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Living on the Water is Great for Fitness

I know it’s obvious, but boats aren’t usually located on land. Would you have guessed that living on a boat, on the water, has meant walking hundreds of more miles each year than had I lived ashore? Allow me to explain.

Many boat owners prefer to use the bathrooms and showers provided by their marina than using those aboard their boats. There is a reason for this. Marine toilet systems often require more care than those in houses, and so require more regular maintenance. And when they fail it’s not a pretty job.

Also, on a boat, you end up living in close-quarters with your sewage, which eventually needs to be pumped out. So, many of us choose to use the shoreside facilities while in port.

In my case, to get from my boat to land, whether for the restroom, my car, the dumpster, walking my bike up, or taking my dog to the park, is at least 800 feet, or about a 3-minute walk, each way. This means, at a minimum, I walk 584,000 feet more a year than I would if I lived in a house with all these amenities on site. And I come and go from the boat often several times each day. Who would have thought that living on a boat would mean I get to walk hundreds of extra miles each year? Pretty sweet.

It’s not just the extra steps that come with this life, there’s also free strength and coordination training. Houses are designed to maximize convenience for the human and convenience usually means minimizing effort. Doorways are human-sized and start at foot level, floors are flat, and chairs, beds, and toilets are designed so we no longer have to lower our butts below our knees.

con·ven·ience | kənˈvēnyəns |
1 the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty

While sailboat design does strive for comfort, it has other priorities to balance, too, like staying afloat, being safe and strong in a seaway, and being aero and hydrodynamic. That means the human often has to move around a boat in ways they wouldn’t in a house. Simply climbing on or off my boat requires a routine of balance, coordination, and use of muscles that wouldn’t be called upon in a house. Same for climbing in and out of bed, which is a bit of an acrobatic feat on my boat requiring swinging from overhead handholds. I get to do each of these maneuvers at least twice, often many times, each day.

All of this has become so natural, it does not feel like work at all. It just happens without apparent effort in the normal course of every day. I know it’s good for my body and mind now, and I hope it leads to good mobility in my later years.

To me, this is the best kind of free stuff.

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