If you consider yourself an aging outdoorsman, here's what you can do about it.
There are two things that are a certainty in life: time and gravity. They are undefeated. Father Time will creep up on all of us, and we don't always age gracefully. Some of us can fight it kicking and screaming all the way!
Spending time in the great outdoors can boost your attention span, help your memory, and even improve your creativity. In addition, sunshine, fresh outdoor air, and natural light can invigorate us and give us more energy, but it also lifts our spirits.
We've all gotten a bit older and some things are not as easy as they used to be. So then, let's look into what we do as hunters and fishermen that may take some extra effort for aging outdoorsmen and women, and what we can do to help alleviate some of the difficulties, wear and tear, and potential for injury.
Deer hunting doesn't always require vigorous movement or feats of strength, but there are things we can do to make it easier on an aging body. Unless we have access to an ATV, we need to walk some distance into the woods to reach our hunting spot. Regular walking or hiking to build stamina, and basic stretches beforehand can any distance easier to manage.
This is not to forget that once we reach our destination, there is generally a climb up into a tree involved. Whether you use a ladder, tree steps, or still have the compunction to use a tree climbing stand, there is still another dose of physicality that we all have to overcome before the task is finished. Some basic upper body strength training along with core exercises will aid you and your tree climbing efforts.
If more strenuous hikes or steep inclines are involved in your deer hunting activities, adjust your preparation and workouts accordingly.
Most warm-weather fishing is done on the bank, on the dock, or in a boat where the expense in energy is minimal. But, a fly angler can tire out their arm faster than a conventional angler. More upper body flexibility and stamina can help fly anglers, or really anglers of any kind, so exercises that focus on those attributes will go far in fishing longevity. Don't forget your hands, wrists, and shoulders as focal points of exercise, either.
Many fly fishing enthusiasts will confirm that reaching a preferred spot means walking some distance, often upstream and against the current, to reach the best places to find untouched fish. Those who've really burned their legs (and calories) hiking to a backcountry fishing spot can attest: fishing can be just as much about the legs as it can the arms.
Paddling can be a great upper body and arm/shoulder workout, so strengthening those spots and keeping them in great shape is paramount. Cardiovascular exercises will also help you last a long time on a canoe or kayak, too.
Road biking is a great low-impact way to exercise, and mountain biking can be a serious thrill. In either case, biking can be a good way to stay in shape while getting your fill of the outdoors while you're at it.
I like to push myself by starting off into the wind for at least eight to ten miles before turning around with the breeze at my back. Once I have the wind with me, it's time to push myself to gain speed.
This is great for the legs, your heart, and your lungs. It is a kind of cardio workout that we all need to sustain us before we walk into the woods for that first time in the fall. Wear your backpack with several cold drinks inside.
Our legs are what carry us and all of our gear into the woods, even more so for those that hike great distances into the backcountry to hunt the frontier areas. Also, consider a hike with your day pack, but make sure to find an area near you that has some hills and valleys.
These don't need to be extreme, just that you have to find something that challenges you to work, not just take a leisurely stroll. The best part is that you will be outside in the fresh air while you are getting fit for the hunting season.
We all still strive to keep our wanderlust alive as active sportsmen, but as the years go by, we all need to consciously reevaluate our health as we go afield each season. Things like balance, agility, and mental attitude are key to staying outside instead of resorting to the rocking chair.
When our age and our desire to continue to hunt and fish begin to clash, we need to take a good look at ourselves and our bodies as hunters. If you address it and take some steps now, you won't get caught in a "too little, too late" situation.