Outsiders might not think it, but those of us that bow hunt know that there is a lot of physical stress that goes on during the hunt. Getting up and down from a tree stand, trekking to the perfect hunting location, or just simply carrying your gear out into the field could all leave you winded before the hunt even starts. If you are completely drained before you start your hunt, how can you expect to be successful? This is why it pays to be in shape, not just during hunting season, but throughout the year. Fact of the matter is though, that we don't all have the time. If you are looking for a few quick exercises you can do during the day that will improve your hunting fitness, I would suggest reading below.
If you are hunting in mountainous areas, or you have a long trek out to your hunting location then you know how important a strong set of legs are. Not only are you carrying your archery gear, but you are also carrying yourself against gravity. I suggest doing lunges 2-3 times a week in 10-15 minute intervals. I like to break up my 15 minutes into three 5 minute sets.
Planks are another one of those great all around exercises. Having a perfectly paved street is great, but how often is the ground that you walk on, in the field, level? I am almost certain that you will need to walk on uneven ground when you are hunting. If you are spot and stalk bow hunting, then it is imperative that you have a strong core to keep you balanced. These same core muscles are used to keep you tree stand hunters balanced when you are climbing the ladder. They are also used once you have gotten into place on your tree stand to maintain your stability. I typically do as many rounds of these as I can at a minute apiece. Then I rest for 10-15 seconds and try to do the next one. See how long you can last, and I am sure that you will thank yourself later.
Old Fashioned Running
There are so many new fitness fads out there that it can sometimes get lost that good old-fashioned running is great for endurance. Cardiovascular endurance is important for any type of hunter because you don't want to be huffing and puffing. The more endurance you build up, the more focused you can be out in the field when the moment hits. you would be surprised how much you lose focus when you are winded. The more you run, the better, but I usually like to do around 1-2 miles a day. I push it to 3-5 if I have the time/energy.
When you are out in the field, you need your body to run like a well oiled machine. You wouldn't keep your car for years without taking it to get serviced, would you? Why would you do that to your own body? You need your body to perform at its peak when you are out in the field. How else are you going to carry all of your bow hunting gear? If you do the required maintenance on yourself, there is no reason that you will not boost your performance out in the field. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments below.