RV living gives us huge opportunities to really explore this world, but having poor health can limit our explorations. We want to take advantage of each day to its fullest and live abundantly, and we recognize that we need to stay healthy in order to do that. Can we have a healthy RV lifestyle? Or does an RV put us at risk for health problems? Let’s take a look at some of the basic factors of our health and see how RVing tips the scale to healthy or unhealthy for each factor. Let’s explore our diet, environment, sleep, physical activity, water and stress together…
Is RV living healthy?
Let’s start with the bad, so we can end on a good note. There are several dangers of RV living or factors that put at risk a healthy RV lifestyle. Let’s address those first…
This is a common trap. For some darn reason, when we are RVing, we want to have that vacation feel. And that vacation feel leads to wanting quick, easy, comforting food. Is anyone with me on this?
Add to that the constant travel days filled with eating in the truck and no meal prep time, and it is literally a recipe for disaster for our eating habits.
This is one of the areas where a RV lifestyle can contribute to bad habits. Our diet may be at risk with RV living.
We have to show a lot of self-discipline in order to avoid eating out and relying on processed foods.
Dangers of RV Air Quality
I don’t want to scare anyone or dwell on this too much, but it is important to be aware of this danger. RVs are made of very poor construction and materials. I feel like we keep seeing this theme, time and time again – something is made, then in order to turn a greater profit, the product is made cheaper and cheaper, and those cheaper materials are usually more toxic and chemical laden. I am thinking GMO foods? The quality of our contacts? Clothing? It is across the board. Why has cheaper become more important than quality and health? I am starting to think about this more as I grow wiser (or at least older).
For RVs, there were/are major problems with formaldehyde use in the particle board, which then outgasses and has made some RV dwellers very ill. (Source)
Indoor air quality is not just an issue for RVs, it is a problem in homes too.
Did you know that in many cases, indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air quality? Construction materials and furniture can outgas chemicals in to our air, cooking without proper ventilation can reduce our air quality and even our cleaning and washing supplies can leave toxic chemicals in our air.
So, this danger is not unique to RVing, but it is important to be aware of it. (And learn how to use essential oils to clean up your air.)
Understanding the risk, being knowledgable about your RV, and taking the necessary steps if needed to mitigate the problem are our line of defense here.
A huge topic for me, since I did the research on water quality when I was beginning my own health journey.
Well water and public water both have their sets of risk. Bacteria, viruses, pharmaceutical drugs, hormones and all sorts of things you do not want to be drinking can be found in drinking water.
With RVing, there may be a higher risk, since you will be changing water sources with each new campground, and you will not always be knowledgeable about the area you are in.
The bad news…drinking water can be dangerous anywhere. The good news…there is a practical, reasonable solution for both your RV or home.
We use the Berkey Water Filter System in our RV. We have had it for over 5 years now, and we used it in our home prior to becoming fulltime RVers. The Berkey is a water purifier that you can use so that you will never have to think about your quality of water again. Click here for more Berkey info.
Healthy RV Lifestyle
Now, let’s take a look at how RV living can contribute to our health, and how we can make sure that we have a healthy RV lifestyle.
RVers Spend More Time in The Great Outdoors
RV living contributes to more outdoor living. Living in smaller confines leads us RV dwellers to expand our surroundings outside of the RV. Our living rooms extend to include our outdoor areas. We also maximize our time spent outdoors by the ability to travel and live in areas with the best weather.
All of this extra time spent outdoors is a huge benefit to our health.
It allows our skin more access to the sun, which supports our Vitamin D levels. People with high levels of Vitamin D have a lower risk of disease (Source).
It also gives us more fresh air. A great benefit when we consider the poor indoor air quality that we already discussed.
Let’s also add increased physical activity to our list of benefits of spending more time outdoors. The two just go hand-in-hand. Even just a walk around the RV park is better than sitting at home. Plus, none of us can sit still when faced with Yosemite, the Badlands, Yellowstone, Zion and the other national parks. The world is your playground as an RVer.
RV Living Decreases Stress
I am not going to do research in to this one, this is just my opinion from my own experience and talking with thousands of other RVers. RV living decreases stress.
For fulltimers, not having the mortgage, million and one possessions, yard, etc. etc.; can really lift a burden.
Financially, RVers have more control over their finances, since they have the independence of changing their cost of living from day-to-day. Finances can be one of the most stressful factors in our lives, so it is easy to see why having more control of them would decrease our stress levels.
RV Living is Better for Sleep
I know, sometimes I like to shock you with a big claim, but I think you will see the link here.
I am absolutely, 100% sure, that Chris and I have noticed a huge increase in our body’s dependence on sunlight. Hop a time zone in an RV, and you will too.
Even with homemade, imitation black out curtains in our bedroom, our RV still shows much more darkness and light than any bedroom we have had. How can it be both? Our experience has been that RV campgrounds are much darker at night than traditional living. So, we get extreme darkness at night, but also more light with the sun. Because of that, our bodies are more directly impacted by the darkness of night and the change with sunrise.
What does that mean? Our bodies are more in tune with daylight, which balances our circadian rhythm. Our circadian clock regulates our daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness. It does this by stimulating and inhibiting different part of our brains with neurotransmitters. (Source)
Good sleep is a bonus with RV living. We need good sleep in order to have our immune systems working at their best. It is also important for our metabolism, short-term memory, decreasing stress hormones and lowering our risk for other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. (Source)
So, if you want better sleep, decreased stress, the benefits of more time spent outdoors; and you can handle the increased self-discipline for your eating habits; then I think you will find a healthy RV lifestyle awaiting you! Be sure to get yourself a Berkey so you do not need to worry about your water, and be knowledgeable about your indoor air quality; and you are good to go!
What can we add to the list? Any dangers? Or other health benefits?
Let us know in the comments below!
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