RV Travels: How To Stay Healthy On The Road
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no secret amongst experienced RV travelers: self-reliance
saves money. The more independent you are of tourist parks,
power hook-ups and all those other so-called necessities,
the further your budget will stretch. And the greater will
be your freedom.
In fact serious RV nomads find real challenge in living comfortably
on remote campsites, and in replenishing resources along the
way. But no matter how successful we may be in this quest,
there's one universal factor that can destroy our plans and
negate all our skills in one cruel blow: Poor health. In just
a day or two, years of experience could be all but wiped out.
There seems little doubt that, to be truly independent, good
health must be our first priority. Without it, all else is
OK. So what's the good news?
Well, the best thing about health is that it's pretty much
a do-it-yourself program. You have, within yourself, considerable
power to make a significant impact. Believe it or not, for
the majority of us, that means we require little or no help
from the medical and pharmaceutical fraternities!
Of course, any comprehensive D.I.Y. health program comprises
a range of inter-dependent activities, but while on the road
there are three key elements that RV travelers ought to consider:
1. Protection (against physical and biological threat)
Even the healthiest people in the world have a fundamental
need to protect themselves. After all, countless simple hazards
have the potential to put us "out of action", and mobile,
outdoor lifestyles certainly present those sorts of threats.
For example, motoring hazards confront us in several forms.
There's the ever-present risk of mechanical failure -- such
as brakes or steering -- that could result in personal injury.
Even seemingly minor problems like a leaking exhaust system
can become a major threat under certain circumstances.
The solution rests largely in keeping vehicle, caravan, motorhome
or whatever in the best condition possible. Regular servicing,
along with daily inspections, almost guarantee that mechanical
problems won't arise unexpectedly.
Driving conditions are another risk. Heavy traffic, narrow
mountain roads, and high wind present a range of tricky situations.
Again, the risk can be minimized simply by taking extra care.
Slow down, fasten your seat belt, and stay alert and you can
feel assured that, apart from an occasional adrenalin surge,
everything will be all right.
The other area where we may need protection is in countering
a variety of potential biological attacks. Impure water, for
instance, can very quickly ruin your day -- perhaps a whole
week! When in doubt, boil drinking and cooking water vigorously
for at least three minutes.
Contaminated or spoiled foods may have a similar effect, so
strict hygiene and careful refrigeration are even more critical
than back home in suburbia. You also need to be extremely
thorough when disposing of kitchen and toilet waste. Here
in Australia, our reputation for hordes of over-friendly flies
is indicative of a more serious potential threat to our health.
Other insects, too, can be a problem. Mosquitoes, spiders,
wasps, ants and scorpions are just a few of the common nasties
across the country, so travelers should prepare accordingly
with screening, repellents and appropriate clothing.
In essence, protection boils down to this: BE CAREFUL. Don't
take risks, and apply a generous dollop of common sense.
Even when traveling, it's a good idea to maintain a reasonable
exercise program. But there is a catch: To avoid costly courts
or gyms, or the added weight of exercise equipment, the range
of suitable activities while living on the road is severely
Fortunately, the best exercise of all is walking. It's free,
requires only sturdy, comfortable footwear, and can be enjoyed
Even so, the real benefits of walking are its gradual, but
certain and significant effects on your health. It helps lower
blood pressure, reduces body weight, and develops efficient
heart and lung functions. All of which are free!
Not only that, you can build a walking program slowly over
several months from, say, a 15 minute stroll to a 45 minute
vigorous walk. Do that four or five times each week and you'll
soon be getting about all the exercise you need. Before long,
you'll feel great, look good and sleep better. And you'll
have fun doing it.
For optimum health on the road we need to take a holistic
view of diet. By my definition, then, diet is the sum total
of everything taken into the body -- usually via the mouth.
The greatest favour we can do for ourselves is to take control
over this daily process. Even years of abuse can be reversed
if you make a firm commitment to improve your selection and
quantity of foods, drink and other substances.
Worst intake of all is cigarette smoke. Maybe it's not always
possible to avoid other people's expired smoke, but if it's
you doing the smoking, you certainly can take charge. For
your health, your finances, and your traveling independence,
if you smoke, make a determined effort to stop.
Another common substance is alcohol. Although it's not up
in the same danger zone as nicotine, your body benefits enormously
if you limit the intake of alcoholic drinks.
But don't get me wrong here. A glass or two of beer or wine
are very enjoyable, and in limited quantity alcohol is now
believed to be beneficial in helping us to relax. It's those
long, hard drinking sessions, repeated frequently over many
years that eventually take their toll.
So it's wise to try to limit alcohol intake by, firstly, substituting
a glass of water for every second or third alcoholic drink,
and secondly, making a few days each week completely alcohol
free. Your body soon rids itself of toxin build up, allowing
vital organs to resume their job.
With regard to food intake, as far as possible build your
meals around fresh fruit and vegetables. When these aren't
available, canned or dried substitutes provide equivalent
nutrition. Other high value foods include breads -- particularly
wholegrain -- cereals, pasta and rice.
At the same time, try to limit your consumption of salt, sugar,
oils and fats, desserts and sweets, cakes, butter, fast foods,
and full-fat dairy products. Even eggs and fatty meats should
be eaten in moderation. Not only does health improve, you
also stand to save a bundle.
Finally, if you're more than 10 percent overweight, gradually
cut back on the groceries.
Sounds easy doesn't it? But you know as well as I do that
nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Initially, like any change
in lifestyle, effort and discipline are necessary.
Nevertheless, the really good news is, the increased freedom
and independence will definitely make it all worthwhile.
About the Author:
Bill Revill is an Australian freelance
writer, fulltime RV traveler, and remote lifestyle expert.
For further information go to: http://www.livingontheroad.com
Copyright 2007 by W.V. Revill
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