Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. At 41 years old I’m not in the best physical condition of my life. I certainly know better…but taking the time to get into a “fitness routine” has not been something I’ve been able to accomplish successfully during the past 8 years.
I must also confess that during these past eight years I have worked part-time for one of Minnesota’s largest private ambulance services – North Memorial Ambulance. While I’ve let my body slowly deteriorate…I’ve also witnessed countless heart attacks and other serious medical conditions befall individuals who were just not as lucky as me.
Case in point was last fall when I was “off-duty” but my pager alerted me to a “hunter having a heart attack” in the woods about two miles from my home. I did the Good Samaritan thing and responded to help out however I could. After driving my truck back into the woods about ½ mile (in deep snow, I might add), I finally located the hunter lying in the snow on the road. He was in his early 50s, looked quite ashen in appearance and was definitely having a serious acute medical condition. I safely drove him out of the woods…met up with the ambulance…and knew right away this guy needed help…AND SOON!!!
As things turned out…he wasn’t having a heart attack. Instead, he was having a “brain bleed” which required immediate surgery to evacuate the pressure this was causing in his head. At the scene he was in such denial and simply refused to go to the hospital. Eventually, however, I wore him down and explained the seriousness of his symptoms. Had he not listened to me…well, there’s a good chance he might now be dead.
Denial is one of the signs we are trained to look for in medical patients. It is particularly present in men (who are stubborn) and will not accept the reality of a situation. On top of that add the fact that deer hunting season only lasts a few days each year…well, most hunters quickly reason they do NOT have time to get sick during hunting season.
Well, I am announcing publicly that I am making some changes to my once-upon-a-time mostly sedentary routine. What am I doing? I purchased one of the neatest little devices that is slowly adding some “wellness” back into my life. I purchased an Omron Digital Pedometer that is truly an awesome little device. My goal is to add 10,000 steps daily to my routine. This device even measures aerobic steps (that would be walking at a pace of 100+ steps/min.), distance, calories burned, etc. Check it out here.
To complement this new toy I have also signed up at www.JustMove.org. This is a wonderful web-based fitness journal that can help you track your progress and set important weekly fitness goals.
This fall, when I’m out pheasant hunting or tracking a deer, I don’t expect to get winded quite as easily as I may have in the past. I’m accepting the reality that I have plenty of work to do to get this decrepit old body back into its mid-20s physical condition…but to better enjoy the outdoors somehow seems to be an incentive making it all worthwhile.
© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.