Staying fit can be a challenge for us nomadic types, faced with small living spaces, a lack of equipment, and an ever-changing environment. It is hard to have any sort of fitness routine when there is essentially nothing routine about your day-to-day life.
Bikes just weren’t worth it
For our first couple years on the road, Cherie and I carried our bikes with us, with the intention of exploring by bike wherever we went. We both enjoyed biking, and figured that they would provide a great way to get some exercise on the road.
But we hardly ever used them.
It was such a hassle to take the bikes off the racks, especially knowing that they’d need to be hoisted back up again so soon. And inevitably whenever we did think to ride, the tires would be low, or the chains rusty, or the gears out of alignment. Bikes are just not meant to live full-time exposed to the elements on the back of a vehicle.
Or exposed to thieves. Our first set of bikes got stollen when some miscreants cut the security chain one night and made off with them right off the back of our Jeep. Our second set of (cheaper) bikes were protected with a heftier lock, until that lock rusted shut from constant exposure to the elements. We eventually abandoned our bikes at a friend’s place, awaiting a blowtorch to someday free them.
Bikes just weren’t working out for us.
Instead we did a lot of walking, some informal yoga and we occasionally contemplated how we might be able to incorporate a Wii Fit into our tiny home.
Then, with Cherie loving her Vibram FiveFingers Shoes – she got inspired in March to get back into running with the Couch-to-5k interval training program she had been hearing about, but doing it barefoot style. She even found a great iPhone app that would make it easy to time the run/walk intervals without thinking about it.
Cherie used to love running when she was younger, but had given it up years ago due to an ankle injury. I on the other hand have always hated running – it just never seemed to work for me. Too boring, and too sweaty.
Cherie was inspired to get back into it, so I wished her well and watched as she rocked through the first week of the training program.
But, I was really craving some exercise. And I started to realize how nice it was that running didn’t require any special gear or fuss. So, I decided to give it a try.
I figured I would do the first week or two of the program, and then I would get bored, or my legs would hurt too much, or my feet would get sore. But to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it!
We’ve both kept up with the running in the months since, and have discovered that running is a great stress relief in addition to seeing our health improve overall. I’ve also been amazed to see just how much my endurance has increased.
Recently I’ve “graduated” from the Couch-to-5k program, and I’ve moved on from running intervals to jogging a full 5k non-stop every couple of days. Now I am working on increasing my speed, and maybe building up to even longer distances.
Cherie has been rocking the running too, though our natural paces are so different that this hasn’t been something we’ve been able to do entirely together. Still – it is great to pass each other on the trails, and I’ve made a point of always picking her wildflowers to bring back from my runs.
Both of us are feeling vastly more fit than we have in years.
Nomadic Fitness Solutions
We’ve especially grown to appreciate just how nomad friendly running is. You don’t need any gear, and you can do it just about anywhere. Heading out for a run has given us an incentive to explore the parks and campgrounds we have been staying in, surprisingly more so than having bikes along ever did. As a result, we’re seeking out and appreciating paying to stay at public campgrounds more so than before, just so that we have amazing trails to explore while running.
For us, running has proven to be a great fit for our nomadic lifestyle. But we are curious – what do other nomads do to stay fit? We’d love to hear what works for all of you.
Some apps we recommend for running with an iPhone: (iTunes Affiliate Links)
|RunKeeper – $9.99
RunkKeeper works great as an odometer, and is how we measure the distance and time of our runs. It also calculates your pace, and shows you where you’ve been on a map. The UI is quick and simple. There is also a free cut-down version.
|Couch to 5k – $2.99
This is the beautifully designed app that got us started, and it has just been updated to support iOS 4 multitasking so that it can run in the background while using another foreground app. I’ve started using the intervals in Couch-to-5k to work on building up my speed, using the alerts to indicate fast/slow, instead of run/walk. A totally fabulous program!
|Pandora Internet Radio – Free
I’ve always loved Pandora’s streaming music service, but until now you couldn’t listen to Pandora and do anything else at the same time on your iPhone. Now with iOS 4′s multi-tasking support, Pandora can provide a soundtrack for my run while both RunKeeper and Couch-to-5k are running. I love it!