Add a mountain bike to your fitness toolbox

The older I get, the harder it is to get in shape. I should have listened to my dad when he told me that it would be easier to stay in shape than it would to get fit again if I get out of shape when I get older. He was right.

You’d think I’d learn. Every year, though, I slack off on my exercise after the hunting seasons end, and the next spring and summer, I just about kill myself getting back in shape for the next hunting season.

My dad used to harp on me to keep exercising, saying it is easier to keep exercising than it is to get started again. As with a lot of things, Dad was absolutely correct. But I hope Dad doesn’t take it personally that I didn’t heed his advice. I’ve also found this out for myself year after year, but despite my first-hand experience, I keep falling back into that rut of getting out of shape, then struggling to get back into some semblance of fitness again.

It’s not all just ignoring advice from my old man and forgetting the pain of getting back in the gym after an absence, though. I’ve fought with plantar fasciitis for years, and that makes a lot of exercises hard to keep up. On top of that, the last few years I’ve had to contend with tennis elbow, too – and I don’t even play tennis. How unfair is that? So I’ve taken some time off to let those ailments heal.

But they’re not going away this year, and it’s time to get back in shape for hunting. So I’m going to have to just power through. I’ve decided to blow the accumulated dust off my mountain bike and start riding again. That should help some with the fitness, and it shouldn’t aggravate my old-guy aches and pains.

It might also lead to a new way to hunt. Mountain bikes have been catching on as a mode of getting hunters farther into the backcountry. Maybe this year I’ll try that. Then again, maybe not. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that. Let’s see how it goes just figuring out how to ride this thing again before getting too excited about hunting with one.