Skip to main content

Fitness Afloat: Maintaining Your Vessel While Living Aboard

How well do you maintain your vessel? No, not the one tied up at your favorite local marina, the one that contains your enduring cruising spirit. Fitness Afloat wants to teach you to take care of your body at sea.

As an online companion to our Fitness Afloat column in PassageMaker magazine, we will present graphics from time to time such as exercise examples, menus, calorie planners, and additional tips and hints for staying fit onboard while cruising.

Below are photos of Karen Campbell modeling many of the exercises referenced in the first two Fitness Afloat columns. We hope this helps your cruising and fitness journey!

Backward Leg Kick / Donkey Kick:


Kneel on all fours. Extend one leg straight back behind you. Bring that leg back to the deck, and extend the other leg.



Lie face down with both forearms flat on the floor straight forward. Rise up so your back is straight and your body is supported by only your forearms and your toes.



Stand erect with feet together. Step forward a "giant step" with one foot, leaving the other foot in place. Lower your rear knee towards the floor as far as possible. Then "step" back and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

Punching Arms:


Sit on the deck with back straight and legs extended. Alternate your arms punching forward vigorously.

Push Up: 


Lie face down, palms flat on the floor as near the shoulders as possible. Keeping the back straight, push "up" off the floor with palms until arms are fully extended and only the toes and palms are touching the deck. Keeping the back straight, lower the body as far as possible without touching the floor with anything other than the palms and toes. Push back "up" from this position. Repeat. (Easier version 1: push up from palms and knees. Easier version 2: hold your body in the arms extended "up" position from toes or knees for a count of 10. Gradually increase the time until you can do one push-up).

Side Plank:


Lay on one side propped up on that elbow with the forearm flat on the ground and the ankles stacked one on the other. Rise up so the back and legs are straight and tight, and only the lower forearm and lower ankle are touching the floor.

Walk Out:


Stand erect. Bend forward at the waist until hands meet the deck in front of you. "Walk" forward on your hands until you are in the push-up position. Walk back on your hands and stand erect again. Keep your legs as straight as possible.