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Fitness Afloat: The Not-Workout Workout


Ken Kesey once said, “you’re either on the boat or off the boat.” Well, Kesey actually said “bus” instead of “boat,” but I’m taking literary license for the sake of boaters everywhere.

He meant it metaphorically, but in teaching cruising fitness we mean it literally, too. We have showcased many on-the-boat exercises that you can do without needing to carry bulky equipment on board.

Many of our on-board exercises require only a small footprint of space and they are simple to modify to suit your level of fitness. However, the limited space within does not offer much in the way of aerobic exercise.

We are proponents of getting off-the-boat exercise as much as you can to optimize cardiovascular fitness.

Biking and kayaking are two of our favorite ways to exercise when not confined to Largo. Running, walking, and swimming are great, too, but sometimes using one of our toys can make for a more enjoyable and longer-lasting workout.

We carry two kayaks on our top deck that we can drop in the water when the feeling strikes; when we head to shore, we often take our fold-up bikes that we stow on the forward deck.

The bikes allow great flexibility ashore, from getting exercise to sightseeing and running errands. In addition, the fold-and-stow nature of these compact bikes makes them simple to hide away when not in use.

As mentioned in previous columns, Jay’s health issues sidelined us in Key West for a couple of months, but the bikes were a saving grace. Though our previous exercises can help build strength and flexibility, aerobic work is important for exercising the most important muscle of all—your heart. Just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day has been shown to do wonders for your overall health. Incorporating a bike or kayak can help beat the doldrums of a pounding jog. Let’s face it, sometimes even the saltiest of us need some off-the-boat time.