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Not to sound condescending but what holds people back from exercising isn’t typically a lack of knowledge. Rather it’s much more often the lack of “get up and go” to Just Do It™ (didn’t want to forget the Nike® trademark there). We have read countless people on internet forums relaying their belief that cruising is an inherently healthy lifestyle and in many, many ways I am sure this is true. The implication of this belief though is that exercise is then not necessary. I’m sorry to say that sitting on a boat for hours on end, regardless of how many lines you pull or running around you do, is NOT a good exercise regime.

Yesterday Rebecca and I returned from Waupoos which was a 7 hour sail for us. We were sailing pretty fast (top speed 9 knots) with the wind on our stern and we had to do countless gybes to navigate the channel. It would have been easy to count all that activity as exercise but we decided that we had better do something more to earn that cold afternoon beer that was waiting for us. And all it took was an impromptu cockpit workout with some simple calisthenics while we were sailing.

Interested in doing something similar? Pick a few exercises that work with your available space. Tricep dips, pushups and knee tucks (pics below) were the first three exercises that came to our minds yesterday. Try something similar with 3-5 sets of however many reps you need to make you tired. Like I said, it’s not rocket science and you’ll enjoy the beer more when you’re done. We did!

In case you’re wondering, yes, we do take photos of just about everything. I like to pretend we’re on a reality TV show. 🙂


  1. You two should make a cruising exercise video or write a book. Or get in touch with the Annapolis Sailboat show and see if they will allow you to do a seminar while you are in town (if you plan your stop for showtime that is).
    So true about motivation! But also the exercise we got suring cruising was not suring the sailing part (which makes up a small percentage of your cruising time). It’s more the fact that life without a car = exercise. To do anything, you are burning some calories whether it’s laundry (imagine walking a mile or more with you clothes), groceries, even fixing things on the boat (again, every time you realize you don’t have that one thing… a long walk to get it).
    Anyhow, your creativity and motivation in exercise IS inspiring. I think what would stop me from doing what you are doing is being embarrassed about people watching me while I did those things on deck/ in the cockpit. 🙂

    • Hi Cindy

      I completely understand what you are saying about being embarrassed. Virtually every one of our new students/clients felt the same way. We were constantly working to assure them that most people are so into themselves that they really wouldn’t be paying attention to them. And if you’re having fun and feeling good while exercising, what does it really matter anyway? Personally, I always feel great respect for people who are out there “doing it.” Our friends here at the marina, who are not (yet) super-duper athletes, just bought a TRX and have started using it on their boat, which to me is very cool!

      We will, I assume, be around for the boat show. Isn’t that what everyone does? As for a book and or video, who knows. We do have to find a way to eat after all. 🙂

  2. You’re right about adding extra exercise! I firmly believe it’s the “fountain of youth”, and strength training is an essential addition to the walking that you do as a cruiser. Great advice!

  3. Wow. I was just thinking yesterday that you guys should start a ‘cruising fitness’ type blog/book/video thing! It really could be your niche. I bet Fitness Anywhere would love it!

  4. I agree on the fitness book. Don’t just blog it – you won’t get a dime that way. Write an e-book. As it’s for cruisers, they can easily get it that way and it’s not another book to find room for. Passive income!!

    And I take photos of everything as well…. ever since I started to blog. I have several blogs with no photos of what I am talking about because I never thought to take a photo at the time – not something photo worth, or so I thought. Then I realized that I had nothing for a visual when I posted the blog and that it seemed way less interesting without a photo. So now, I actually pull out and use the camera that always has gone with me everywhere since they went digital.

  5. ACK! That should read ‘not something photo worthy’.

  6. I would also, recommend a pair of Kettlebells, , along with your TRX. I carry, a 20kg, kettlebell!

    • At our gym we used kettlebells quite a bit before we really got into the TRX. The problem with them for us is the weight. A similar idea might be these:

      • I can just see myself puting a kettlebell through a window.

        Now that summer it here and the Chesapeake Bay is ~85F, swimming laps around the boat and playing with the kids is more my speed. And it feels SO good on a hot afternoon. Unfortunately, the jellies will arrive in the next few weeks.

        BTW, any sort of tights will keep jellies and most other sea pests off. They can’t even sting through heavy skin, such as palms. Pack something for the tops and bottoms.

        And I’m packing to go rock climbing with Jessica, as I write… but the opportunities for that in the islands would require the heart of a real rockhound – hard to find, and technically absent (natural cliffs) in Florida.

        I never thought about climbing the mast for fun and exercise…. I bet that would get some looks.

        • I was meaning to ask you about the jelly fish. Someone told me that you can’t even swim in the Chesapeake in the summer months because of them!

          Speaking of climbing, we just watched the movie “180? South” last night. You might enjoy it.

          • The jellies arrive mid-Bay about July 4th each year.

            They do not go into fresh water; anything from the Sasafrass River north is generally safe.

            They are primarily wind and tide driven, and some areas are worse than others. They are extremely variable, so expect the answer to be both yes and no. We can always find a place, any portion of the Bay or time of year, where a quick cool-off plunge is safe, though lingering might not be (you can see them). Often the best places are far from land, since they are blown toward shore. Just stop in the middle and jump in!

            The thinnest clothing will stop them, even pantyhose I’m told… but I cannot speak of that from expereince!

            Everyone speaks of home remedies, but none are very effective. Vinegar is as good as anything. In most people, it simply feels like you’ve been scratched and fades within 15 minutes.

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