It may seem difficult to stay fit aboard a small yacht during a long cruise. With a two month cruise of the Mediterranean Islands planned for this summer I have been on a fitness crusade. I shall share my thoughts and findings with you in this article.
The first tip is that you should start your cruise very fit and then aim to maintain that fitness within the confines of the boat. To get fit my routine has involved doing a fast walk up “Mediterranean Steps” on the Rock of Gibraltar every other morning. This gets my pulse rate up and my heart and lungs exercised at the same time as my muscles. On the alternate days I do a visit to the gym for 20 minutes for muscle development.
A fast walk up Gibraltar’s Mediterranean Steps involves an elevation gain of approximately 300 metres. At the top there are beautiful 360 degree views that help to provide the motivation needed to get going. At the ripe old age of 64 I manage that in 38 minutes (nearly an hour at the start of the regime). It then takes me 25 minutes to descend and cool off slowly. Fitness experts call this cardio exercise and you’ll know you are doing it right when you start to feel short of breath, warm and you feel your heart is working hard. Don’t overdo it in the early days as it is best to build up slowly, and it’s advisable to have a medical check up before start your campaign. On gym days I aim to do some weight lifting to improve my muscle tone. Initially you will be dismayed as fat turns to muscle and your weight actually increases! Don’t be alarmed this is normal and if you maintain a healthy eating style your metabolism will increase and then your fat will slowly melt away. When lifting weights, lift a little more each time. You want the gym session to be about muscle development and not about improving lung and heart function. If you are lifting too easily then you not doing it right.
Once cruising your options narrow a little but there is no reason why you cannot maintain and even improve your fitness. In areas where the sea is warm then swimming when in port or at anchor provide a great way to do cardio exercise. Forget using taxis in port use every opportunity to walk to do any re-provisioning. Make multiple visits to the supermarket instead of doing one massive shop and then taking that taxis back to the boat. Fitness is about working healthy exercise into your daily chores. Unless you are on a super yacht there will not be a gym or weights. However you still have your own body weight and your can do resistance exercise such as:
Alternatively get your self a “resistance band” – essentially an elasticated tube with handles that you can use for a myriad of different muscle toning exercises. It’s inexpensive and packs into nothing, which is ideal on a boat.
Finally Yoga and Pilates exercises are easy to do within the confines of a boat either on a floor, or for many actions on your bunk.
If you need to kick start your fitness campaign using some help then working with a personal trainer or going away of a long weekend boot camp (such as: https://www.premierbootcamp.com ) will provide the professional advice and motivation to get started. Good luck with your campaign I feel great now and ready for my cruise this summer.