As the final days of cool weather pass and water temperatures warm, visions of lakes, farm ponds, streams and more importantly, the various species of fish that live in them become more frequent in my mind. Now most of you have already read the title and chuckled about the importance of physical fitness when it comes to angling but there are some solid reasons why targeted exercises and workouts may be beneficial. You don’t need to do countless hours of aerobic exercise to catch a smallmouth but adding a few exercises to a daily routine may help you get more out of your excursions this summer.
It takes very little effort to sit in a lawn chair and cast a bait to the bottom of a farm pond (what I intend to do very soon) but for those of you who kayak, canoe or wade, you will be challenged in the field.
Some of the key points of interest include:
🐟 Weak and tight low back muscles can make a fun day on the water miserable
🐟 Walking downstream is not problem; walking upstream can wear a fellow out
🐟 Poor balance can make traversing swift currents or rocky, slick bottoms while wading treacherous
🐟 Weak upper back muscles and rotator cuffs can suck the fun out of fly fishing and make pulling back a bow all day a chore
🐟 And…none of us are getting any younger so slowing down Father Time is a key consideration
Bill Cooper , outdoor writer and host of The Wild at Heart on ESPN 107.3, has been fishing Missouri waters for a long, long time and has personally experienced all of the above. Bill believes “Staying physically fit greatly adds to the enjoyment of fishing and being in the outdoors. Being fit allows you to fish longer, harder and smarter. A common problem among anglers is lower back pain. I had it too many years ago after an injury where a doctor told me I would be in a wheelchair within 5 years. I opted to take control of my life and began a simple exercise of flexing my hips up and down for a few minutes each morning before I get out of bed to strengthen the muscles of my lower back. Almost 40 years later, I am still going strong and a wheelchair is the last thing on my mind.
There are fish to catch.”
You can read about Bill’s adventures by visiting Outside Again Adventures.
So how does one get fit to go fishing? We are so glad you asked!
Start with balance:
Our favorite drill is the single leg stand. To perform a single leg stand you….are you ready for this….you stand on one leg. This can be done in the office, at the gym or while carrying on a conversation about fishing. Simply stand on one leg for 10 to 30 seconds. When you lose balance or have to put your foot down, switch out and repeat on the other side. Perform two to four cycles per day.
Increase your range:
Stretch daily; especially your calves, hamstrings, glutes and low back muscles. The more pliable the better and while it is possible to be too flexible, I have never had this problem in the fishing population. Hold each stretch 10-30 seconds and repeat up to five times. Foam rolling is also incredibly beneficial to keep muscles loose and aid in recovery.
Here is a short video on how to roll hamstrings:
Leg strength and muscular endurance is VERY important for wading streams. Simple movements like squats and leg presses are important but so is lateral movement. Knee problems? No worries. If you work with an experienced fitness coach or personal trainer they will be able to help match the right exercise for you; most of which can be done with little to no equipment. Remember, we aren’t going for world records in weight lifting. We are simply increasing functional strength that translates to the field.
Here are two of our favorites:
Build your core:
A few years ago I went on an all day excursion near Boca Grande, Florida in search of snook and redfish. After a few hours of balancing on the stern of the boat, my low back began to tighten. I was in great shape for dry land by my sea legs needed a little work. One exercise that can be performed anywhere is the bird dog. Perform two to three sets of 10-15 reps every other day and you will see a noticeable difference in your core strength and low back health:
Rotate for stronger casts:
Rotate those rotator cuffs that is! Internal and external rotations are an incredibly simple move that can be done with a small dumbbell or resistance band with handles. It is also a good preventative move that will keep your shoulders healthy and reduce the risk of an injury in the field. Perform two to three sets of 10-20 repetitions every other day.
A routine that can significantly boost your fishing fitness can be as short as 15-20 minutes and if you desire to only pick a few of the areas suggested above it may be less than that.
If we can help you piece together a plan that will help you get more enjoyment on the water this summer contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!