In New Zealand, we are truly blessed with some of the most amazing scenery and locations for self-contained motorhome camping in the world. You can park up in all sorts of glorious locations and take in the view from the comfort of your own home on wheels. One of the most important things to make sure you do while you are traveling though is to get out amongst it and stay fit while on the road.
Even if you have a gym membership that allows you to visit the franchise all around the country's it's probably unlikely that attending an anytime fitness gym near to your DOC freedom camping spot is going to be an option. But don't fret there are so many better ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle regime whether you're on the road for the weekend or full time.
In fact, I speak to hundreds of our customers every year who are out there exploring and find themselves "fitter" on returning from travel than when they started... I certainly can't say that about my last holiday in Fiji!
While these ways to stay fit may seem pretty obvious there are some little gems of wisdom that are starting to make their way into mainstream that you might like to try as a way of "spicing" up your fitness while on the road
So what are some of the ways our customers get fit or stay fit while on the road:
1. Yoga/ stretching
Yoga is such a great, versatile, and take anywhere you go "fitness" regime. You can grab a travel mat or even just a standard yoga mat that rolls up to nearly nothing. It's great to do outside on a fine day whether on the beach, grass or just outside the camper. You could grab one of the many online yoga apps and follow a class or simply just breathe and move in a way that feels right.
It's also a good idea when you're doing longer times traveling and sitting in the cab that you take time to stop and stretch your legs and arms a little. Nothing wrong with a few roadside yoga moves!
If you're looking for a good, easy little yoga sequence you can remember try a few sun salutations- in yoga, it's considered a full-body workout and stretches all your key areas. Do 10 mins of sun salutations and you'll be feeling great!
2. The rise of the E bike
When I first started here it is safe to say that E-Bikes were not a big thing but 6 years on and we're hardly selling any motorhomes without the E-Bike conversation. Not only are they great for staying fit but perfect if you want to speed into town and pick up supplies, depending on where you are parked up of course, and how close town is!
There are hundreds of great bike tracks around NZ, whether you go bush or along the road and the electronic option means they provide that little bit of extra support and ease. But don't be fooled you still have to peddle your legs and encounter the "painful feeling" of tight muscles after a long ride.
Try playing around with how much you use the electronic part of your E-Bike maybe start the ride harder with less assistance and as you get tired you know you have that ability to ramp up the support.
If you are new to biking try ease into it on a trip, do a few shorter rides but be consistent and set it into your daily on-holiday routine.
Of course, the simple yet hugely effective routine of a daily walk shouldn't be dismissed. Walking is often seen as the most underrated form of exercise despite its many many benefits! The list of reasons to get out and walk are endless; not only can you enjoy being in nature and the mental health benefits to doing that but it also improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, and creates less stress on joints than other forms of more vigorous exercise.
Usually, anywhere you are parked up will have somewhere to walk around or to starting and ending at your camper. If you are keen to explore traveling around some amazing NZ hikes and walking tracks check out the DOC website for a filter list of walks. Click here .
You may also like to try walking along the beach or across the grass barefoot. There is a whole trend of scientifically backed information coming out now about the power of "Earthing" which is simply walking barefoot. The health benefits come from the body connecting with the earth's natural charge and the research is quite astounding over what health improvements have been found by completing this type of exercise. If you are interested check out some more information here.
Over the weekend I was away with my nieces and nephew and they all hit the beach barefoot for an early don't wake their parents up morning walk, so I followed suit and walked barefoot with them. It always surprises me how kids "know" best with some of this stuff. I will admit my feet were quite sore after following them up a hill, along the gravel, over the beach and shells, and up the road but there was something about it. My recommendation though is to stick to soft surfaces (beach, grass) while you build your feet back up to tolerating those more harsh surfaces.
Usually, when you are motorhoming you're never too far from a beach or a lake, especially in NZ and hitting the water for a swim is safe and great exercise. Even if you don't freestyle 500m just the act of taking a dip in the ocean has great health benefits. You don't need much just an ability to swim, or maybe a life-jacket/wet suit.
NZ water isn't always super warm so it might take a bit of convincing to get you in the water in the middle of June. Luckily cold water therapy is another in-vogue concept taking the world by storm. It isn't a new "fitness" regime in fact its been around for a couple of millennia. Supporters of the concept believe the technique of dipping into water that is around 15 degrees can improve sleep, spike energy levels, reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Check out more facts and information here.
Regardless any form of swimming is a great non-weight-bearing regime that could be added to your routine.
What about turning a hobby into a form of fitness by ditching the golf cart! I've recently taken up golf and am surprised at how easy it is to walk for 3 hours when you're playing golf!
For most people, it would be pretty cumbersome to think about starting off on a 3-hour walk but tell them to go play 18 holes of golf and it's no dramas!
For those who are beginners maybe start with 9 holes and just enjoy the ability to get out there, get some fitness and enjoy some lovely scenery.
Most golf courses allow motorhomers to stay overnight in the carparks which is great for early tee-off! Plus it can be very social.
Click here to speak to our sales team for help on which models will fit your bag of golf clubs.
6. Something a little more rigorous
If you are looking to build up some strength why not create a little workout that you can build up the reps with over time? Roll out your yoga mat and pick some of your favorite "exercises". Here is one that I do:
- Push-ups (start on your knees)
- Hip thrust
- Triceps dips (do them in the door of the motorhome with the step in)
Just do as smaller reps as you need to at the start and then build up reps each day/week. Maybe 5 then 8 then 10. Also make sure before you start anything that you get some good advice on form and practice a few of each exercise to ensure that you're doing them correctly. Quality over quantity. Make sure you stretch! Maybe join this in with your yoga routine!
Here are some others that might be good but these do look a little more challenging - click here.
7. Remember to eat healthy!
We're pretty lucky in NZ that there is a lot of great fresh fruit and vege stands selling local produce as you drive around. Stop and pick up healthy treats as you go and make sure that you don't load the motorhome up with too much chocolate and sweet treats try to replace those with vege sticks and hummus or the likes.
A fresh salad coupled with locally caught fish off the beach you're parked up at has to be better than takeaways! YUM! The hardest days to stay healthy are probably those travel days so try pre-packing some snacks and making lunch before you pack up and hit the road rather than stopping and buying something as you go.
I will say though everything in moderation there is nothing like a famous NZ pie stop!
We'd love to hear your tips on staying healthy on the road - feel free to let us know here.
There is nothing quite like a motorhome or caravan trip around NZ - good for the soul, good for the mind, body and spirit. With all that amazing NZ nature and fresh air you just can't help but commit to staying fit while traveling.