Getting fit on your narrow boat
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Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:35pm

6 Great Ways To Get Fit For FREE Living On Your Narrow Boat

Owning and living on a narrow boat in itself can be a healthy way of living.

Jogging along the towpath

Living on a narrow boat has its benefits for anyone keen to get in shape for this summer.  Day to day jobs around the narrow boat will keep you off the couch and on the move.  Locks don’t open themselves, Waitrose don’t deliver down to the canal, and boats don’t moor themselves.  All these jobs require some physical activity which will help to keep you active and on the move every day.

More and more UK residents are looking to live a healthy lifestyle.  With some people wanting to combat weight issues, improve wellbeing, prevent health concerns like heart disease, high blood pressure, and reduce risks of developing diabetes.  Basically people generally want to feel better.

Having a healthy diet and doing some physical exercise every day will improve your day to day living and in turn should help you live a longer and happier life.  Combine all this with living on the canal network in all that wonderful fresh air and we think you have a recipe for a very healthy life style.

Here are just a few ideas you can try to help get you into shape:

Many boat owners don’t own cars so by nature they tend to do more walking; this is a good start to being active and getting fit.

Walking shouldn’t be under estimated; it’s one of the easiest types of exercise to add into our daily lives, it’s free and will help with weight loss and being generally healthier.  The towpath offers the ideal location to take a stroll or go for a fast walk.  Benefiting from beautiful scenery, no traffic worries, peace and quiet.  Walking every day is definitely a good choice to start with if you are looking to kick start a healthier life style.
walking is a great way of keeping fit

Pedometers are a great way of keeping track of your walking.  Use a pedometer to work out your average daily steps and then build on increasing your steps each day.

A person weighing 60kgs who walks 30 minutes a day will burn around 100 calories.

The canal paths are a perfect place for jogging or running.  Nice long and flat trails are ideal for runners.

There are many devices on the market which you can invest in if your running takes off.  Running watches with heart rate monitors record your distance, speed and calories burned.  They are very motivational tools allowing you to set goals and join virtual running communities which encourages you to keep trying and to improve your stamina.

Running is a great way to lose weight and get into shape and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  Having said that; just like any other hobby or sport you can soon find that you want the latest trainers or running gear.  So be warned if you get addicted, because running is addictive, you may want to look the part as well!
cycling along the canal towpath

Get on your bike:

Using a bike in your day to day life is another great way to get around and is especially useful for transporting shopping back to your boat.

If you are considering buying a bike, then folding bikes are a popular choice due to the fact you can store them conveniently on board.  Mountain bikes are also a good option for using on the towpath rather than a road bike; road bike tyres are not really suitable for the towpaths as they are so skinny and can easily get punctured.  Don't forget to wear a helmet whilst riding a bike along the towpath, even though you won't meet a car you could still come a cropper on uneven ground!

If you do purchase a bike, make sure to keep it locked up and add it to your insurance policy, a new good quality bike isn’t cheap!

The Canal & River Trust have written a towpath code for people living in London, however it’s worth adapting this code where ever you live. Share the Space Drop Your Pace

Join the Green Gym!
No ordinary gym, the green gym requires no expensive membership or lycra!  The scheme will help you to improve your own health as well as the environment.
Work up a sweat digging, planting, trimming and path-clearing at one of the 95 free Green Gyms around the country run by The Conservation Volunteers.

We think this gym is right up the boater’s street.

The perfect hobby to take up.  No problems getting the kayak from the garage down to the canal, simply remove from the roof of your boat and paddle off!

You will have to apply for a licence; with the only exception being for current members of Canoe England and Canoe Wales who get to use the waterways for free as part of their membership.

Your safety must be considered if you do decide to take up this hobby we advise that you always wear a life jacket.

Your very own outdoor gym

The 31 day guide to getting fit outdoors on the National Trusts website is excellent. 

Sometimes we can be put off starting an exercise plan because we don’t know what to do or how to start.  Have a go at following this guide, all you need to do is find your nearest green outdoor space and start enjoying your daily outdoor routine.

This plan is suitable for all ages and fitness levels and is based around walking, jogging and running.

New To Exercise? Top Tips To Get You Started:

• Wear appropriate clothing and shoes
• Keep hydrated
• Pick things you like and want to do
• Don’t try and do too much too quickly
• Set yourself realistic goals
• Aim to do 30 minutes every day
• Keep an exercise diary
• Don’t let the weather put you off
• Find a training buddy
• Get the whole family involved

Before starting any form of physical exercise, it is always advisable to check suitability with your Doctor.