Elk NetworkGet Ready for Elk—without the Gym

Hunting | June 25, 2018

You don’t need to run marathons to hunt elk. But there are simple ways you can start getting ready to chase elk this fall. 

I have a 10-year-old Subaru Outback, and it still runs pretty well. I don’t drive it like a rental, and most importantly, I keep on top of the maintenance. Your body is no different—neglect and abuse it, and it will eventually break down. To be clear, I’m not a doctor, but my own doctor tells me to get an annual physical. Nearly every other medical source says to get an annual exam as well. Granted, no one likes to be told they have high blood pressure, they’re overweight or that a mole looks a bit odd. And yet caught early, most issues can be treated, leaving you with more and better time afield. Suck it up, go to the doctor and at least get a baseline evaluation of your health. Then, you can work to improve it. As always, be sure to check with your doctor before staring any exercise routine.

Pay attention

Nearly 40 percent of Bugle readers are between 35 and 54, and 89 percent are men. For those of you reading this who fall in this category, you’ve likely noticed some changes in your, ahem, physique. You don’t look like your 20-year-old self anymore because, if you’re like me, you eat and drink the same way you did back in your twenties. I hate to say it, but that has to change.     

Our metabolism (how we turn food into energy) slows as we get older. If we keep the same poor dietary habits, even with exercise, our waistline will show it. Plus, there’s high blood pressure, plaque build-up in the arteries—the list goes on.

By far, the physically easiest but mentally toughest thing we can do to get into elk shape is eat right. If it helps, don’t think of diet as a week- or month-long event. Get in the habit of thinking of diet as a lifestyle—and refer to diet as anything you ingest. My weaknesses are Cheetos and beer. I will splurge once or twice a week, but I really try to limit my intake of these luxuries.

As we age, we lose muscle mass, and that loss works to slow our metabolism as well. To counteract this and speed up our metabolism, we need to build muscle. If you don’t lift weights, a daily round of lunges, pull-ups, push-ups and core exercises works all the major muscle groups. And while your dog may look at you funny, all those exercises can easily be done while watching television.


A 2011 study found that Americans have become increasingly sedentary at their jobs. In the early 1960s, almost half the jobs in private industry required at least moderately intense physical activity. Now, less than 20 percent of jobs demand the same level of energy. The irony isn’t lost on me as I sit and write this. But at lunch, I’m heading outside for a walk. It’s not lot of exercise, but it’s something to get the blood moving again. And that’s the whole point.

Take every opportunity you can to move. Stuck in an airport for a couple hours? See how many concourses you can visit. Can you get up a little earlier before everyone else in your house for a quick walk around the neighborhood? Then go. If a colleague wants to meet, then skip the meeting room, take a notebook and go on a walk. A recent study showed that “spreading out physical activity throughout the day improved mood, decreased feelings of fatigue and affected appetite.”

By now, hopefully you’re able to see that getting and staying healthy is a lifestyle choice. A sound diet and exercise boosts your metabolism. It increases your libido. Plus, it improves your odds of keeping up with the herd next fall. And if you happen to connect with an elk, you’ll be glad you got in better shape once the pack out begins.