Healthy RV-cations: Are they really possible?
Well, to keep things short - the answer's yes!
However, what's so critically important for all RVers to keep in mind when it comes to health and fitness in relation to vacationing is the actual nature of "our type" of vacation. Yes, many RV enthusiasts take week long to multiple week long vacations - sometimes, RV bloggers even travel the country for months at a time to document their experiences. Yet, the amazing thing about having an RV is gaining the ability to go on multiple short "vacation bursts" - weekend getaways or trips only a few days long in length, allowing us to escape from our busy everyday lives for at least a short period of time.
These short types of vacations certainly have their advantages - when you take a long trip, for example, you're obviously more likely to spend loads more money on food, souvenirs, adventures, tours, etc. However, when you only have a limited amount of time to explore a very specific area (or even just relax in a remote location of your choice), you're forced to take the time you have and dedicate it to just that - being in the place you are for the time you have.
What do we mean by this in relation to health, though?
It's easy to immediately assume that smaller vacations produce lesser opportunities to gain weight, or shorter periods of time to "relax and not workout." After all, we're removed from typical responsibility and everyday routines for smaller periods of time, so our indulgences shouldn't really have that significant of an impact..... right? No. Well, sort of. Here's the deal with RV vacations - which do tend to be smaller in length this time of year, compared to those we tend to take in the summer (when the weather is much milder and enjoyable in more places across the country). Recreational Vehicles are an impressive investment financially - people don't buy one and plan on only using it once or twice. They want to use it to go on trips with the people their care about, for any vacation they can - small or large, far away or nearby their homes.
But the thing about RVers? RVers are adventurers. RVers are fun-loving. And RVers honestly so often just want a chance to slow down, breathe, and enjoy the time they have to travel with their family whenever they possibly can.
While non-RVers might go on 1-3 long-winded vacations a year, it's pretty clear that most RVers are known to go on nearly countless trips a year in their vehicle. They use them for these types of vacations, and then they use them to attend the alumni tailgates at their Alma Mater's football tailgates. They use them to visit county fairs, trade shows, community meet-ups, and so much more.
As RVers, the fact of the matter is that we actually allow ourselves to vacation more than many non-RVers do. As much as we'd love to say that this means we save the thousands of extra calories that week-long vacations can pack onto our bodies, it's not necessarily true. Let's be honest with ourselves here - so many of us love the outdoors, adventure, and being active. But that doesn't mean we want to get up at 6am and train for a 5k along the creek or mountainside on our vacation days. It also doesn't mean we don't eat out a ton, or that we don't visit new bars and restaurants and try new recipes that are - well - definitely American, but perhaps not as figure-friendly as we'd like this time of year (also, let's face it...most RV's don't allow for significantly 'gourmet' levels of cooking).
This time of year is the time we pay much more attention to things we want to change in our lives: our bodies, our thoughts, the way we respond to things that happen around us, and so much more. So, it's critical for us to realize two things. Firstly, vacations shouldn't be a time that you either do or don't plan and eat healthy meals, or when you can or can't proactively exercise and workout. The fact of the matter is, you can and will do both - depending on what vacation you're on, what time of year it is, and a number of other variables. So don't hate yourself for eating that barbecue sandwich and bag of potato chips, and don't argue with your spouse over whether or not to cook asparagus tomorrow night when you're only away for a night. Over-thinking 'healthy' on vacation is a concept so many of us still have to master - both RVers and non-RVers.
Secondly, think about it this way: It's only hard if you tell yourself it's hard.
This year, try to take some time to think about small changes you can make to edit the way you experience your trips together. Rather than saying you're going to get up and run a mile every morning, plan adventures with your family that promote fitness more than other activities you might choose. Go to that cookout, but beforehand, hike up that mountain you've been wanting to peak since you found your favorite hookup spot. Watch a movie on the big blow-up screen with the other RVers, but play a game of water polo or basketball at the nearby court first.
Before we start telling ourselves we need to change dramatically, it's crucial that we realize the actual essence of our culture as 'RV people.' As we said before, we're the adventurers. We're the people who value family, who know the importance of escaping 'real life' every now and then, and we're the people who believe in enjoying every moment with fulfilling experiences that only come from travel, the outdoors, and a breath of fresh air away from home - whether that be 5 miles or 500 miles away.
We're already living a lifestyle that's healthy for our minds. It might be hard for your family to eat healthy while on your RV trips, but just remember....everyone feels like it's hard sometimes, whether they're on vacation or not. So take the little steps. View it as an enjoyable process that'll only make your trips more fun and exciting - not something that will put an exhausting damper on your experience.
This information is for educational purposes. VIARV shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.