Fitness for the Outdoors

TEXAS TACTICAL by Dustin Ellermann
February 24, 2024
February 24, 2024

Getting Physical on the Water and in the Field

Feature Story by PAUL FUZINSKI

LISTEN: (3 minutes, 32 seconds)

THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS of both hunting and fishing always catch up to us, most often when we are in the middle of a hunt or at the end of a long day on the water. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or passionate angler, understanding the importance of simple exercises will not only improve your success in these pursuits, but also ensure a safer and more enjoyable time in the great outdoors.

A strong heart and lungs translate to better stamina and less fatigue during long outings. This is where cardiovascular activities like jogging, cycling, and swimming shine. These exercises not only build endurance, but also mimic the continuous, steady effort needed in the wild. Interval training can be especially beneficial, as it mirrors the bursts of energy required for hauling game out of the woods or battling a stubborn catch. Incorporating these cardio workouts into your routine a few times a week can significantly enhance your hunting and fishing experiences. 

Bowhunting is an especially demanding physical sport.

Bowhunting is an especially demanding physical sport.
(Photo: Paul Fuzinski)

When it comes to hunting and fishing, strength is more than just muscle; it’s about resilience and capability. A well-rounded strength training regimen, focusing on the core, shoulders, back, and legs, not only enhances performance but also minimizes the risk of injuries. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses and rows are perfect for building the functional strength needed in the wild. These workouts simulate the actions of lifting heavy hunting and fishing equipment, climbing hills and mountains, or hauling your kayak over land and shallow river areas. 

Often overshadowed by cardiovascular and strength training, flexibility and mobility are vital for any hunter or angler venturing into the wilderness. These two abilities are helpful in navigating uneven terrain or casting a line with precision. Regular stretching routines, targeting key areas such as the hamstrings, back, and shoulders, can greatly improve both mobility and flexibility. This also promotes better blood flow, which is essential during long, static periods of waiting for game or fish (think sitting in a tree stand or blind and boat). By integrating flexibility and mobility exercises into your regular training, you ensure a more enjoyable and injury-free experience in the wild. 

Balance and coordination are as critical as physical strength or endurance. For hunters, maintaining balance is essential when moving across uneven ground, climbing tree stands, or steadying for a shot. Fishermen, too, require a keen sense of balance, particularly when casting lines from the unstable surface of a boat. Simple practices like standing on one leg or using balance boards can make a significant difference. By honing these skills, you equip yourself not only for success in your outdoor pursuits, but for safer and more enjoyable adventures in nature’s unpredictable setting.

Each element mentioned above plays a vital role in hunting and fishing success. Honing specific skills pertinent to hunting and fishing, coupled with robust mental preparation, completes the arsenal needed for thriving outdoors. Whether you’re aiming for your next big catch or a trophy hunt, incorporating these exercises into your routine will elevate your experience, ensuring you’re well-equipped for the challenges and joys of the great outdoors.


Fit for the Outdoors

This enlightening episode of the Aptitude Outdoors Podcast delves into the essential aspects of staying physically fit for hunting and fishing. The episode begins with a comprehensive introduction to why fitness is crucial in these outdoor activities, highlighting the physical demands ranging from hiking to your tree stand to navigating through rugged terrains with gear.


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