This post is not a professional prescription to treat or cure any illnesses. Please see your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.
With that said, I can say that my first summer at York River State Park was a challenge. Due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise, my weight in 2009 was as high as 265 pounds. Fast food and convenience store meals took a toll on my waistline. I was complacent in thinking that I would get plenty of exercise hiking and paddling. Yeah, I did. But, it wasn’t very enjoyable. Looking at a photo of myself at our last kid’s fishing tournament was a wake up call. I couldn’t fully love my job unless I took the time to get in shape.
Despite my lack of consistency, I hacked off 30 lbs from that November to June of 2010. It was almost a night and day difference. Keeping ahead of energetic youngsters on hikes wasn’t as hard. Canoe and kayak trips were also easier, even when I had to recover from a capsize and tow some guest. What did I do? Divorce myself from the worst fast foods, practice yoga, and spend time at the YMCA for cardio and resistance training. Had I been more consistent, I would have had better results. But, walking and paddling at 235 lbs. was a lot better than doing them at 265. By at least changing my eating habits, I had regained only 3 pounds over the winter.
Now, I am back in the gym and stretching my body again. Fewer servings of processed meats are finding a place in my fridge. I am even making good use of a used exercise bike. The benefits have already shown themselves as I was not unduly sore and recovered well from a 7 to 8 mile hike with the Chesapeake Bay Sierra Club Meet Up group in January. Consistency and planning will make this a great season for me as I serve the park visitors and my free time wanderings.
Whatever fitness level you are at now, start where you are and do what you what you can. But with practical advice and suggestions from your doctor, up the ante if you want to get more from the outdoors. The “quadruple bacon and cheese SUICIDE BURGER” is not the best selection for lunch. A real friend in the gym will push you to be consistent and improve your routine. A $30 exercise bike and $10 dumbbells from a yard sale aren’t bad investments.