Keeping Fit on our Motorhome Adventure

We've always been active and sport loving and this has allowed us to spend lots of time exploring the outdoors on our adventure, which in addition to being our shared passion also helps to keep us fit too. However, in addition to our hiking and cycling exploits, we also try and do some other types of exercise as well, especially if we're having a quiet few days or we aren't based close to any good walks or rides. Alongside eating healthfully getting regular exercise is really important to us both, making us feel good on a day to day basis plus we believe (based on lots of reading) it's also one of the most important and effective ways to stay healthy in the long term as well.

My own passion alongside hiking and cycling is running. Since the post-surgical infection last year involved my hernia repair being reversed (as the inserted mesh was compromised by the infection), I have to be very careful with not pushing too hard, and so I have built up the distance slowly and limit myself to relatively short and steady jogging on the flattest terrain I can find.  As someone who used to run a bit harder in the past I thought I would find this frustrating, but the reality of having a regular change of scenery, beautiful countryside to jog through and time to rest and recover between jogs has been blissful.  I love running more now than I ever did back in the UK and always love exploring a new route when we reach a new place.

For Esther (who doesn't enjoy running) she's found another option. With our computer we have a series of workout DVDs (bootcamp style, Shaun T Insanity programme) which she cycles through outside the motorhome. With just a pair of trainers and an exercise mat she can get a really good workout done, usually with some awesome scenery in the background as well. She also does a few Pilates exercises and this set up wold work equally as well for yoga too, although she hasn't tried that yet. Of course someone running on the spot or doing burpees between two parked motorhomes does also raise a few eyebrows and can attract an audience, but she's even had people clapping and cheering.  The only downside is that after 8 months Esther would quite like a new set of DVDs!

Although our training options have been a bit more restricted than back in Britain we have found our training to be much more fun and varied on the road. We have occasionally stayed at a campsite which had a small gym facility, which we made use of, but this has been rare. Esther also has some spinning class music saved to her mp3 player so can also put herself through a spin class if we get to use an exercise bike. She's even listened to this a couple of times going up the shorter Tour de France climbs, which might account for how quickly we got to the top of Luz Ardiden!

On a couple of other occasions we've even discovered a free gym session offered on the back of parking receipts and we always try and find the gym in question to take advantage. Some campsites and even some towns/cities offer some bodyweight resistance machines in public spaces, where we've tried a few exercises, but on the whole these only offered light or no resistance and we found them better for mobilisation exercises.  During our second stay in Val d'Anniviers, we made use nearly every day of the new swimming pool in Zinal and quite enjoyed getting into a routine of swimming our evening lengths of up to 2 kilometers.   

When we've had access to these "active extras" we've really enjoyed the variety and had a lot of fun.  However, on the whole on our adventures so far we have been limited to the jogging and workout DVDs.  As we start 2015 based at Camping Los Escullos, our keeping fit resolve continues.  The campsite has a small gym but with limited equipment (in working order) Esther primarily enjoys the space for the workout DVD but has planned out a few circuit sessions to try over the next couple weeks whilst she has access to the room.  As a real treat for Esther, whilst we are based in Cabo de Gata, the campsite offers weekly Yoga and Zumba sessions.  In addition we are also keeping active on this campsite with the enjoyable games of Paddle Tennis with fellow campers, our first experiences of this popular Spanish racket sport.

Exercise Thoughts from the Road
One of the best things about our motorhome adventure so far has been finding a more natural and healthy rhythm in our daily lives, sleeping when tired and being busy when we have felt energetic. This is a big change to our lives in the UK, where, although we both enjoyed having a gym membership it meant that we often pushed ourselves a little too hard.  Even when we felt tired from work we'd often "force" ourselves to head to the gym because we felt that we "had to".  Plus, as we'd both done a lot of high level competitive sports all of our lives we were used to overruling our bodies, pushing hard all the time and putting pressure on ourselves to "just get it done". Rather than feeling better, in reality we were probably causing a lot of additional stress to our bodies that was actually bad for our health in the long term. 

So, since we set off on our adventure we've tried to be much more sensible about exercise.  Firstly, the majority of our 'exercise' has been what we love doing, hiking or cycling, and being outdoors in the fresh air with some truly inspirational scenery and good weather to motivate us. It's felt fantastic to be enjoying our 'exercise' again without have to think about it.  There are many different exercise plans and programmes out there, but recently we've read pieces by several authors who believe that the best exercise programme for you is just simply the one you love doing.  And this has been very true these past months for us.

Secondly, as we've been enjoying keeping fit with our outdoor adventures and we've been feeling healthy and happier, adding in the variety of the additional jogs, workout DVD sessions and "active extras" has been enjoyable too.  Thirdly, we've also allowed for the fact that touring around, planning where to head to next and spending time driving can also feel stressful and tiring too. So we've tried to listen to our bodies more and on the days that we've not been out and about in the hills, we've exercised only when we have felt the energy to do so.  Or, if we do feel a bit lethargic as a result of inactivity rather than because of a big hike the previous day, we maybe try a shorter session instead or just go for a walk together which often makes us feel better.  Learning to tell the difference is the tricky bit, but we think we're getting the hang of it.

So our keeping fit resolution for 2015:
Keep fit by doing the physical activities you enjoy the most, then it won't feel like exercise! Overall we think that moving into our motorhome has had a huge positive effect on our health and fitness. We sleep better, spend more active time outdoors and feel much more connected to nature and each other.  We've always been active and exercised regularly but certainly these past months we have found that we haven't felt the pressure or requirement to "force" ourselves to exercise because we've been so physically active doing things in the outdoors that we love to do.  Add in the variety of a few "active extras" on route and we haven't felt so fit for a long time.

Esther exercising by the motorhome, inspired by the scenery and sunshine!

A treat! One of the rare campsite gyms.

The wonderful pool in Zinal - where we enjoyed 2 weeks of swimming!

But still Dan's favourite ... a simple jog!



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Adventures In Life, Love, Health & Travel: Keeping Fit on our Motorhome Adventure
Keeping Fit on our Motorhome Adventure
Adventures In Life, Love, Health & Travel
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