Exercise is not an option for Lynn Difley, a trim, energetic 60-something — it’s a priority.
“It is part of my life, like taking a shower and brushing my teeth,” said the fitness expert by telephone earlier this week from her sister’s home in the Bay Area.
Difley, and her husband, Robert, have been full-time RVers for 15 years. She’s been an exercise advocate all her life and has published two slim books (see E7) geared toward staying fit on the road.
She is an accredited exercise instructor and teaches fitness workshops at RV rallies including the Live on Wheels Conference in Moscow, Idaho.
“I see a lot of people in the RV lifestyle who are wasting their precious years because they are not as physically fit as they could be,” she said. “Their lives are diminished because of lack of exercise and bad eating habits.”
Inactivity is certainly not true for the Difleys. They thrive on outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking and kayaking.
“We love hiking,” said Difley. “There is something inspiring about just being out in the forest, along a beach or exploring the desert. You just get into a rhythm and let your body take over. Your mind relaxes and whatever worries you might have had seem to ease.”
The Difleys retired early, or rather they “made a lateral transition into a new lifestyle,” said the author.
These days they travel fulltime in their 1992 28-foot Bounder, photographing and writing articles for consumer and RV magazines.
Each day they make time to work their bodies, even if they spent many hours on the highway.
“Inactivity is the cause of all the major threats to a long, productive life,” said Difley.
‘Sit Moves, Fit Moves’
Difley’s most recent book, “Sit Moves, Fit Moves: An RVers Guide to Fitness,” is loaded with simple exercises, fully illustrated with photographs taken by her husband.
“Working out from a seated position can challenge all the major muscle groups and provide a way to increase muscular strength, as well as functional ability,” said Difley.
“Simple moves have the most profound affects,” she said. “These are the kinds of exercises you can do everyday to make yourself a little stronger, a little more flexible.”
Some of the procedures, like shoulder rolls and belly pull-ins, can be safely performed while driving; nearly all of them can be done while riding in the passenger’s seat.
In fact, movements like the torso twist, upper back stretch and leg extension can help prepare a passenger for taking a turn behind the wheel.
“These movements help increase alertness and rev up the circulation,” said Difley. “The top causes of driving accidents for those over 50 are inattention or drowsiness.”
Difley stresses that individuals need to take personal responsibility for their own fitness.
“Your health is in your own hands,” she said.
“It’s not anything a doctor can give you,” she continued. “It is something you have to do for yourself. We each have to decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle and to make it a priority in life. If it is truly a priority you will find a way to do it.”
“ “Sit Moves, Fit Moves: An RVers Guide to Fitness” and “Good Backs: How to Turn Your Bad Back into a Good Back” by Lynn Difley ($8.95 each, plus $1 shipping). Write to Lynn and Robert Difley; 19363 Willamette Dr., West Linn, OR 97068; e-mail: lynnHRVL@gmail.com; www.healthyrvlifestyle.com.
“ Folks 55 and older can check out the Seniors Program low-cost noncredit fitness courses offered through the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Institute of Extended Learning. Call (509) 533-4756 to receive a program brochure.
“ North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene offers a variety of classes, including yoga and tai chi, for “individuals over 60.” Call the NIC Registrar’s Office at (208) 769-3320 for more information or go online to www.nic.edu/schedules/seniors.asp.
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