James and I still hold full-time jobs. Since we only get so many days off a year, we like to pack as much as we can into every RV trip. Which means we end up having some long…VERY long…driving days.
Take our next trip, for example. We will be heading back east with stops in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Canada. That’s over 4600 miles and 71 hours round-trip, if we take the most direct route – which we won’t! It would be a dream to slowly wind our way up there like the full-timers do, making lots of stops to see roadside America along the way. But our vacation days are limited. We will be driving sometimes as much as 10 hours a day on this trip; ouch! Most of roadside America will go by in a blur.
Even though James and I have a lot of fun rolling along during our marathon drives, driving for long periods of time without taking breaks can wreak havoc on the body. I don’t know about you, but at the end of a long drive, I can feel totally sapped. It takes all my energy to open the door and assist James in doing the hookups. Okay, okay, in truth, I just stand there and watch James do the hookups. But even that feels like work!
It makes sense, when you think about it. There are actual physiological changes your body goes through on those long driving days; for both the driver and the passenger. For instance, your inactive lower body muscles send a signal to your brain to slow your metabolism. Your blood circulation slows as well, which leads to all sorts of ill-effects: foggy brain, raised blood sugar levels, fluid pooling in the lower legs, and inflammation, amongst many other joyful things. Google “sitting disease” and you can get all the gory details. So that post-drive sluggishness isn’t just me! It’s an actual “thing.”
To counterbalance it, James and I have a two hour rule. For every two hours we’ve been driving, we have to stop the RV and be active for 15 minutes. Since we have a smaller RV, stopping frequently is no problem. It’s one of the great things about staying compact; there is no park, pullout, or roadside attraction we can’t stop at. Any of the RVs in the Leisure Travel Vans lineup will get you this same flexibility. I imagine it’s a little more challenging when you’ve got a 60 foot rig towing a Suburban and a boat behind! You can see an example of our rest stop recharges in the video at the top. Not only is it more healthy for our bodies, it also really does help us stay energized during long driving days.
Anyway, with our two hour recharge rule, the more we drive, the more we wind up exercising. On an 8 hour driving day, we will actually have to exercise 4 times: that’s 60 minutes…nice! During some of those stops, we will simply walk or jog the entire 15 minutes. But, that gets a little boring; plus it neglects our upper bodies. To keep things interesting, we like to come up with “rest stop recharge” workouts.
While all the hours behind the wheel will be hard on our upcoming trip, at least we will be racking up the exercise minutes along the way. And as a bonus, we get quite a few funny looks from our fellow rest stop visitors!