Kelly Bostian: Taking care of health important for outdoors experiences
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
1/01/13 at 5:51 AM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Health important for outdoors experiences
Mr. Pretzel is going away in 2013, that's my resolution. Care to join me? I'll get rid of him and you can get rid of - whatever it is that ails you.
I am Mr. Pretzel, by the way, or at least it's part of me. It's the name I give myself when the muscles on the right side of my back declare war on the muscles on the left side. This locks me in a pretzel-like posture, leaning to the right as I walk (when I can stand up), and it usually feels a little better when I walk if I hold my right arm out and back, just slightly.
Bent and curled, like a pretzel, I walk and bend cautiously because a careless move can put me down with a pulsing spasm that runs from the back of my leg to the back of my neck. It can take a long time to get upright again. It's a weak, miserable, feeling.
I've suffered with it off and on for years, at times being flat on my back for days. Little things can set it off. The other day I was just sitting on the edge of my bed, putting on my socks. Saturday afternoon it was getting out of my truck after a long drive.
Pulled muscles are no joke and take a frustratingly long time to fully heal, but I'm lucky and I know it. I've never slipped a disc or suffered a serious spinal injury.
That's why I know I can make Mr. Pretzel go away. This isn't so much about a medical issue, it's a lifestyle issue and I'm writing about it because I share the woods with a lot of guys who are either in the same boat, or might not have an injury now but are setting themselves up for one in the future.
Sure as you maintain your firearms, fishing gear and buy the best gear you can afford, conditioning your body to keep you happy outdoors is a vital part of the outdoor experience.
Few things refresh my soul like spending time outdoors, and it's purely sinful that I go through these phases where I fail myself in outdoors pursuits because I know how to take care of myself and just don't.
That's why I'm fuming as I write this, on Sunday, because my friends finished shooting a limit of ducks by 8:30 this morning and I couldn't be there. Two weeks ago I had a chance to go fly-fishing and had to bail out at the last minute for the same reason: back spasms.
The litany of injuries that wait for you outdoors when you're physically unprepared is long: pulled muscles, knee, shoulder, ankle and other joint injuries, and even more serious problems. Lord help me if someday I keel over with a heart attack in the middle of a decoy spread.
Although I'm the "outdoors guy," I can fully relate to what ails a lot of outdoorsy folks; we're stuck being desk jockeys all week and try to become woodsmen on the weekends.
I get outdoors for my job often, but the times I get outside just on my own, with no camera around my neck, are relatively rare.
I know the cure and I've been preaching it to outdoors enthusiasts for years. Do as I say, folks, not as I do. I've proven myself a heavyweight hypocrite when it comes to my own health. I've had my periods of weight trimming, in-shape performance outdoors and had my not-so-hot phases, like right now, so I know what it takes and I know how easy it is to let those good habits slip.
When this has worked for me in the past, the focus was on the positive. If I simply focus on losing weight that won't do it. When my friends go hunting and fishing I want to be with them. When I come home from a morning of slogging through mud in chest waders, I don't want to be so sore I can't walk.
I need to be in shape because I want to enjoy the outdoors, to not be a "load" when I'm out with better-conditioned hunting and fishing partners and to lessen my own risk of injury when I'm out in the woods.
Exercise, stretch, hydrate, and eat right. It's not that hard, but it's change that can be difficult. It's too easy to wake up in the morning and think of all the things you need to do on the computer rather than all the things you should be doing for yourself first. Just 10 minutes of stretching and warming up and 30 minutes of exercise goes a long way, even if you can't get to it every single day.
Eating right isn't that hard either. Come on, be honest, you know when you should and shouldn't eat and what probably isn't very smart about your diet. Even if you aren't on the end-all diet, just challenge yourself to do better than you have been.
So I resolve this: I will do what I can do, now, before I find myself sitting at home again with regret for what I cannot do.