they feel better afterwards. There are two DVDs by Ann Pringle – one for stretching and one for aerobics, weight-lifting and balance. They are well worth it. Here’s the link: http://www.strongerseniors.com
OMG! I gained 8 lbs last Jan and Feb when ‘relaxing’ in Florida. Lot’s of good food, wine and sunset watching will do that. I’ve since lost it being back home but it ain’t easy. Have to do something different next winter to keep the weight down. Pretty easy life when all ya have to worry about is gaining too much weight..ha!
My chosen RV physical activity is rockhounding. It includes hiking 🥾, weight lifting, core training, shoveling and pick swinging. Unfortunately the practice is sporadic and can include back throwing outing. 😁
Ouch! I’ve experienced unfortunate back throwing outing, too. Haha! Have a great day, Paul.
Thanks for bringing up this important topic. My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe for next year that will involve a lot of walking. We realize that we must begin now to be able to enjoy that trip. We are starting with walking, less TV, small or split entrees, and have bicycles at the ready when we get fit enough to ride them again.
My wife and I love dayhiking in the mountains. To maintain our ability to do about 20km (12 miles) with 1 km (3300 feet) of elevation gain in a single hike, we have to keep walking year-round. In my younger days, I could be a couch potato all winter and then get back into shape in the spring. That doesn’t work anymore. One thing I’m looking forward to snowbirding for is being able to walk and hike in the winter in warm weather.
Good advice to everyone!