Getting Physical: A little can go a long ways
As July is upon us, many of us are thinking about the upcoming season. Here in Montana, we are 2 months from the start of archery season. With this in mind, most of us are thinking about what we need to do to get ready for upcoming hunts. This includes going through our gear, practicing shooting, and trying to get in shape. Season may still be a few months out, but now is the time to make sure you will be ready for the hunt.
This month we wanted to touch on getting physically ready for a hunt. Of course, being in the best shape possible will always benefit you on your hunt. But sometimes all it takes is a small amount of physical activity now, to make a big difference on the hunt. We aren't neccessarily going to preach that you need to train for triathalons, in order to be ready for your upcoming hunt. There are lots of programs and workouts out there, that will get you in shape for a grueling 10 day sheep hunt. These programs are great and always benficial, but not for everyone. We'll touch on these programs and then also touch on some small things you can do that will make a big difference.
We realize that it isn't easy to dedicate an hour or more to working out and getting in the best shape possible for a hunt. Instead, it is an easier task to dedicate a half hour to taking a walk around the neighborhood. If this is something that you don't do anyhow, on a regular basis, this would be a great start to getting your joints, muscles, and heart moving a bit more than usual. Truly this is the difference in going out on the first day of the hunt and hiking around, only to wake up the next morning all stiff and cramped. Your body just isn't used to it. Something as simple as taking an evening walk, is sometimes all it takes to get your joints and muscles ready for a day on the mountain.
We can now take our workout to the next level and add some things to build muscle and endurance. After a while, your evening walks will become easy and you are breezing through them. At this point, put some stuff in your pack to give it some weight. Start taking your walks with the pack on and some weight in it. You'll suddenly feel the pull on your shoulders and back. You might as well get sore from the weight of your pack now, rather than the first couple days of your hunt. Now is also a good time to do some sit ups and push ups in the morning or evening. These simple excercises will work on core muscle groups that will help you endure steep climbs and long hikes.
As we mentioned in the beginning, there are plenty of companies that have sprung up with workouts that are focused on backcountry and hunting experiences. One such company, MTN Tough Fitness Labs, is based here in Bozeman and has really focused on workout routines for hunters. They seem to have recognized that not everyone can make it to a gym, or maybe even wants to go to a gym. So they have tailored their workouts to online formats, so the user can workout at their convenience. These workouts focus on building functional strength, durability and endurance. They have several workouts that have been tested and proven to work. Check them out at MTN TOUGH.
As we start to shine the light on the 2018 season, it is the perfect time of year to begin some sort of routine to get yourself in shape for the hunt. Anything is better than nothing, and something as small as an evening walk will prove to go a long way. The key is to find a balance of what will push your body just a bit. When you begin to push your body during a hunt, your body won't start to push back quite as quickly. Your body will always push back, that you can count on. What you do now and how physically prepared you become, will get you further in the hunt and help you combat that push back.