Exercise when on road

Submitted: Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:15
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Anybody care to share thoughts and insights into how we keep weight off whilst travelling.

I spent an excellent day on the dunes at Stockton over the weekend though after 10 hours in the seat I felt worse for wear, and was concerned that the mandatory beers of an evening in conjunction with hours driving might not be a health conducive lifestyle.

Was wondering how folks more experienced at travelling as a lifestyle kept themselves fit whilst away?

Any insight most welcome!
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Reply By: Member - Lenn - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:39

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:39
I dare say they do a fair amount of walking.
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Reply By: Bigfish - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:41

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:41
Easy. When you get to your destination..pick a point 500 meters away and walk to it. Just so you can look back at your camp site and get the blood circulating again. Walking is a great way of exercising.
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Reply By: Notso - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:44

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:44
Well, the good news is that you use about half as many calories per hour driving as you do walking. If you are driving 10 hours per day you'd be way ahead as few of us would walk anything like that!

"Bicycling 10 miles in an hour burns 484 calories, according to the chart. Walking three miles in an hour burns 353 calories. And driving 30 miles in an hour burns — wait for it — 170 calories!"

But back to reality! I always find that when we are travelling longer term we lose weight. I think it's because we eat simpler more natural tucker and we are always active, walking around, setting up the camp site and that sort of thing.
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:49

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:49
When we stop for our breaks, including lunch, we do not sit down but walk around checking the vehicle etc. We make our own lunch and don't eat fast food while traveling. We have found we generally lose weight when on extended trips.
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 14:36

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 14:36
I do agree with your statement of actually loosing weight when on an extended trip. I find the same. Usually it is a 5:30 am start followed by breakfast and then the pack up of the campertrailer. Of course the day may involve a drive but the upside of this is that your lunch is usually a lighter affair than you have at home. Like you Rod we never have fast food. The journey may also involve stops where walking is involved and of course by the end of the day you are not feeling like spending a great deal of time preparing a massive meal. Overall I think the hustle and bustle of all that is involved in travelling results in less snacking because you are always doing different things. Obviously spending a few weeks in a CV park may not be quite as conducive to weight loss as constant touring.
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Reply By: Slow one - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 15:07

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 15:07
Mate, we walk a lot starting with a 40 min to hour walk in the morning. Instead of grabbing the keys, we also walk to many destinations and into town. Wlaking

Another thing that is easy to do is improvise and use what is around to to help keep kit, little things like a log that you can step up and down on or a cheap resistance training rubber band that weighs little and costs about $15.

Another trap is to nibble on shacks when driving, this is a sure way to gain weight.

Now another sure fire way to lose weight is take up smoking. Ha. Ha.
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 15:08

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 15:08
Oh for an edit button as I don't know what Wlaking is.
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Follow Up By: brushmarx - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:00

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:00
If the wish fairies give you an edit button you could attack another small problem.
How many shacks constitute a nibble?
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 20:02

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 20:02
Yep.... and you could attack another small problem by giving answering the post.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:12

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:12
Despite the physical nature of running a farm, we are fitter and trimmer when touring due all the walking we do to see features. In National Parks we will take all the short walk trails, that is those that can easily be accomplished in a day, We do not do hikes that requires camping out overnight, not those that take all day and need someone to pick you up at the other end.


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Reply By: Member - tommo05 - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:31

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:31
Agree with most of the posts here, I always seem to lose weight when travelling. Just the fact that you have to walk to see the good sights, eating simpler food, and the effort of putting the camp up and taking it down, all seems to add up.

But if you must make an effort, then as suggested above make a conscious effort to do a bit of walking should do the trick.

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Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:36

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 17:36
A skipping rope is great when travelling. Faster to finish and even better for you than walking. Easy to take with you and cheap as well. Difficult in a plane aisle however.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 04:45

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 04:45
Yep, skipping is a very good form of exercise, but is a bit hard to do when your 60 plus and full of arthritis. :)

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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 08:10

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 08:10
Hi Blue M
Arthritis is a buggar. I have too many friends and rellies who suffer from it. I am well into my 70s and keep my fingers very firmly crossed hoping this is one problem I will avoid.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 18:11

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 18:11
Hi - I love your question. This is one of my favourite pet subjects, so you might be sorry you asked. You'd be surprised how many size 5XL shirts we sell through our shop and very few/nil size small so I'm pleased to know that someone out there is considering this issue. Can you believe that 2 in 3 Australian adults are obese?! Lifestyle choices, diet and exercise are the 3 keys.

The first lifestyle choice that ExplorOzers do right is to get outdoors - and to embrace nature. A positive outlook, a goal, a challenge - these all help to kick start our brain into a place of positive motivation. A positive outlook on life is always the best place to start a healthy lifestyle. But this is about where it ends for some. Unfortunately, most of the social norms that have developed over the past few decades are to blame for the increase in obesity levels in Australia. Our lifestyles revolve around processed foods and drinks and we spend too much time sitting and stressing about work, family, and other issues rather than being mindful and active.

Beginning with the social/lifestyle aspects of a camping holiday, as you say, the "mandatory" beers at the end of the day are something to watch out for. Yes drink - but why not switch your drink to something with less calories and carbs? Start by thinking of drink as hydration not a social opportunity or reward. A few slices of lemon in water works wonders. Here's a link with a few reasons why: - benefits of lemon water. Taking lemons on trips is easy - they last well without refrigeration. Now, despite all those benefits the best one is it will suppress your appetite. The problem with alcohol is of course it suppresses your willpower and instead of saying no to the offer of a bowl of chips, you'll munch them down telling yourself you deserve it after such a long hard day in the driver's seat. If you want to have a few drinks, try switching to red wine. If keeping to a max of 2 standard drinks, red wine is a better choice due to the presence of flavonoids and antioxidants. Another tip is if you're drinking something non-alcoholic put it in a wine glass - it tricks you into thinking you're drinking alcohol. Soda water is a good one for this.

On the subject of drinks, whether you are travelling or not, you are simply doing yourself no favours by drinking sugary soft drinks. No only that but they take up valuable packing space. Drink for hydration not energy or habit - stick with water. If you don't like water, get over it. Drink water. We always take sachets of miso soup which is another great alternative. Of course many people love tea/coffee but cut out the sugar if you're serious about keeping healthy and keeping the weight off. Every little bit adds up.

Snacks: never snack in the car. Just don't buy "car snacks". Make a habit to stop to eat and take a stretch/walk. Avoid the hidden sugars in processed snacks. Most people aren't aware that mixing up their own nut/seed mix is not only good for you but very satisfying. We prefer roasted, but unsalted nuts. Almonds, cashews, brasils, walnuts, with pepita seeds and sunflower seeds. Toss in a few cranberries, and some dried apricots if you need a little extra sweetness. Yoghurts - choose unflavoured, natural yoghurts. No need to choose diet, or low fat. Go full fat for flavour and you'll have no hidden sugars or extra additives. Can use to make salad dressings, or add to a dinner to make the sauce creamy. Or just apples, oranges, mandarins - all travel well.

Meals - try to avoid processed carbs (eg. breads, white rice etc) with every meal. And keep portion sizes reasonable. If sitting all day in a car, then eating toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and potato or rice for dinner is too much carbs and you won't burn it off during the day. Eat a smaller meal at night and a bigger meal in the morning to kick start your metabolism and give you energy to be more active during the day when the opportunity presents itself. Opt to switch out white rice, white flour and white sugar from your diet entirely - these are so refined there is little nutrition left and you're just eating empty calories. Replace with brown rice, wholemeal flour, raw sugar (or no sugar). Deserts - opt to eat fruit/nuts/yoghurt rather than packaged or sugar-ladden treats. Lunch - avoid tinned, processed deli meats. Try tin tuna. Make up in wraps (we use Misson brand of wraps these have longest use-by dates and stay soft and don't tear). Or try Cruskits or similar style of crackers. Or just cut up sticks of carrot and dip into hummus - make a platter with olives, gerkins, onions, pickles, chunks of cheese etc.

Exercise - get up every day and don't think of food first thing - do something active. Walk, run, explore, photography. Taking up photography is a great trick - its so absorbing that the time flies and keeps your mind active. Sunrise is the best time for photography and when travelling you are in the ideal location to capture very special scenes that you'll treasure forever. Moving early in the day is a great metabolism booster, and gets the blood flow through your legs that will be sitting all day.

Breakfast - start the day with oats - great fibre to get your system moving, get to keep you feeling full until lunch (unless you are very active and need a snack before). Try natural muesli eg. Morning Sun, Lowman brands.

Plan to walk when you travel. Have the right shoes on in the car - so you can be spontaneous. Always have your water bottle full and ready, have a small backpack ready to grab with simple necessities. Make it easy to be active. Change your mindset to think of climbing a mountain/summit as the way to see something special - for the view, to get the best photo, to show everyone back home. Go looking for bird's nest, follow animal tracks, etc. Become an adventurer and use the trip to reach places where your journey on foot begins. Go for walks after dinner - take a handheld spotlight and go wildlife spotting.

But personally, we are triathletes so we always look for opportunities to run/ride/swim when we're away. Most of the time we just stick to running as its the easiest to do daily and trail running is a great way to really explore and appreciate an area. Everyone's level of physical ability is of course different but active lifestyles are just a mindset. Everyone can do something but keeping the weight off is not just about exercise. It's the whole thing.
Hope this helps and I haven't bored you all with my lecture.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 20:13

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 20:13
Great advice Michelle. Seriously.
"Red wine" you say.......... O.K. Right, I'll try! lol

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Follow Up By: Life Member - Terry 80FTE - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 22:30

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 22:30
Fantastic Michelle, love the commitment.
Time for a green smoothie :)
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 01:36

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 01:36
Hi Michelle.

We do need to be technically accurate on such a sensitive subject.

Re - "Can you believe that 2 in 3 Australian adults are obese?!" - 2/3 of we Ozzies are overweight OR obese. 'Obese' is a loaded term, and only a (admittedly sizeable - no pun intended :-)) minority are so afflicted.

The obese end of the spectrum is the outlier, not the mean.

Source: http://www.aihw.gov.au/who-is-overweight/#adults


JB ( BMI happily 23.5).
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 08:09

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 08:09
Whilst this is probably not the thread to discuss BMI measurements, I think it is fair to point out that whilst it might be a simple and easy measurement it does little to tell us the real picture of body composition.

We live in a world that is obsessed with body weight, hence the rise, and rise, of diet after diet.

If you’re skinny your healthy, right?

…Not necessarily so!

Our focus should not be on weight primarily, but on body composition – how much body fat are we carrying as that is the real killer as it secretes itself around our vital organs.

And this is where the BMI measurement fails us and has given rise to the term “skinny fat”. There are many people that easily fit into the BMI ranges, but when you look at body composition they’re fat levels are dangerously high.

So we can have someone who weighs in at 100kg and 178cm (me) that is “obese” on the BMI scale, but with body fat on the low end of the average male scale. This is a common outcome for those who lift weights and do resistance training leading to high level muscle development. On the flip side you can have someone weighing in at 55kg and fitting nicely into the BMI scaling, but with body fat “through the roof”.

I'll refrain from writing an essay on the benefits of resistance and weight training for all, but as we age and experience muscle atrophy it should be a key plank of any exercise regime...

What might make the BMI discussion more relevant presently is the talk by the government about the possibility of Medical Insurance companies charging additional premiums for overweight and obese people, or maybe not insuring them at all.

Now whilst this is only an idea being floated, you can rest assured BMI will be the most likely measurement stick that will be used in determining whether someone is “obese” - it will be flawed.

Food for thought… Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 12:26

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 12:26
Yes indeed, you are right John. Thanks for correcting my statement.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 13:26

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 13:26
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and I found this one which demonstrates one of the short-comings of using BMI measurements.

Both of these people would register the same result under a BMI assessment.

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 00:36

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 00:36
Hey Baz

That's a picture of me when I turned 40 and my broad mind and narrow waist swapped spots.

I agree with your BMI comments - I come up as obese.

6'5" and 115 kgs. Nearly 2' across the shoulders and have been that way since I was 18. Yep a bit flabby around the belly now but I don't have to lift my gut to wash my nether regions.

BMI - definitely not the most accurate measure.


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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 19:26

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 19:26
Most touched on the walking bit, certainly do a fair bit when touring at stops and sights, and like a bit of a bushwalk too.
Camp activity is sometimes pretty common, setting up, collecting firewood, digging toilet hole etc etc.

Besides that, I usually eat a whole lot healthier when on the road.
Good wholesome ingredients, avoid snacks apart from apples and bananas etc, and TRY and keep it to say 3 to 4 stubbys a night.

Good topic all right, haven't really thought about it.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 07:45

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 07:45
I doubt that a day trip to Stockton is particularly typical of a day spent while you are travelling. Certainly you will spend some long days just driving, but you will also hopefully be spending time out of the vehicle where you are walking and moving about. We usually find that we lose weight on a trip and put it down to the extra exercise - simple things like making and breaking camp, collecting firewood, taking photos all make a difference - Michelle has covered it very comprehensively.

We view driving the vehicle as a means to and end, enjoyable yes, but there is more to a trip than just driving. There is so much to see and do, and getting out and using your legs to explore is what it is all about. Keep an eye on the food and drink that you consume is the other part of the equation as others have said.


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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 07:45

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 07:45
A good question to pose – fitness, exercise and nutrition are all key planks that help you “stay in the game” of life…

Like many I find I don’t tend to put weight on whilst travelling, and one of the key factors is just eating simple meals, much the same as I do generally. Meat and three vegs has worked for time immemorial – keep it simple I say. And whilst nothing wrong with having a beer or wine as you kick back and relax, do it in moderation if you want to avoid putting weight on…

Walking has featured heavily in the discussion and ultimately it is a simple, low impact way of getting “out and about” and doing some exercise at the same time.

I find taking a camera for a walk is a great way to keep fit on the road. I climb hills looking for photo opportunities, walk further in search of that special photo, but also find myself crouching and squatting to take photos of plants and the like. Squatting and crouching is a good exercise when on the road, take a camera and you might find you are doing it without even thinking about it…

Good luck out there, Baz – The Landy
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 09:16

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 09:16
Well said Michelle. I sincerely believe white wine (if not sweet!) can be OK too In moderation! We find when travelling we do well with diet and exercise. It is easy to keep moving and easy to just not buy rubbish so it is not there to eat. One trap that is everywhere now days is "chips with everything". If you rock into town looking for a break from cooking and go to support the local pub/club or café it is hard to buy anything at all without a mountain of horrible greasy frozen fried chips on the side. It can be quite difficult to persuade the staff to leave off the chips - after all these are the cheap and easy fillers that make your plate look full. If you really want to be considered crazy just try asking for no chips and extra salad or veggies! But it will do you good. It really is time to take control of our health and not be passive victims of the advertising and fast /processed food lobbies. Lynne
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Reply By: Gronk - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 09:36

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 09:36
Keep the food intake down and the fluids up ( beer )..

If you like a beer ( or 10 ) then the less excess food you have will help to keep the weight off.

Beer on it's own isn't all that fattening, it's the things you eat with it.

Have the campfire at least 20M from the camper....so you get exercise every time you get a beer !!

You're retired, you haven't got a whole life in front of you, so enjoy what's left..
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Follow Up By: Steve - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 20:17

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 20:17
A man after my own heart. All in jest but we don't indulge in convenience and take away foods at all, home or travelling and find no difference in weight gain/loss. One of the few tinned foods is tuna which we have for lunch on the road and find we eat pretty much the same on the road as at home. We don't "do" the coffee and cake thing but I must admit a weakness for a decent pie if I can spot one :-)

Just sensible food that you make from fresh ingredients is rarely any more time consuming than packaged food anyway.

Beer is full of carbos and wine a bit less but as long as moderate, there are worse things to consume. Variety of fresh stuff is the key - with a beer or 3 to help it down ;)
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 12:29

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 12:29
For anyone interested, I have written a series of articles on Diet & Nutrition you can read here - Diet & Nutrition Articles. They are a few years old now, and are written for the novice athlete but someone might find them useful. There is a good BMI calculator there too.
Michelle Martin
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 13:41

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 13:41
I realised I didn't focus much on the main question you have posed, which was "exercise". Whilst walking has been mentioned, kayaking is a great activity and its surprising how practical finding a spot to kayak is when travelling - much more so than using a boat with motor. I'm seen some amazing kayaks that convert to sailing boats, many you can fish from, and some people even dive off their kayaks. Ours are race kayaks and are very long and designed for speed so they are a bit bulky but they are fantastic for a long paddle and can be used in open ocean water or rivers/lakes. Bikes are great if you have a van and can keep it clean and secure from theft. I also forgot to mention the really obvious stuff we do all the time - planks and yoga. Here's a quick link about planking that could be useful to you - 7 things that will happen when you start doing planks.
Michelle Martin
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 at 06:39

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 at 06:39
We walk briskly most days for at between 1 to 2 hours and when traveling I try to choose places to stay such as National parks where there are marked trails, and love to tackle the mountains. However if its just somewhere out by ourselves, (frequently for just overnight) we still try to get out and walk/climb or explore around a bit too. And if we are forced to stay in a roadside camp then we choose to park as far as possible from the toilet so its a long walk each way to get to. In caravan parks we walk anywhere possible, exploring local roads or tracks...
We are also keen fisher-people so walk along banks of creeks, beaches etc to reach the special or accessible spots.And if the fish are biting well, as they did almost every day in our Pilbara camp this year where we stayed for a month, then I got a good upper body workout fighting just to get them into the boat!
We usually find somewhere to stay by mid afternoon, if not before, so have plenty of time to get out and move a bit after sitting in the car.

I am very careful about our food choices too and add no refined sugar and only minimal sweetener of any kind to our meals, try to cook using only whole ingredients and very few processed products. We rarely eat out and I never eat fast foods although my other half does enjoy a pie every now and then. I choose local and organic where possible, lots of green and other vegetables, good quality (grass fed) meat and poultry, good fats from avocadoes and nuts and seeds.

And I don't drink alcohol (gave it up about 9 years ago when I realised it was becoming a problem for me) so at happy hour I am likely to be drinking a decaf Nespresso coffee or herbal tea or two, although John enjoys a few beers.


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