Wyoming Wildlife - September 2018

5 exercises can help aging hunters stay afield

A pull exercise is one of the five foundational movements to stay fit and age well.

By doing exercises to support these five techniques, you will improve your balance, your muscle mass and your cardiovascular endurance — all things you need for activities like hunting and fishing.

Chris Martin
9/5/2018 3:11:31 PM

Traversing mountainous landscapes to secret fishing holes and hunting locales isn’t just for the young. Older and aging adults can still hunt and fish alongside other outdoor enthusiasts, and many still are — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that seniors age 65 and older account for 21 percent of wildlife watchers, 14 percent of anglers and 20 percent of hunters.

What’s the secret to getting outside? According to Wyoming AARP Executive Council member and certified trainer Neil Short, all you need to do is get moving and stay active.

“All things you want to do, from hunting or fishing to hiking or canoeing, can be done with maintaining basic strength,” Short said. “And anyone can start doing this, no matter your age.”

Short, who teaches classes on aging well, explains adults begin losing muscle mass and function beginning as early as your 30s. This process is called sarcopenia. But, sarcopenia can be stopped and even reversed by staying active, which is why it is important to keep moving.

Short recommends mastering five basic body techniques that will get beginners into better shape for upcoming hunting or fall fishing trips: push, pull, hip hinge, squat and weighted carry.

“By doing exercises to support these five techniques, you will improve your balance, your muscle mass and your cardiovascular endurance — all things you need for activities like hunting and fishing,” Short said.

Training doesn’t even require a gym. Many exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment and objects found in the house or outside on the trail. All that’s needed is a hand weight, like a dumbbell or water bottle and an over-the-door suspension strap — a strap with two handles that is secured in a closed door. All this equipment is available at stores that sell exercise gear.

Short recommends beginners take five minutes to practice warm-up exercises and 20 minutes for strength exercises.

“With these movements you should grow to be more confident outside,” Short said.

Short also recommends practicing some key movements for hunting or any activity that requires you to safely lift heavy objects and walk with a pack.

“To lift anything from the ground, get right over the top of it. Stand in a squat, make sure your back is flat, grab the object and drive through the heels with your head in a neutral position. You can bring it down the same way,” Short said. “To get an object over head, bend your knees and push it up.”

Pulling a heavy pack onto your back works in a similar way. Short recommends leaning the pack against your shin, straps in hand. Then, by engaging your legs and core, lift the pack onto your knee and pull the straps over your arms. Taking the pack off works in the reverse.


Neil Short is a certified trainer based in Casper who specializes in aging well. He recommends a basic routine for getting in shape and staying healthy that should take five minutes for warm-up and 20-30 minutes for strength training. The goal is to do this routine three to five days a week. Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, work at your own pace and rest when needed.

Watch these videos to learn how to do these exercises, make modifications for your ability level and use the recommended equipment at:

Equipment needed: Weighted object (dumbbell, weighted plate, water bottle, dinner plate), over-the-door suspension strap

A warm-up routine is important for safe exercise.
• Basic get up (10 each side)
• Halo (10 each direction)
• Arm circles (10 each side)
• Hip rotators (10 each side)
• Basic squat (10 repetitions)

WORKOUT: This training routine supports the five basic body movements to get into better shape for outdoor life: push, pull, hip hinge, squat and weighted carry. Do these exercises one after another. Rest one to two minutes and repeat for a total of three cycles. Stop immediately if you feel any pain.

• Push up (10-15 repetitions)
• Overhead press (10 repetitions)
• Basic pull (10-15 repetitions)
• Standing upright row (10 repetitions)
• Basic hip hinge (10 repetitions)
• Basic hip bridge (10 repetitions)
• Basic lunge (10 repetitions on each leg)


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