Lakecaster Online

Of Bass & Gals
By: Sue Crochet

Are you ready? It's just around the corner! Before you know it, springtime bass fishing in Louisiana will be in full swing. Have you got your fishing equipment in order? Last month I gave you some tips for getting your boat, tackle and other equipment ready while the cold, winter months have you hibernating. How did you do? You've got some time left, but if you have some left to do, I'd be getting them done if I were you!

This month, I'd like to take about New Years resolutions. Have you made any? What about this one … "I'm getting myself on a diet and exercise program!" Yes, I make that one almost yearly myself. However, this year I plan to take it more seriously. I've noticed that a little more weight stays with me each year. With the added weight, I have less energy and those aches and pains seem to be increasing, and even lingering longer than they used to.

You're probably thinking, "Well, Sue, you're not getting any younger, you know!" This is true, of course, but getting older doesn't mean that we have to give up. Do you like to fish and hunt? Maybe you're still getting out and doing those things, but they have become less enjoyable because of aching joints and lack of stamina. I'm not saying that I think I should be able to "hang" as well as I did when I was 20 or 30, but at 48 years of age I don't think I'm supposed to feel like I'm 80 years old, either. As a matter of fact, I have some dear 70 and 80-year-old friends who appear to be more fit and energetic than I do!

As a fitness instructor and health nut for most of my life, I know from experience the benefits of exercise. Regular exercise along can tremendously improve your quality of life and without dieting, can help you to lose or at least maintain your weight. However, as we get older our metabolisms slow down and even with exercise, we must reduce our caloric intake in order to keep the weight off. Of course, there are many factors, such as medications and other physical limitations, that affect each of us and our ability to exercise and diet successfully. However, with the help of a health care professional, I'm sure we can all find a suitable program.

There are some simple things that all of us can do:
· Eat three well-rounded meals per day. Breakfast is the most important and by the end of the day, anything you eat in the morning has been burned with ordinary daily activities.
· Limit the amount of food on your plate and never go back for seconds.
· Eliminate white sugars/carbohydrates from your diet. All food sources are important to the proper function of the body, but as we get older, whole grain breads are better for us. Stick with whole grain cereals and breads if you have to have them.
Hint: If it's brown, it's better for you! Brown rice, stone ground wheat bread, whole grain pasta, whole grain cereals without sugar, sweet potato instead of white potato, etc.
· Choose fruit or nuts over candy, cakes or high-sugar snacks.
· Drink plenty of water (at least 8 8-oz. glasses per day). There is no better fluid than water for keeping our bodies hydrated and functioning properly at any age. It also keeps us from being as hungry!

Exercise is different. As I said, physical handicaps of all types can limit just how much we can do. However, most of us should set aside at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week, to participate in some type of aerobic activity. Now, aerobic does not jumping around or running a race. It simply means that the activity should begin slowly, working up to your maximum heart rate and sustained for at least 15 minutes. Once the heart rate is brought back down to normal, 5 - 10 minutes of stretching and deep breathing will make you feel like a million dollars.

Not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended on alternate days, are 15-30 minutes of muscle-toning exercises. These would include exercises that tone and strengthen the stomach, back, arms and legs and can be done sitting, laying down or standing. "Sitting?", you ask? There's not enough room here to explain in detail, but if you consult with a health care professional, I'm sure they'll be happy to show you a few exercises that you can work into your schedule each day.

Most health care professionals will tell you that there's no substitute for physical activity. My own personal testimony is that it stimulates the body and the mind, and most diet programs are rarely successful without it. However, as we age, it's more important to eat properly, as well as get proper exercise. Take a look at some of the most successful anglers in our country's history … Rick Clunn, Judy Wong, Jimmy Houston and Janice Cheek, just to name a few. These great anglers range from 40 to 60 years of age and have achieved sustained success in the sport of bass fishing for 20 years or longer. They didn't get there by eating Twinkies and laying around on their ……..!

Let's start the New Year off right … you and I together. In a few months we'll be a few pounds lighter and feeling younger than ever. Better yet, I bet we'll be catching lots more fish!

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