How To Exercise While Camping

December 24, 2010

When you head out on vacation, you may think that your regular exercise routine has to take a break, too. But according to KOA camper—and certified personal trainer—Andy Nieradko, a camping getaway can actually be a great place for a fun workout.

  • “Exercise is really anything that gets your heart rate elevated,” he said. “It’s doing a little work to open up those channels. Going walking or hiking, for a bike ride—even taking your kids to the playground will give you great exercise.”
  • According to Andy, exercise has a cumulative effect. Do 10 minutes in the morning, and five minutes here or there adds up during the day.
  • “Your body doesn’t know the difference,” he said. “It’s burning the calories and doing the work. I encourage my clients to work on intensity—10 minutes of jumping rope burns the same amount of calories as 60 minutes of jogging.”
  • Andy, who loves camping with his wife Kim and three young children, suggests mixing up cardiovascular exercises, like walking, and weight-bearing exercises like crunches and squats. When he camps, he brings a 15-pound kettle bell with him and, occasionally, a jump rope. He also incorporates yoga and tai-chi into his workout.
  • “When you’re traveling, yoga and stretching are really good for you,” he said. “Muscles you don’t use atrophy. If you’re sitting in a car and driving for hours, need to be stretched to get the blood flowing again.”

We also asked campers on Facebook how they liked to get in workouts while they were at their favorite KOA’s. Here’s are a few of their suggestions:

  • “Swimming in a KOA kampground pool after a long hard day on the road. It’s why we stay at KOA’s when we can—the pools are always in nice condition.” –Kitty Ball
  • “[I] play with the dogs and run after my daughter!” –Lydia Larson
  • “Use the pool—love to swim. [We} walk too—love to check out everyone’s camp sites.” –Tammy Fox-Ellis
  • “Walk and ride bikes. We have these foldable ones that store easily in the bed of the truck.” –Robert Schoneman
  • “I walk. I use it as an excuse to check out other people’s campers and sites.” –Michelle Buck

Many KOA campgrounds have workout rooms and gym equipment right on site, and you can  see a list of their amenities on  For those who prefer to make their reservations over the phone, remember to ask the KOA staff person what activities and amenities are available too.

Do you have a great, family-friendly tip to help get in an extra dose of exercise when you’re camping? Share it with us, below:

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