The Cruising Life: Women’s Perspectives. Part 5: Physical Activity for Cruisers

A lot of cruising women were awesome enough to contribute to this blog series about women who are living/lived the cruising life. Whether they’ve been cruising for 6 months or 30 years, these are the perspectives of various women from different parts of the world. I know I’m already learning from their stories, I hope you can learn something new as well! I’ll be posting a question from this series every Wednesday and Friday for the 10 week series, so keep an eye out for our posts! The topics range in topic from typical cruising questions, to more personal anonymous stories that might make you feel like you’ve met a kindred spirit.

If you are a current or former cruising woman and would like to contribute to future posts or blog series, please email me at with the subject line “Cruising Questions from Byn” and I’ll send you the list of questions. Answer as many as you like and return with a few photos and I’ll add your contribution as we go!

What is your favorite way to get exercise as you’re cruising?


Abyni @AbynisInstagram I love love love to swim, I do it nearly every day (especially when it’s hot) and I also do aerial silks at the beach or even just hanging them up on the boat.
Alexandra @SVBanyan My favourite physical activity off the boat? Hiking. When we were in Grenada that included Hashing with the Hash House Harriers, but truth be told, I much prefer the self guided lengthy trails, with no timeline, a backpack filled with lunch, and camera in hand. I like a bit of a clambering challenge, am not a thrill seeker by any means, and the vistas entice me to go higher and longer each time. On the boat it’s truly hard to get motivated to stick with any particular regimen, so I tend to get wishy washy and lazy, but I would say that the one activity I do (amost) daily, is swim for exercise.

Abyni swimming in Warderick Wells, Exumas in the Bahamas

Barb @SVMelindaKay  Swimming in the crystal clear water of the Bahamas.

Barb @HartsatSea Despite good intentions and renewed resolutions, I have not developed a routine. I am able to perform yoga on the back deck and keep meaning to do so. Long passages are an effective isometric fitness program and I always lose 5 pounds. At anchor in the Caribbean, we snorkel and swim, and on shore we hike. Back home in Maine I walked 3 miles 5 days a week and try to take that up again when we are at anchor.

@SVMahi I love the water, so most days at anchor I will be snorkeling,  swimming, and just spending time in the water.   Hint: For those who wear glasses, be sure to purchase snorkel mask with your prescription inserted into the snorkel mask.

A beachcomber at heart, at low tide you will find me hunting for sea glass, shells, and collecting sand.  This year, I plan to add a metal detector as a fun activity for my 5 year old, Ethan, and I to do together on remote beaches. As a family, we also like to hike and kayak, too.    Strapped to our foredeck is a inflatable 2 person kayak that easily fits 2 adults and one child.

@SaltyKisses I’m not an active person but I do love to hike, I’ve made a promise to myself to get off the boat more and enjoy the landscape by myself.

Cheri @SVConsort Yoga. Either on my own or in a class, two or three times per week. And tons of snorkeling; I can’t get enough. If we’re in good water, I swim for hours per day.


CJ @SVRagnarok I try to do a little yoga everyday to stay active. I also really enjoy swimming. Walking and exploring towns and the area.

Crystal @LetitBreeze   Our Favorite Things Onboard for Under $50
In two spots along the trail we had to use ropes to climb up steep inclines.

On Conception Island in the Bahamas. There were several spots on the island where a rope was installed to help you get up a hill. I loved it!

Duwan @MakeLikeanApeMan Hiking. I love to explore – go down paths, not knowing where they lead and discovering what the landscape has to offer. I also love – although it is not very physical on my part – dinking around with my husband in our little Walker Bay row boat. I absolutely love to dink through mangroves!

Jenny @SVRocketScience Swimming in tropical places. Best. Thing. Ever. I also like SUPing (Stand Up Paddleboarding) a lot. Frequency varies with location. If we are in port somewhere colder I like to run. Because I can do it almost anywhere (as long as the temperature is under 70) and it requires no equipment.

Katy @SV-KlickitatII  Off the boat, I love to run and to walk for exercise. On the boat, unless we’re at a marina in a town or at an anchorage with easy access to a shore that’s walkable (in Mexico and further south running fell by the wayside due to heat and the lack of places to do it) my main physical activity is swimming – I swim in the ocean virtually every day, and we use paddle boards for both exercise and for getting to and from shore.

Kerry Preston Favourite activities on the boat was cooking, making bread, polishing stainless steel or cleaning windows listening to music….I also loved keeping watch on a moonlit night – usual shift was 1am – 6am and it was often  very peaceful, I loved sitting outside watching the stars, feeling the wind on my face, listening to music, enjoying being alone in the dark! Favourite activity off the boat was walking-exploring the new sights and sounds of different anchorages or towns. I loved meeting the locals and other cruisers, sharing ideas, experiences, knowledge….. we did this almost every day if not on passage. Fishing, snorkelling, swimming were a part of our daily routine, I would highly recommend visiting other boats and introduce yourself when you come to any new anchorage

Laura @FortuneAfloat I’ve always loved to walk and hike. When we are on the boat in some lovely anchorage I swim and snorkel to get exercise, but when we’re anchored in a dirty harbor and can’t swim, I really need to get out and walk. Unfortunately, my DH doesn’t like to accompany me, so I either take walks by myself or sit on the boat and twitch. Getting enough exercise is a big problem.


Liza @SVInspiration  I love being in the water, so I do a lot of snorkeling and swimming. But in general, living aboard is a very active lifestyle. Walking to the grocery store and carrying the groceries back to the boat in a knapsack, scrubbing the bottom of the boat while swimming, doing laundry by hand in buckets – all of these chores are a complete workout. Then factor in the isometrics involved while moving around the boat and the dinghy….it’s all physical activity! (But I do have a “jump rope” in case I’m stuck on the boat for days. Some people do yoga on their foredeck, I jump rope!)

Melinda Taylor
Snorkelling or Scuba diving, every chance I get. The underwater world blows my mind with it’s diversity and beauty.

Sarah Gayle Letter boxing is great, some people describe it as geo-cashing for artful hikers, but it’s more than that.  It’s basically following clues or a story and a path to a box in the woods to a stamp hidden inside a box. You put personal stamp in the log book that’s there, and collect that stamp in our own book.  Great fun for all ages, and you can make and hide your own boxes! for lists of boxes in your area.



**Editors note… I don’t think sex on the boat sounds bad at all Winking smile

Sarah @YoginiSailor  On the boat is climbing the mast without help. Off the boat is yoga. I do yoga about 3-4 times a week and climb the mast about 2 times a month.

Stacey @SVSmitty My favorite physical activity is snorkeling (well, trying to take the high road, but honestly, even in the disgusting humidity of the Caribbean sex with husband is a my #1 fav activity). But honestly, I really do love snorkeling. I love just hovering over a spot and watching the fish do normal fish things. Then I love going and spearing them and eating them…what?, don’t judge me, fish are tasty. It’s not like I’m eating Nemo or Dora (only because they don’t taste good and likely have ciguatera).

Susie @Wanderings  Swimming though since we’ve reached the land of sharks and crocodiles we’ve not been able to indulge much but we were swimming every day elsewhere.

@ThingsWeDidToday  We both love to snorkel.  Bruce is a certified diver.  When we first began thinking about cruising I took SCUBA lessons.  Long story short, due to a severely deviated septum I was unable to pass the final trick… In retrospect I don’t think we would have had any better experience if I had been certified as a diver.  We love to poke around along rocky shores and shallow reefs and I think I would be claustrophobic if I dove down very far.  We snorkel every chance we get… there’s something to see almost everywhere we go and it’s a nice way to spend a HOT afternoon!  We recently purchased full face snorkel masks and we LOVE them!  Visit this blog post for more about snorkeling  And our review of the new full face mask

Byn @OhSailYes  I wish I was more active, but I have managed to get off the couch and off of the boat to at least hang out in the water every day. I was doing better before the summer of the Bahamas hit. Then I was just so damn hot all the time, I was almost afraid to do anything other than stay afloat in the water for an hour or two a day. I also like kayaking daily with the dogs, but since our kayak was pretty much completely ruined beyond repair when we were prepping for the hurricane, I’m going to have to find a new kayak or a new form of transportation/exercise that will work. I really loved the feel of pulling us through the water with the oars. I would really like to implement some of these strength workouts once I get back to the boat next month. A TRX System like the one on Zero to Cruising sounds perfect for the boat as well.

Some of my favorite blog posts from Sailing Totem on this topic:

How to You Stay Fit? “Cruising is a healthy lifestyle, where exercise is a natural part of every day. What a great lifestyle to stay fit and feel great! Right? Right? Yeah…it’s not quite like that. There’s truth in it, but staying physical fitness doesn’t just happen: it still takes effort, and commitment.”

What do you NEED? We covered books, and some ideas for personal gear. All very practical. But there’s more to cruising than pure practicality, so think about those things which will be part of your everyday enjoyment. For us, most of those relate to spending time in the water. With the opportunity to swim in warm, tropical seawater just steps away, there weren’t many days we stayed out of the water.


See the other posts in this series:

Part 1: What Makes it Worth it?

Part 2: What Would You do Differently?

Part 3: What has been your most surprising experience?

Part 4: Where Would You Revisit?

Part 5: What is Your Favorite Physical Activity Onboard?

Part 6: What were the biggest struggles for you in your first year? How did you deal with them to get through?

Part 7: What Technology is Essential for You?

Part 8: What is your best piece of advice for people who are getting ready to take off on a cruising adventure?

Part 9: What has been your scariest moment?

Part 10: Budget Friendly Tips?

Part 11: Best Social Media Tips?

Part 12: Your Best Life Hacks for the Boat

Part 13: Your Favorite Photo

Part 14: How Did Cruising Affect Your Marriage/Relationship?

Part 15: Let’s Talk About Sex




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