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tonysail1 21-12-2015 06:44

Health Preps for long term cruising
I am curious to hear what health preparations people make prior to going long term cruising.

I am still about 5 to 8 years out from long term cruising, but trying to get things prepared in a number of areas. Thankfully I am reasonably healthy, take no medicines, am not obese but not fit either. In terms of health preparations for me this includes:
- wisdom teeth removal (2 done, 2 to go), some recent periodontic work and of course regular dental checks etc - I figure dental is one item that is important and easy to get on top of early
- doing some light kayaking
- doing some light walking
- starting some light swimming
- need to build other exercise - cycling?, bodyweight exercise?, yoga?
- probably most of all I just need to sail more - sailing is after all the best exercise of all, and every time I come back from a cruise I am happier and noticeably healthier ;)

So what are your health preparations helping you get to long term cruising?
Would love to hear what you are up to.

JPA Cate 21-12-2015 17:38

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
At a very minimum, get a tetanus booster shot.

We have also had shingles vaccine. You are susceptible to shingles if you've had chicken pox. Shingles can make you miserable, and Jim's Mom lost the vision in one eye due to it. Although imperfect, my vision is precious to me. A side effect has been great reduction in cold sores from UV exposure.

There is a new vaccine being trialled right now against Dengue, called Denvaxia. You might want that before you take off. However, extremely disciplined prophylaxis can keep you from getting bitten by mosquitoes. You have to take it extremely seriously, and if you do, the tactics will keep you safe from chikungunya, malaria, and all the rest of the diseases borne by mozzies.

It seems to me that we followed the IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers) recommendations, spaced out the year before the departure.


atoll 21-12-2015 18:00

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
cycling is a great way to keep fit if you live in a marina or residential area,just avoid busy traffic as cyclists are not always that visible to other road users.

MarkJ 21-12-2015 18:04

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
I am on a low carb diet (LCHF) and go to the gym when in a port with one.
I also just did a 1,000 mile (1,700km) bicycle ride in September.
Frankly, sailing doesn't make you fit unless you are on passage. And that's only a few weeks per year. At anchor walking 40 feet to the bow and back is not exercise nor is yoga on the foredeck.
As we get older we need 2 types of training to stay healthy - heart rate above 150bpm for 20 minutes 3 times per week and, resistance training - yep, weights. Not body builder stuff but an hour per week giving the muscles a workout.

The rewards are great and can be clearly measured by something as simple as watching people get into and out of their dinghys. Are they bouncing out? Or does every entrance and exit look dangerous?

If you still are a few years at home I would recommend getting a gym membership now and slowly getting used to it. BTW I don't see value in personal trainers nor classes (Zumba, whatever). Just get in there, jump on a bike, grab the heart beat handles and get the heart up. If you need a Doctor to tell you you are allowed to do it don't get a fat obese doctor. Find one that's fit.

Cruising is such a healthy lifestyle but you still gotta do a little work :)

barnakiel 21-12-2015 19:19

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
I would concentrate my efforts on getting my body on a high and STABLE fitness level - which will depend on your age. Do what you can and remember 'primum non nocere'.

You will likely need at least one kind of exercise that gets you to 3/30/130 - three times a week 30 minutes of moderate to heavy exercise that brings your heart rate to 130 beats (or whatever your 180-age number is). NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION. I am not a freaking doctor, I am the runner. Running is OK (a bit boring unless you can run cross country). Swimming is outstanding. Biking is a bit like running - you will still want some upper body work.

Then you will consider some form of healthy and wholesome diet. Maybe some more green stuff you are into meats. Maybe some more meat if you are a vegetarian. Try to find what works for you and for most it is a balanced diet. Drink. Moderately. Too much water is bad, too little water is hallucinations and sure death.

Then get rid of all bad habits: smoking, alcohol, drugs, to much sex (yes, there is such a thing), staying up way too long, getting excited about the fact that someone said or did something that you do not particularly like, etc.

So, to sum up, exercise, eat well and avoid bad stress (do some heavy weather gybes on a Laser, if you truly want that weekly take of adrenaline fools get from anger and worries).

Well now. Have I killed someone?


Take care, good luck in your most commendable effort!!!


zboss 21-12-2015 20:13

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
See, unlike the others here I am practical - my fitness regime is based on resignment.

Practice daily by eating as much fried seafood as possible followed by drinking copious amount of sugary rum drinks in order to pickle the liver and surrounding tissue and destroy your bodies sense of non-diabetic behavior. It doesn't hurt to slather your skin in baby oil and spend hours out in the sun tanning. When this is done, practice non-sensical communication skills - like you have been at sea for 8 months without human contact - and develop a healthy sense of sea paranoia.

It is ONLY through this regime that you will survive your round-the-world trip.

reed1v 22-12-2015 09:54

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
Actually all of the above are bogus answers. The best medical prep is to have 1. health insurance that can go worldwide with you; 2. an american express platinum card that will ship you out of anywhere in the world to a US medical facility; and 3. a good, well stocked medical first aid kit. We got a Mexican doctor to get us a lot of stuff like morphine to ensure we could handle most emergency situations. The morphine did help with a Marshall Islands worker who got crushed between a pier and a tug boat. He eventually was medivaced to Tripler Hospital and lived. The morphine kept him pain free and immobile till help arrived.

Otherwise, just be yourself.

SV THIRD DAY 22-12-2015 10:07

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising

Originally Posted by reed1v (Post 1994620)
Actually all of the above are bogus answers.

I tried that answer with my wife about the weight I've gained since we have been back from full time Cruising living outside the USA, land of the processed food. She didn't buy it either.

My health was never better when getting off the standard American diet and we found similar comments from many of our cruiser friends over Potlucks filled with good...Food...Beer...and Rum.

rosatte 22-12-2015 10:28

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
I smoke good cigars and drink like a fish lifes to dam short for dieting etc....

reed1v 22-12-2015 10:33

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising

Originally Posted by rosatte (Post 1994655)
I smoke good cigars and drink like a fish lifes to dam short for dieting etc....

I agree. All my athletic friends are dead or dying. Virtually all the drinkers, meat eaters and sex fanatics are still chugging along in their 80s and 90s. Which reminds me that we soon will be able to buy Cuban cigars finally!!!

tomfl 22-12-2015 10:55

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
A few random thoughts.

Bill Rodgers was one of the best runners to ever, the only person to ever win the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon, and the Fukuoka Marathon in the same year. Miguel Indurain Larraya holds the record for the most consecutive Tour de France wins. The reason I mention this is Rodgers resting heart rate was 72 beats per minute while the Big Mig had a resting heart rate of 38 beats per minute. Just as Rodgers was a slight, small, almost frail looking person and the Big Mig lived up to his nick name in body size the same goes for heart rate. While some formulas claim to be able to provide a SWAG for heart rate zones serious folks will use their heart rate at their VO2 max to find what those zones are. An easy to determine your heart rat at your VO2 max is get on a stationary bike with a heart rate monitor and look for the dog leg on the graph as you increase intensity.

While resting heart rate is important in assessing fitness level it is also very personal. In general a person's resting heart rate is measured when they wake up and are still prone in bed. A week or so of measuring your resting heart rate every day should give you some type of base line, a month would be better. Once you have established a base line it can be used to determine how much or little you should be exercising.

You do not get fit, or more fit, by exercising. You get fit, or more fit, by recovering for exercising. If you resting heart rate is elevated you need to back off till it gets back to its base line. If you are getting more fit and your resting heart rate is decreasing you can bump up the length or intensity of exercising.

The idea is to exercise to build your self up, not tear your self down.

As for exercising on a boat I find some type of resistance bands to be easy to store and function well as a weight training substitute. If you are cruising swimming may be the only realistic option for aerobic training. If you are in a harbor walking, briskly if needed, requires less extra stuff than things like running (running shoes required) or biking (bike required).

Cap Erict3 22-12-2015 11:04

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
Ride a bike, walk, swim and row the dink.

Never use a hundred words when 3 will carry the message.

MarkJ 22-12-2015 11:25

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising

Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 (Post 1994700)

Never use a hundred words when 3 will carry the message.

The advice was 9 words. The moral was 11 words.

Back to the boards, bard. ;)

reed1v 22-12-2015 11:49

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
Just cruising will give you a slow steady aerobic workout from keeping your balance. About 20 years ago 60 old duffers sailed a WW2 LST from the Mediterranean to New Orleans. Average age 72 years old. Average weight lost on the two month adventure was 20 pounds. So just being on the ocean will get you fit.

Skuzzlebutt 22-12-2015 16:54

Re: Health Preps for long term cruising
Unlike above, I drank like a fish -- whatever was available, and in whatever quantity. Smoked the occasional Cuban cigar (spent lots of time in Europe where they were available) and got a little sleep when time permitted. Exercise consisted of climbing on a barstool, dancing a little, and crawling home (figuaratively ... often I had a limousine). Then, around age 60 had a couple of problems (gall bladder and pancreas). In short, I had a good life - excellent in fact. Did more in my life than most would do in 20 lifetimes. Lived all over the world, made plenty of money for a jetting lifestyle.

Now before a few of you gleefully note "Aha, the party life did you in", sorry to disappoint. No, the pancreas was not from excessive drinking - I had a gall stone lodged in the pancreatic duct, and caused great pain, both before and after it was removed. But I did completely stop the party life. At 65, it was becoming 'old' anyway.

So I bought a sailboat, read a couple of books, and set out cruising south Florida and the Caribbean. Never enjoyed life better, nor been healthier. In 3 years, never even had to see a doctor.

Just turned 70, had 6 months back in the states full of all the medical exams and tests I could con my insurance company out of, and was pronounced 'as good as it gets." Put on 50 pounds eating 'American Food'.

So now, happily reacquainted with sailboat, I'm off again. Already shed 20 unwanted pounds. Just working on the boat, rowing the dinghy whenever possible, and walking when in port seems to be the best 'medicine' available.

Bottom line: If it makes you feel better, follow the advice above. Chances of it really affecting your life at sea: zero!

BTW: you can get insurance for just a very few hundred dollars a year that will fly you by private jet back to the States for medical care any time you have a local doctor certify you need State-side care. Pretty easy to get that certification when needed.

OK now, flame away!

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