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Old 08-25-2012, 09:11 PM   #1
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Staying in shape

Greetings all,

How do you stay fit while cruising? Seems to me sitting at the helm for hours at the time may be detrimental to cardiovascular well being. I am 61 and will be retiring in a few years and want to cruise. But I need my 3 mile run every day or I get cranky. I have thought about resistance bands and such but I am not sure that would be enough.

What is the cruising reality? Do you find it a sedentary life style or are you constantly active taking care of the boat, provisioning, exploring, etc.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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I typically stand 75% of the time, with Otto at the helm and me on the lookout moving about the pilothouse, although here my Dad is at the helm.



Messing with the sails and washing the Coot accounts for the rest of the exercise on board.

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Old 08-25-2012, 10:43 PM   #3
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Check out the TRX system used by Zero to Cruising. They have a blog. It seems to keep them really fit. www.zerotocruising.com
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #4
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Whattayamean? Round is a shape!

Seriously, depending on your cruising style, marina vs. anchorage, it can be easy to find areas to get a 3-mile run/walk in a different place ever day! If you anchor out, a dinghy will allow you to get to shore for that run. If you're in a marina, the locals can telll you where to go for a run.

Maybe having a street smart GPS can help in locating suitable areas for exercise. I'm not a runner, but perhaps there's a website that provides traveling runners with this info.

Or if you really want to think outside the box, hook a treadmill to a generator and run in place on your boat while generating an charge for your battery bank! You'll be healthier and greener and your battery bank will be happier! It's a win-win-win! And if you can rent treadmill time to fellow boaters seeking exercise, you're money ahead!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:28 AM   #5
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Get a dog. They're a great excuse to get to shore. With the exception of passages, we're ashore twice per day.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:16 AM   #6
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Round is a shape!


How about jumping off the boat for a swim? Some folks consider swimming to be better than running because there's less stress on the knees and feet. The equipment is cheaper also.

When we stay at a marina or dock, we usually do a lot of exploring in the town. That's walking, but pretty much anywhere on land would be suitable for running as well.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pluto View Post
Greetings all,

How do you stay fit while cruising? Seems to me sitting at the helm for hours at the time may be detrimental to cardiovascular well being. I am 61 and will be retiring in a few years and want to cruise. But I need my 3 mile run every day or I get cranky. I have thought about resistance bands and such but I am not sure that would be enough.

What is the cruising reality? Do you find it a sedentary life style or are you constantly active taking care of the boat, provisioning, exploring, etc.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Fom my experience..true cruisers stay in pretty good shape and are considered living a healthy lifestyle because of the exploring, walking/biking to provision etc....

Dock condo'ing no...cruising yes. Not to say people who live aboard don't stay in shape...but it's more of a mentality of sitting and cocktails than activity for far too many....

The sitting for hours is a concern and that's why I like my autopilot on those runs (even in fairly tight waters because it allows me to get up and walk around quite a bit.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:32 AM   #8
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If you run 3 miles a day, that will be hard to duplicate when out at sea during a passage which is what I think you are asking. I would just do sit-ups, push-ups and some yoga. Additionally, I would consume 400 to 500 less calories a day, which is what you burn running 3 miles. This is all easier said than done, but if you do nothing, You will have to do a lot of catching-up when you get back to land.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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I seem to always lose 5 lbs over a weekend of cruising. I eat a lot healthier when out on the water. I also am constantly doing something, never just laying around. For me, boating is a healthy lifestyle in itself.

With that said, in the Puget Sound, we have many islands that have trails for some great hiking. It's not hard to find a spot to have a morning hike through an island forest or a quiet jog through a small town.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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My wife does yoga in the mornings. I contort myself to fit into impossible places in the engine room. I firmly believe my workout is more difficult!

This is actually a good topic of discussion. As I recall the AGLCA did a member health survey last year but can't recall if I ever saw the results.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:49 PM   #11
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I do 12 oz. curls.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:07 PM   #12
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Welcome dear Pluto

What's your problem with exercising? Guess what? There is more exercise in a boat than your mind can think of. Follow me!

You'll be motoring on a very short percentage of the time while cruising. Let's say 15% of the time the most. The sea not always will be flat so, you will need to exercise your legs to maintain balance while walking around the boat in motion…
It is not a cardio vascular exercise but it will wear you down.

You can also use the TRX system that was mentioned above. Additionally, if you really cannot live without exercising, buy yourself a rubber suit and swim. I was going to recommend a walking machine up on the fly bridge but I don’t know if you will have one.

More ideas? Do not put an engine in your rubber dinghy. Row! Brush your decks more often. They will be beautiful and you can exercise a lot more than you think. Just ask to those guys cleaning offices/buildings during the night while other people is away!

Whatever you do, be happy!

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Old 08-27-2012, 06:23 AM   #13
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The Canadian Air Force used to have a booklet on isometric exercises.

One muscle against the other.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:58 AM   #14
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I'm also looking for exercise tips. Isometrics looks like a good bet. Not a lot of movement so it would work well in limited spaces. Combine with some pushups and walking for aerobics.

Now if I would only take my own advice...
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:48 AM   #15
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:55 AM   #16
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Isometrics made me think of something from younger days specifically my room mate for Army Reserve summer training at 4th Corps Headquarters in Birmingham. Stan Hindman was an all American guard for Old Miss at the time. He went on as a first round draft pick for the San Francisco 49ers. He was very successful there. He was smart, and became an architect out in California.

Stan did his isometric exercises every morning. The army put us up in a nearby Travelodge. The walls were masonry with steel door frames. Pressing against the door frame he cracked the masonry wall. Oh yeah, he was fast, too. See the video.

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Old 08-27-2012, 09:05 AM   #17
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You could get a kayak or rowing dinghy and explore your anchorages more intimately. I have seen quite a few kayaks down here that are designed specifically for fishing if that is your bent. While you can certainly row your typical dinghy, they have an inherent ability to suddenly cause the wind or tide to turn against you when you are furthest from your boat and they truly SUCK when rowing against wind/current compared to a more slenderly shaped rig.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:56 AM   #18
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Just standing on a boat will keep you in shape.

Many times people new to boating don't realize the muscles you use maintaining balance. Not cardiovascular but good never the less
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:23 AM   #19
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When cruising, we use the DVDs from the "Biggest Loser" about 3X per week. Yesterday after the "BL" DVD workout, I laid out the anchor chain, remarked it and cleaned out the anchor locker. Then I washed the boat - whew!
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:00 PM   #20
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My wife and I are pretty serious about keeping fit onboard. It's a particularly favorite topic of mine. While it's tougher to do normal exercising, just being on the boat helps because the general activity raises your metabolism.

That said, I think there are 3 aspects to staying healthy onboard - and we're still experimenting to find the right mix ourselves after trying a variety of things over the years:

1. Good nutrition. We eat really good stuff 85% of the time. It has taken 10 years to work this part of it out. I never would have imagined doing as much cooking as we do today but it's really pretty fun. It's the only way to eat in a healthy way too. You've just got to understand where carbohydrates, proteins, and fats fit.

2. Weight/resistance training. TRX is a tool here although I don't personally like it. You have to have a good place to connect the bands and the whole concept is difficult to use inside a boat. For 4 years we did bodyweight exercises. I don't think they're good enough. We switched a couple of years ago to using dumbbells 3 times per week. There are some great dumbbell sets for onboard use - my wife uses a PowerBlock Sport 2.4 set and I have a PowerBlock Sport 5.0 set. We build our own training plans, log everything, and the results have been great. If weights are new to you, concentrate on exceptionally good form and get some help in the beginning.

3. Cardio training. You've got to find something that raises your heartrate and makes you sweat a few times each week. The more the better for this in my opinion. I've been experimenting with different onboard things for a few years and think I finally hit on something that works for me - jumping rope. It takes some practice and is a wonderful exercise - easier than running and much more effective in many ways. I was previously a marathon runner and triathlete in my younger days. Obviously using a jump rope is an outside activity. But this past summer I got multiple sets of cordless jump ropes - they're electronic - cost about $16 on Amazon. With no cord connecting the sides, you can do a full workout anywhere - I've done it in the pilothouse, salon, and cockpit. It's about 85% of the effort of a real jump rope. Having an iPod is a great way to put in the time with this. I aim to jump rope for real or cordless 25 minutes per day, every day. I usually hit 5-6 times per week.

My wife just started doing Zumba onboard for cardio. We recorded the DVD's on an iPad so it can be used at anchor pretty easily. I've done it a few times with her and it's a pretty good workout too.

The key is consistency and finding something you honestly enjoy doing.
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