It's time to get in shape for optimal outdoor fun

Outdoor Type

I had a productive fishing trip in mid-April. Up to that time, I had zeroed on earlier outings. It had been cold and windy, and the fish were still in hibernation mode. On that warm April day, bass and crappie were hitting lures quite nicely. I brought home a few specimens for cleaning and frying. A small bluegill-hued crankbait did the trick.

My friend and I fished hard that day. We both made a lot of casts, and raising and lowering the anchor in his small boat, as well as lifting the Bass Buddy on and off his truck, was a workout. The next day, surprisingly for a 73-year-old, I felt OK. I was pleased that I didn’t ache in the shoulders or back from our day of fun. I had realized the benefit from some exercise work I had been putting in.

Getting into a routine

One upside of the virus shelter in place mandate was that I got into a good routine of morning workouts. My wife and I enjoy our daily walks together, but for me walking is some body movement, but I require something more strenuous to really feel good and generate more physical and mental energy. 

Before the pandemic hit, I had been more or less faithfully going to the Jasper Habig Senior Center weight room to do the treadmill and use the machines, and this was helping. But then that was no more. I recalled years ago doing some exercise at home with TV workout guy Gilad. I found him on Youtube with my IPad and tried some of his routines, but I’m past that much motion.  I knew I needed a leader because I don’t do exercises to their maximum benefit left on my own. Just mindlessly walking/jogging on the treadmill is good, but it doesn’t hit all the body parts that need work.

I searched around Youtube some more and came across Coach Kozak and his Hasfit programs. This young man and his associate Claudia have a large variety of routines to fit about any need, from 15-minute starter exercises to 30-minute bust your bun types. Coach K does the harder and Claudia the easier version of each exercise. The wide variety of movements he suggests work well with my body. He encourages with semi-corny but upbeat statements like “Every winner was once a beginner” and “You may not be doing this move easily but remember, you’re lapping everyone who’s sitting on the couch.”

You’ll notice an improvement in a few days

After tuning in to Coach K about four times a week, I can feel that I’m more flexible and stronger in my shoulders, back, stomach, and legs. My balance and mobility are better. This is so important for older folks in general and particularly for outdoorsmen of all types, especially golfers and fishermen because of the repetitive motions involved.

When I play golf, I usually feel it the next day.  One promise I made to myself is that when courses do open, I’m going to spend time getting my back, shoulders, and core ready for the stressful motion of hitting a golf ball powerfully and smoothly while retaining good balance. Very few golfers really do an adequate job of warming up. Before they tee off on No. 1, they might do a 15-second stretching and rotating, but that doesn’t cut it. Those of us past 50 might have been ok with that when we were younger, but older folks need to carefully warm their bodies before the violent twists of a golf shot. Do a good warm-up before teeing off and you will see the result in your scores. Especially work on your core rotations.

Keep at it; don’t give up

Casting a lure or hitting a golf ball for hours on end is tough on shoulders, back, hands, and wrists. Try Coach K and Claudia, or one of several other similar programs in print or online, for some neat ways to get those muscles warmed and strengthened for optimum use. Their encouragement and peppy talk will be helpful in getting to the end of a tough routine. You’ll find that when you get into a habit of exercise, the benefits you derive will make you keep coming back. Of course, the coming back is key. So many folks get tired or bored with workouts and give them up after a short time. You may get sore, or you feel you just don’t have the time, or you’re too stressed, etc. One big positive is that even if you do fall ill with a cold, the flu, the corona virus, or whatever, you’ll find that being in good physical condition will make the illness more tolerable. Good lung power is a factor in warding off respiratory problems.

All of this is assuming that you put a premium on feeling good and being active. If you do, your life will be much more pleasant. Your patience with yourself and others will improve. Your optimism will get a boost. You’ll get more done. Your appetite and digestion will perk up and you’ll sleep better. Of course, eating right is super important as well. Remember:  Fruits and vegetables are your friends. I love my ice cream, cake, and cookies, so it’s a struggle for me too. Just remember that your body is a Porsche. Treat it like you want it to keep running smoothly for a lot more years, and it will respond.

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