Year after year family, friends and even strangers ask LG and me the same question, “How will I survive hunting in the mountains?” The answer to that question is as simple as the answer to living a long life. Be healthy and get in shape.
How to be healthy and get in shape for spot-and-stalk hunting:
A healthy life requires healthy eating. We know you may be tempted by potato chips, brownies and soft drinks, but they really do nothing more than satisfy a momentary temptation. They also don’t give you any energy for the work out routine you’re going to need to embark on.
Alternatives include homemade sweet potato chips, dried fruits and nuts or fruit infused water.
A big complaint, or rather excuse, for not exercising is being too tired. Rest is necessary for a body to rejuvenate after you expend energy. The problem is a sedentary life, or too much rest, leads to laziness. The more active you become, the more active you will want to be. Rest, but get out there and DO SOMETHING!
WAIT! Look at that word again “exercise.” It sounds easy? Or maybe it sounds SO complicated. Well, it IS easy, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Find activities you enjoy. Run, swim, walk, hike, do aerobics, go to yoga classes. The list of things you can do is endless; so don’t even try to make excuses! Always check with your doctor first, and make sure you get the go-ahead to embark on a new exercise regimen.
Ride a horse
Yes. I said ride a horse. It’s OK if you don’t have your own. There are places you can go rent horses for trail rides. Horseback riding burns 700 calories per hour. While you’re burning calories, you will again be strengthening your core muscles as well as the large quadriceps, hamstrings and those dreaded inner thighs. And … if you are not familiar with horseback riding techniques, it’s a great training opportunity for those Rocky Mountain elk hunts.
Climb hills and other things. Another great idea is to climb the bleachers at your local high school football field.. Again, do this with a loaded pack. Wow, will you be doing your entire body a favor! Climbing mountains will strengthen core muscles as well as all of your leg muscles.
Shoot 3D archery
Hike a 3D archery course in the hills. Do this, of course, with your hunting pack loaded to the gills. Leave your gun and bow at home, though. Pretend you’re on a real hunt. Try running up a hill, calming your breathing, stopping and preparing to take a good shot on an imaginary target. You will get a cardio workout, and strengthen your arms, legs and core muscles at the same time. This routine will improve your balance so you don’t slip, fall or tip over on the actual hunting trail.
Run on a treadmill, elliptical or other exercise machine. Don’t have one? Not a problem. Some of our hunting friends make do with their loaded backpack and the high school track. Not all of them run. Some simply pace themselves for a brisk walk. The key is to get your heart rate elevated. The American Heart Association lists proper target heart rates. You may need to work up to the loaded pack stage. Pace yourself.
Walk the dog. Don’t have a dog? Walk the neighbor’s dog. Hey, you could even take a walk with your child. How about that idea? That’s called “family fitness.”.
Lift weights. Don’t have those either? Not a problem. As we mentioned, it doesn’t have to be difficult. We even wrote about it before. Grab some cans, jugs or bottles from the pantry. Voila! — instant homemade weights for the price of dinner!
As you can see, there really are no excuses to be out of shape. Design a routine you will stick to and do it at least 5 days a week. Remember to rest. Make your own fun things to do. Get in shape. Happy hunting!
*Always consult a physician before beginning any workout routine.