I know a few cruisers out there who are hardcore fitness freaks who will disagree with me on this. But living at anchor is like having a free gym, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
No Outboard On The Dinghy
By not having an outboard on my dinghy I have to row everywhere. Rowing an empty boat in calm conditions becomes pretty easy after you’ve done it for a while.
I frequently have guests aboard, though. The added weight of a second person, not to mention their bags, makes rowing much harder. Add to that occasionally rowing against wind and/or wave in it least one direction, and it can become a real challenge.
Even when it’s just me and Sparky aboard, I do have to haul water every few days. Also on laundry days and days that we do a big grocery run, there’s a little more in the dinghy, making it more of a challenge to row.
Don’t Anchor So Close!
If you have to row to get to shore, of course, anchoring in close is going to be a lot more convenient. A short row, even in rougher conditions, isn’t going to be much of a workout, though.
I’m anchored further from shore than all of the other boats around here now, almost 1/2 mile out. With a second person in the dinghy and even just a moderate breeze, it takes me about 20 minutes to row in, and it’s not an easy row.
I don’t have a car anymore. Well, most cruisers don’t, but I guess this one applies more to live aboards. Most places that I go I have to pedal to on my bike.
Commuting by bike is already a great way to get some exercise every day. Of course living on a boat my bike is a small folding bike, the Dahon Mariner.
The smaller wheels on a folding bike add to the workout a little. You have to pedal a little more to go the same distance as you would on a full size bike.
Stepping It Up
As I said, this isn’t a really intense workout, but there is a little trick that’s out of my control that helps step it up a few notches. Getting called in to work for a last minute tour! And another trick that is in my control. Procrastinating when I know I have to be in work for a tour.
When this happens, I have to sprint in the kayak, or row the dinghy as hard as I can, to bring Sparky in for a short walk. Then I race him back to the boat, and immediately turn around, sprint back to shore, and pedal my ass off to get to work on time.
That gives me about about a 35 minute workout that’s much more intense. I know even that isn’t going to meet Zero To Cruising standards for a real workout, but I have had to start wearing a belt on my shorts since moving back to the Keys.