The outdoor resolutions for 2010

That may have been the problem. Since I ran that crazy half marathon in September, I have wanted to eat everything I have seen since I crossed the finish line, hence the sea food diet I have been on.

My workout partners have been asking me to start this new workout called “Insanity” since Thanksgiving. Basically, it is supposed to be so hard that only the insane can accomplish the 60 day total body transformation without needing a personalized tombstone. That’s been weighing a little heavy, since I know that my self-restraint around every holiday cookie known to man, the full refrigerator of desserts, and of course every main dish cooked just like grandma did during the Christmas season couldn’t be passed up. It would be disrespectful to my family and my stomach.

So my response to the “new improved kill myself workout” was “I’ll start it January 4th, since my holiday buffet will be all but over and my new life insurance policy will be kicked in!” That’s not a resolution, but just a fact. Who can pass up the delights of the season, and stay on a workout regiment during a festive time meant to spend with family and friends?

For many people January 1st is the official start of their newly attempted workout program and the hundreds of workout videos and equipment in the weekend advertisements prove it.

Being physically fit to an outdoorsman oftentimes doesn’t seem to be a priority, but it should be. This last deer season there seemed to be more deaths from the deer stand than in years past. The first thing that entered into most of our minds when there was a report of a death from a tree stand was an accidental fall, but I’m referring to heart attacks.

Twenty years ago, a safety belt or harness for a deer hunter was nearly unheard of, but now it is just a common sense article of equipment for the serious hunter. With that said, we as a group are safer in the stand, except for our personal health.

A couple weeks ago, I observed my own chubby self as I made the trek to the stand. The walk to the stand was not just a leisurely nature hike, but instead a watchful, cautious, well foot placed creep. The body was attempting to balance itself with every step, and with every misplaced step on a twig there was some sort of advanced heart rate to follow. 

If we hunters are lucky enough not to spook a herd of thirty-pointers by the time we grab a hold of the stand we are usually happy! With each step of the stand and each grip of the step above, hunters try and prevent that metal creek, or “clink” from the gun scope upon the ladder. After arriving atop our perch and finally getting zipped up, weapon in place, and gloves back on, one can’t help but sweat after that elevated sense of awareness. As deer hunters know, that needed next half an hour is a cool down period for the woods as well as the hunter. And then oftentimes without warning, there is that apparition of a monster buck that basically appeared from nowhere only 20 yards out. How does that happen? What happens to our heart rate then? 

Well, there is a nuclear style adrenalin explosion that seemingly could kill a gold medal, Olympic long-distance runner. That same cardiac stress occurs while walking through dense brush and snow jumping rabbits, or flushing those mind-boggling pheasant. That’s why outdoorsmen need to keep some of the pounds off while achieving some level of cardio fitness. That’s the only way to hunt longer fields at older ages, which is what we all want.

I don’t claim to be a fitness trainer or dietician, but there are some basic pieces of information that everyone should know to help stay more fit. We all hear about calories, but what exactly are they? Calories are nothing more than units of energy that we acquire from eating food. Our body uses these units of energy to function, but when we take in more calories than needed to supply our body with the needed energy, the excess is stored as fat. 

Everybody generally burns calories at different levels, and when men reach the age of 30, their body oftentimes burns 100 less calories per day than they did at a younger age. As one gets older, the body continues to burn calories at a slower rate which is bad on the doughnut gut!

There is a key to this predicament. First of all it is staying active. The more active you stay, the faster your metabolism will become, which is what you want to burn extra calories. I know that hunters and outdoorsmen in general just want to be outside and explore, and what better way than to cross-country ski. I picked up a set cheap at a garage sale last summer, which made it nice. I can basically ski anywhere I hunt, and oftentimes on property that doesn’t allow hunting. It’s a great way to introduce younger kids to the outdoors and skiing in general. Cross-country skiing builds the skills needed for beginner downhill skiing as well. 

Allen County has two parks that rent cross-country skis and also allow skiers to bring their own. They are Metea Park and Fox Island. These parks only rent skis when there are at least four inches of snow on the ground, but oftentimes will allow you to bring your own if there is less.

The next key to keeping the extra pounds off is watching your calorie intake and how many calories you burn through activity. I’m not saying to keep a note pad and write it all down unless you want to take it to the next level, but just being aware oftentimes does the trick. 

For example, a 45-year old guy weighing 170 pounds, with the height of nearly 6’, that does very little exercise from their desk job, should only have a 2000 calorie intake per day to keep those extra pounds from building up. 

The good news is that the more activity or exercise one does, the more they can eat and stay fit. Eating is one of my favorite things to do, and exercising is almost worth being able to eat whatever I want and make the long day hunts.

Here are just a few approximate examples of how many calories are burned per hour during different activities; sleeping 71, ice fishing 150 (depending on if they are biting), hunting 387, ice-skating 387, cutting wood 469, sledding 530, and downhill skiing 673. 

If you get the hankering to learn how to downhill ski and enjoy what winter has to offer while burning some calories, look into Swiss Valley Ski Area, Bittersweet Ski Area, or Timber Ridge Ski Area. They are all within a couple of hours from here in the lower part of Michigan and make a great day trip, while not spending tons of money. Before you go, make sure to research daily specials or coupons, most times you can save 50% by being researching first.

Lastly, when thinking calories, just remember if you burn more than you take in, you are bound to lose some weight! Before getting too crazy with your fitness program, make sure your doctor is on the same page you are, and make the most of our winter wonderland. Have a Happy New Year!

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