Sunday, January 11, 2015

On the Road Exercise

With limited room onboard Thistle, the question has become, what exercise equipment can we carry with us that is light, takes up little space, yet serves our needs?  Aerobic conditioning, strength, flexibility, and balance training are the basic four, and as Ed's words, "old age is for training" ring in our ears, we design our plan.

First, is walking!  For Ed, to give him his 10,000 steps per day, as he's been doing for better than a decade now, walking is tops.  Plus, Benton needs his exercise, so Ed's walks are  double duty for  the dog too.

Ed & Benton

Walking is important, with a small "w", for me as well.  My steps must be limited as my fused ankle makes walking a problematic exercise.   A few years ago I was on a 5-mile a day routine until my knees began giving me problems.  In consulting my orthopedic surgeon I was told to bike, not walk,  if I didn't want knee and then hip replacements.   My pedometer was shelved and the bike was dusted off. 

Walking Shoes

Second, is biking.  Biking is an exercise that has been a part of our lives for several years now.  Our bicycle will definitely travel with us and is getting it's travel tuneup right now for our February departure.   Resolving our bike rack is still on our "to do" list.  

Our beloved tandem

Other questions have come up in regard to biking.  Do we carry our tandem only, singles for each of us, or all three?  For the time being it will be our tandem only, but our singles will be stored for changed minds on this issue.    

Weights were our first choice for strength building, but they turned out to be awkward, heavy and annoyingly in the way on our last trip.  In searching for another solution we came across the LifelineUSA  Jungle Gym XT Suspension Trainer.  This item is light weight and packs into a small, soft, flexible, easy to carry bag.  Carrying it on board, on the bike, or on our backs is easy and convenient.  We can quickly set it up on a tree or at any kid's playground, giving us the flexibility and portability necessary for our on-the-road exercise program.

Jungle Gym

Ed demonstrating Jungle Gym
No exercise program is complete, in our minds, without yoga.  Yoga is very portable and for maintaining a limber body critical.  It was added to our plan early on.  Two mats is all it takes, plus a book for reminding us of the proper postures and positions.  A Yoga book will now definitely be one of our Six Books.

Yoga mats in convenient travel bags

Ed demonstrating how portable the Jungle Gym
and Yoga mat are
(dog treat  pouch, an extra, yet much-desired item for Benton)

The fifth for-fun and for-exercise item we're considering adding to the mix is a boat.  Perhaps an inflatable kayak -- small, portable and easy to use.  Passing lakes, ponds and the like, without the ability to get on the water, could be torturous and floating on a sunny day is glorious.

Yes or No??

Weight, portability, size, and convenience drove our exercise program decisions.    We're well aware that much of the exercise equipment purchased simply collects dust.  Will ours?  The true test to how effective our exercise program is, is our resolve.

"Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other."

~ Joseph Addison


  1. I've been thinking about your blog all week and Ed's words, "Old age is for training."

    Thanks to Duncan I get some exercise every morning but it's not nearly enough. When I do the long version of my walk incorporating Al Anderson Road and Fairgrounds Road, it takes an hour and is still only about 4,000 steps -- about two miles. I really need to double it (or more), but I begrudge the time it takes away from other things, such as writing, which of course is a sedentary activity.

    But then I go back to Ed's words and realize that as one gets older, it's increasingly necessary to invest serious time in exercise and health. One of the women I often meet on my morning walks is nearly 80 and says she walks five miles a day religiously. But she's not religious about religion and will tell you that. :-) In addition to walking, she likes to stop and talk.

    One of my thoughts is to break my program into two segments a day. Again, this will take a bit of initiative I haven't shown up till this point.

    Anyway, I appreciated your blog because it conveyed some information about exercise without being preachy. I have a bicycle sitting in the shed. That's another exercise tool I need to look at. So far my knees have been able to handle walking, but they might appreciate a change of pace.

    Thanks for your blog!


  2. Thank you Dan, you made my day. I never know if I get the tone right and I definitely don't want to be preachy. In looking through other blogs on van travel, I found very little about what people's packing decisions were. Why were they doing what they were doing. What motivated them. That lack has been the reason behind many of my posts.

    Time is always an issue with exercise but I guess if we look at the time today vs the time we pick up by growing older and staying healthy, we win by spending the time today. Just one way to think about giving today more time. I, of course, need to remind you to "do as I say not as I do" as my mother reminded me hundreds of time. :-)

    Thanks again Dan. Keep writing!