|Class A||Fifth Wheel||Pop-Up Campers|
|Class B||Travel Trailer||Boat Trailer|
Good health is important to all RVers. But with age, many of us must adapt to chronic health issues such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure that can affect the quality of our lives and travel. In this first of four articles on how to minimize the impact of such conditions, we’ll look at how to stay healthy and improve physical function and quality of life.
Healthy eating and exercise are the cornerstones of maintaining optimum fitness. Long hours spent driving, or as a passenger, can lead to joint stiffness and pain. One of the advantages of RV living, however, is that we have choices. We can decide how far to travel each day and how active to be. Once we stop for the night, we can unwind slowly and take our time settling into a site.
We can avoid fast food and roadside restaurants where meals high in salt, sodium and fat jeopardize our control of diabetes and other conditions. Even in a compact RV kitchen it’s easy to steam vegetables, cook rice and serve lean meat. Snacks can mean raisins, fruit or "gorp" (the hiker’s mix of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate chips.)
Exercise raises energy, controls weight, helps maintain heart health, increases bone and muscle strength, improves sleep and combats fatigue and depression. An additional benefit is that activity slows the progression of disease.
Activities like dressing and cooking are not a substitute for real exercise. Strengthening exercises can be either isometric--tightening and relaxing muscles without moving the joints--or isotonic, involving the joints. Isotonic exercise includes walking, swimming and bicycling, as well as the range of motion found in Tai Chi and yoga. However, pulling into rest stops periodically to walk around for ten minutes is a good start. Jogging can also be beneficial and does not cause osteoporosis in folks with uninjured knees.
Did You Know . . .
It’s better to exercise consistently five minutes each day than to attempt a 20-minute workout that quickly gets lost in the shuffle. These exercises can be done in a small space:
- Stretch your arms to the sky, then crouch down and lower your head between your ankles for a few seconds.
- Draw circles on the floor with each leg a few times, like a ballet dancer.
- Lie on your back with your legs raised as high as possible for a few minutes. This helps circulation because it reverses blood flow.
--Diane Barnet is a registered nurse and avid RVer who has traveled in 48 states. She is currently a