in the middle of the hunting season, it might sound strange to worry
about getting enough exercise.
those of us past 50, however, maintaining a conditioning program
through fall and winter can be a life-saving tactic.
for those who have never had any threatening health problem diagnosed,
staying in shape for wading delta mud or hiking Ozark or Ouachita
mountainsides is important.
pattern has been to begin a serious attempt to get in shape before
fall arrives and then to slack off once squirrel, deer, ducks and
such take over my spare time.
a person doing such things daily is unlikely to lose much from his
preseason level of conditioning. But most of us get to spend only
one or two days outdoors each week.
means we get weaker and weaker as the season progresses, unless
we work to maintain our stamina level on those town-bound days.
I have two Labrador retrievers sharing my duplex apartment, I have
to walk a minimum of four miles a day just to keep them happy. Frequently,
each dog gets at least a mile walk sometime between 1 a.m. and 4
a.m. Sure, I could probably swing a bank loan and buy a portable
kennel to hold those hairy beasts. But even then I would want to
take them for at least one long walk daily. I hate cleaning up after
them. Two or three hours of walking each day not only allows me
to avoid that chore but also keeps me ready to wade a swamp or climb
a steep hill. In fact, I am still playing softball each Sunday afternoon
with a group of energetic 20-something guys and gals. Often, I am
the only one with enough energy to want to keep playing until dark.
I didn't have the dogs to force me to walk daily, I'd likely spend
a bit of time playing basketball two or three times a week to keep
in shape. That would be even better than walking, of course. Occasionally,
I tie a dog to a fence for a time and shoot hoops with some of the
neighborhood youngsters when they are playing in the park near my
the walking is enough at my age. Younger hunters, of course, move
a lot faster and go a lot further than I do. So they need basketball
or jogging or bicycling to stay in shape. But everyone needs some
extra exercise to be in shape for tough winter hunting conditions
when mornings can be brutally cold and afternoons can be stifling
hot in Arkansas' flatlands.
may be those whose work requires a lot of exercise. They are lucky.
Sitting at a computer terminal as I do 40 hours a week is the opposite
of exercise. I have to be grateful to the dogs, even when rain or
snow or ice on the street makes me want to stay indoors in the middle
of the night.