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Van Life Fitness: 11 Tips For Healthy Living In A Camper Van

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Trying to keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle while living in a camper van can be challenging. Since we’re always traveling from one new environment to another, keeping a strict workout routing is difficult.

After all, you may not always be conveniently parked next to a gym with weight training and cardio facilities. And going for a jog after a long day in a National Park doesn’t seem reasonable.

Therefore, while living the van life, you’ll need to come up with a more effective solution to stay fit and healthy.

So in this post, we share 10 tips that we use to help keep our bodies fit and healthy during van life. This includes advice for both physical activity and consumption.

So if you’re ready, let’s get to it!

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    Get A Gym Membership

    This is a common fitness solution for many in the van life community. For ~$25 a month, you can get a membership with one of several gym chains, like Planet Fitness and Fitness 24.

    Planet Fitness, for example, has hundreds (AND HUNDREDS) of gyms in the USA. So you can be sure that wherever your camper van takes you, there will be a Planet Fitness gym near you.

    A side benefit of these gym chains is that they come with hot water showers and complimentary WIFI.

    Keeping fit during van life has never been so easy & affordable.

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    Look For Community Centers & Recreational Facilities

    If you’re weary about paying for a monthly gym membership, you can always look out for community centers and recreational facilities when you arrive in a city or town.

    We’ve visited lots of great community centers in Wyoming, South Carolina, Kansas, and even in far out Nova Scotia, Canada!

    The benefit of these rec centers is that they also provide a much wider range of activities, such as swimming, basketball, badminton, and even pickleball!

    Download The “7 Minute Workout” App

    Not all workouts require heavy equipment and lots of space.

    That’s why we love the “7 Minute Workout” app because many of the recommended exercises and movements can be done even inside a camper van.

    Workouts include:

    • Push-ups
    • Sit-ups
    • Wall sits
    • Planks
    • And more…

    We’re sure you can find BOTH the space in your van AND 7 minutes of spare time to do a workout. It’s the best 7 minutes you can do to feel better about yourself!

    DIY Push-Up Challenge

    Push-ups are a FANTASTIC workout that exercises your upper body and core. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment.

    If you’re feeling sluggish and starting from ZERO, getting down on the floor and doing push-ups is a quick and easy way to start getting the blood and adrenaline flowing through your body.

    If you can only do 3 push-ups in one go, that’s totally fine! Try and do 3 reps every few hours.

    Try to do a little more the next day and even more the next day.

    You’d be surprised by just how quick you can add more and more reps. I remember I was.

    I’ve never regretted a single moment when I stopped what I was doing to do some push-ups. And usually I feel considerably better once I get back up.

    Aim For 10,000 steps a day

    It may seem silly at first but setting a daily step goal can help motivate you to get outside and move around. And walking is one of the easiest ways to activate your body, strengthen your legs and ankles, and keep you fit.

    You don’t even need to download an app to record your steps because your smartphone likely already monitors your step count.

    Some days if we find that we’ve only walked about 5,000-7,000 steps we’ll make a conscious decision to go out and a short 30 minute walk. Whether it’s just around the campsite or to a nearby grocery store, we try our best to get to our 10K daily goal.

    Learn To Enjoy Short Hikes

    Even if you don’t consider yourself a serious hiker, getting your mind and body used to going outside and into nature does wonders to boosting your overall fitness and psychology during van life.

    And you don’t have to drive all the way to National Parks and Forests to get a good walk in. There’s almost always a state, city, or town park close to you.

    We like to use the All Trails app to find local hikes and walks that are nearby us. Best of all, the app can tell you how long each hiking trail is and gives a difficulty rating.

    We’re not super hardcore hikers, so we’re always looking for simple trails that often take less than 90 minutes to complete!

    Learn To Cook Simple, But Healthy, Meals

    It’s no surprise that eating out isn’t great for your gut, or your wallet. So learning to cook healthy meals in your camper van can help you stay fit AND save money.

    But cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be complicated. You can learn to create simple dishes that don’t take a lot of time or use complicated ingredients.

    Easy Salad & Dressing Recipe

    We’ve learned to love a good simple salad. To keep things simple, we always use the same 4 ingredients:

    1. Kale
    2. Tomatoes
    3. Orange Bell Peppers
    4. Radishes
    5. Carrots

    We also always make the same DIY salad dressing with these 6 ingrediats

    1. Olive oil (3 parts)
    2. Red wine vinegar (1 part)
    3. Balsamic glaze
    4. Mustard
    5. Salt
    6. Pepper

    It takes a few tries to get the right proportions right to your taste. But once you do, making a good salad dressing takes less than 90 seconds.

    Get An Instant Pot

    This gets repeated a lot on various Vlogs and Blogs, but it’s incredibly true. Get an Instant Pot.

    Making healthy & hot meals was never so easy.

    Simply find your favorite Instant Pot recipe, chop the vegetables, add some meat, add some soup stock, press the ON button and voila!

    Walk, Don’t Drive, In The Cities

    Just because you have your own vehicle doesn’t mean you need to actually drive it!

    We’ve discovered that the best way to explore cities and other urban areas is to leave your van behind in a parking lot and explore the area on foot. Get a day pass for the bike-share program or take public transportation, if you need.

    Not only are you able to explore the city better by foot, but you’re also actively adding to your daily step count .

    Building a camper van? Download our free e-Books with intuitive electrical, solar, and plumbing diagrams.

    Drink More Water

    Did you know we should all be drinking roughly 12-16 cups (3-4 liters) of water per day?

    It’s easier said than done, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. It’s better for your body, improves your skin, and keeps you positive. We’re always reminding each other to drink more.

    That’s how hard it is.

    As much as possible, we try to never buy plastic water bottles. If you rely on them, you’ll end up going through a lot of plastic. Instead, we use the Travel Berkey water filter. It packs away into a small, portable pouch when we’re driving.

    But once we park to set up camp, it’s one of the first things we take out so we can start to filter clean drinking water right away. It filters city water, river water, and normal public bathroom sink water.

    It’s been an awesome van life essential for us.

    Get Good Quality Sleep

    Sleeping well is another important component to staying fit throughout van life.

    Before van life, we were just your average couple that often slept after midnight and would constantly top-up on caffeine just to make it through the next day.

    But since we started traveling in our van, we’ve become more serious about getting 8-hours of GOOD QUALITY sleep. To achieve this, we usually:

    • Aim to be in bed before 10pm
    • Refrain from any caffeine after 3pm
    • Cut down on alcohol intake
    • Practice bedtime yoga and/or stretching
    • Play our go to nighttime lo-fi playlist

    And because we go to bed early, we often get up early. And as a result we have more time in the morning for creating healthy routines, like cleaning our van and getting in a quick 7-minute workout.

    Got A Fluffy Friend? Bring Them With You!

    If you have a dog, or even a cat, at home, bring them along for your van life journey.

    Ever since we adopted Maya, our beloved van cat, we’ve noticed a sharp uptick in the amount of time we’ve spent outdoors. This includes both walking/hiking and simply standing outdoors soaking in the sun’s rays.

    If you’re asking us if we actually walk our cat, then yes! We do!

    We’ve learned to enjoy walking Maya (both on and off-leash) whenever we can find a short trail nearby that allows animals.

    Bonus: Pet’s are also fantastic conversation starters and help you befriend campsite neighbors.

    Conclusion

    The best way to stay fit while traveling in a camper van (or RV) is to enjoy the activity itself. And one of the beauties of van life is that you have access to a diverse range of indoor and outdoor activities to help keep your body fit and healthy. Going to a gym isn’t your only option.

    Whichever activity(ies) you do choose to keep fit though, it’s important to keep at it for at least a short while so that your body can develop a routine and get accustomed to it.

    If you have any questions or comments about you can keep fit and healthy during van life, be sure to comment in the section below. We try to answer everyone’s questions as quick as we receive them.

    Happy traveling!

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