and Fitness By
Fishing can be tough on the body. Fighting waves, working motors,
standing upright, and firing off repeated casts can easily put
strain on overworked limbs, joints, and muscles. Injury is the
worst-case scenario, but for the most part, a lack of comfort and
the ability to power through a day on the water will both be greatly
diminished. Bottom line is – fitness can enhance your fishing
experience, hands down.
I think of myself as a fairly fit guy. But I have had my share of
bumps and bruises along the way. One season I felt the crippling
effects of “flippers elbow.” Being a dyed-in-the-wool largie guy, a
reliance on this particular technique – and the repetitive motion it
involves – left me with a taped up elbow, on pain meds, and barely
able to lift my prized flipping stick for a few weeks. That was a
tough pill to swallow.
Last week came more news. Having had pain in my left shoulder since
Christmas, a visit to the doctor and an ultrasound gave me the
answers. I was diagnosed with calcific tendinosis of the
supraspinatous tendon causing mild impingement. I also had
thickening of the subacromion and subdeltoid bursa. It all became
clear what the route cause of this was after my first visit to my
physiotherapist. Her words still ring in my head over a week later:
“you have terrible posture!” Combine that “terrible posture” with 23
years of working a tiller motor, and over time, the injury has
manifested itself. The thickening of the muscle was a clear sign of
how much strain is put on the shoulder from repeated turns of an
outboard – year in and year out.
Fortunately, an injury of this type can be corrected through
strength conditioning and working the muscles and tendons in
different angles. Luckily, bass season is still five moths away!
These two stories are meant to illustrate how important staying in
shape is, and how being conscious of correct body posture and
alignment, while utilizing strengthening and stretching exercises,
can lead to a risk-free and more enjoyable time on the water.
Facts of Fitness?
Dave Mercer, Canadian fishing personality and host of Facts of
Fishing, has embraced a healthy lifestyle and made fitness a
priority in his life. This slimmed-down runner and gym-goer shared
his thoughts and views with me recently on his own road to fitness,
which hopefully can inspire more to be proactive in their approach
Justin : Hi Dave! Thanks for taking the time out of
your busy schedule to share some of your thoughts on fitness with
the readers of OFN e-Magazine. In terms of motivation, did you find
your prior level of health was creating any disadvantages when out
on the water?
Dave: To be honest, Justin, I never really felt
that it slowed me down at all. That is one of the great things about
fishing; you can do it at any age or level of fitness. But I really
think it’s one of those deals that you don’t really notice at the
time until you see how much better it can be. Now that I have been
working at getting myself in much better shape, I find I have much
more energy. The more energy you have, the longer and easier it
becomes to focus, so I think that will really help when out in the
Justin: What advantages do you feel can be gained
by leading a healthy lifestyle and appropriate fitness level – in
terms of tournament competition, spending long days on the water, or
the time on the road that a fisherperson endures?
Dave: Really everything! I sleep better now. When I
wake up I’m not tired. I have energy all day. No matter what you job
is, if you are doing it tired you are not doing it as well as you
could be. Making healthy choices and daily exercise has given me the
stamina to face every task head on and know I am doing it to the
best of my ability. Whether I am shooting a show, fishing a
tournament, or emceeing the Bassmaster Classic, I love knowing that
I am doing the best I can. As if that was not important enough,
another huge benefit is the smaller I am the bigger the fish are
going to look in the picture!!!! (insert hearty Mercer laugh!)
Justin: What are some of your goals in terms of
your own fitness plan?
Dave: One thing I am learning is that my fitness
goals and plans will always change. When I first started it was
never about making sure my butt looked good in a pair of jeans! It
was about getting healthy and that is still my goal. But I now find
myself doing things that I never thought I would even think of
doing. I have even decided that I will be running in a half marathon
this spring! Really, my life worked out way better than I ever
imagined. I have my dream job and an amazing wife and kids that I
could not love more, so I just want to be healthy and fit so that,
God willing, this does not end any time soon.
Justin: What advice do you have for anglers that
may be out of shape or overweight?
Dave: Just start. Starting is truly the hardest
part. When I first started running I was not really running … I was
actually walking. My goal each day was to make sure I made the time
and did it. Then after a week or so I started running for a minute
and walking for ten. Before I knew it, I was running for ten minutes
and walking for one. Now I run 5 to 10 km’s 6 days a week. However,
none of this would have happened if I did not get started.
I hope that my getting active will help inspire a bunch of people.
Because truly, if I can do it, anyone and I mean anyone can do it.
Just get started and don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way
to a better life.
One cool thing that I am lucky to work on is a campaign that I am
doing with Subway called Commit To Fit. In the next year you will
see a lot about it, but basically we are just asking Canadians to
Commit To Fit by making healthy food choices and getting active. It
is not a set program or diet. It is simply asking people to find an
activity that they enjoy and do it to get active and make better
Justin: Thanks for taking the time to share your
story, Dave. Yours is one that I am sure will inspire. Good luck
with the Bassmaster Classic!
Dave: Thanks, Justin!
Take a look in the mirror and eye up your posture. After talks with
my physiotherapist, bad posture is one of the leading causes of
injury and soreness. It takes a conscious effort to correct this
one, but once you do, the change you feel is immeasurable.
As anglers, we utilize a lot of movement when working a boat or
casting a line. Get into the habit of stretching before each fishing
trip, and again at the end. This will help in loosening up muscles,
and will lessen the chance of strain.
Work on the key muscle groups. Shoulders, forearms, and abdominal
all come into play when casting. Legs take a beating when working
trolling motors and through hours of standing. Weight lifting, daily
walks, and yoga can all help in strengthening key body parts, while
improving stamina and ability.
Eat healthy. Not only at home but in the boat. Long gone are the
days of chips, pop, and chocolate bars in my boat. Adequate water,
healthy snacks, and a nutritious meal will not only make you feel
better, but also perform better.
Make 2012 the year that change happens in your life. With open water
still months away for most of us, there is no better time to get
your body in shape for the coming fishing season.
* Please consult with your physician before beginning any
fitness or weight lifting plan or activity.
Editors & Publishers
T.J. & Monique Quesnel
Ontario Fishing Network
published 12 times a year on or near the beginning of every month. Our
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