Making A Commitment Now that you put down your deposit and made a commitment to your hunting outfitter it is time to make a commitment to yourself. One can be in shape and enjoy all aspects of the hunt to the fullest or be out of shape and suffer from the demands of the hunt.

Now that you have decided that you are going to be fit for the hunt the decision to carry out a physical fitness program cannot be taken lightly. To be successful exercise must become a daily routine. The routine will become easier as you start to feel the benefits of fitness verses the risks of an unsuccessful and painful hunt.

Determine Your Health If you’re in good health, you may not need to see a doctor before beginning a fitness program. However, it is always good to consult your physician if you have any questions or health concerns. For persons in good health or those following a doctor’s advice usually vigorous exercise involves minimal health risks. More often greater risks are present by habitual inactivity and weight gain. The F I T Plan To make fitness improvements, you need to work your body harder than usual. As your body becomes more conditioned, you need to increase the frequency, intensity, or time of your workouts in order to continue improving your fitness level.

Frequency: How often you exercise. For beginners, consider starting with 2-3 sessions per week. Intensity: How hard you exercise. For example, the pace you walk or run, the amount of weight you lift, or your heart rate. Time: How long you perform an activity. Time can also refer to the number of sets or repetitions you perform in weight training. Patience is essential. Don’t try to do too much too soon and don’t quit before you have a chance to experience the rewards of feeling fit. The prize will be an enjoyable and rewarding hunt. Remember you can’t regain in a few days or weeks what you have lost in years of living without a fitness program. However you can feel fit if you persevere

Exercise Part 1: Warm-Up. Plan a warm-up consisting of 5-10 minutes of exercise activities, such as walking, slow jogging, knee lifts, arm circles or trunk rotations. Low intensity movements that simulate movements to be used in the activity can also be included in the warm-up.

Exercise Component 2: Aerobic Exercise Aerobic exercise increases the function and health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. For maximum effectiveness, aerobic exercise needs to be rhythmic, continuous and involve the large muscle groups primarily located in the lower part of your body. A program should have at least three 20-minute bouts of continuous aerobic, rhythmic exercise each week. Popular aerobic conditioning activities include brisk walking, jogging, , rope-jumping, rowing, swimming, cycling cross-country skiing, aerobic dance, stair climbing and some continuous action games like handball and racquetball. Activities combining upper and lower body movements such as rowing, swimming and cross-country skiing, can lead to even higher levels of aerobic capacity.

Exercise Component 3: Strength Training and Muscular Endurance Strength training is the process of exercising with progressively heavier resistance to build or retain muscle. Unless you perform regular strength exercise, you may lose up to one-half pound of muscle every year. Muscle tissue is very active with high energy requirements, even when you are sleeping your muscles are responsible for over one quarter use of calories. An increase in muscle tissue will cause a corresponding increase in the number of calories your body will burn, even at rest. For muscular strength training plan for a minimum of two 20-minute sessions per week that include exercises for all the major muscle groups. Lifting weights is the best way to increase strength. For Muscular endurance plan at least three 30-minute sessions each week that include exercises such as calisthenics, sit-ups, pushups pull-ups, and weight training for all the major muscle groups.

Exercise Part 4: Flexibility Flexibility is often overlooked however it is a critical element of an exercise program. Stretching is important for a number of reasons. It increases physical performance, decreases risk of injury, increases nutrients and blood supply to the joints, improves balance, increases neuromuscular coordination, reduces soreness, reduces stress in muscles and decreases risk of low back pain. A flexibility training program should consist of ten to twelve minutes of slowly performed daily stretching exercises. This can be included after a warm-up or during a cool down sessions.

Exercise Part 5: Cool-Down Cool down a minimum of five to ten minutes of, low-level exercise, such as slow walking combined with stretching.

In selecting and exercise routine choose an activity that you enjoy. If you like it you it will be easier to pursue it enthusiastically. Experiment with different types of activities. Cross train by alternating new activities with old favorites will keep your enthusiasm high. Cross training can also help prevent injury due to repeatedly doing the same activity

Don’t forget that any activity, any time of day, uses your muscles and contributes to fitness. Try working in a little more movement in your daily routines. Use these suggestions or make a list of extras that best fit your own circumstance:

* Mow your own lawn and weed your garden. * Run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. * Park at the end of a parking lot and walk further to the office or store. * At noon walk a few blocks before you go back to work. * Get up from your desk during the day to stretch and walk around. * Instead of watching television go for a walk. * Increase your pace while taking out the trash.

A fitness program allows time to anticipate the dream hunt. While on the hunt it allows total ability to go where the trophy animals are located.

Have a Great Hunt

Tom Loder, Panhandle Outfitters Inc. 888-300-HUNT