I treat fossil exploration as a non-contact sport. I am always thinking about conditioning. When I return from my last field trip in the fall, I set plans to work out all winter to get ready for the spring trip. If you want to go on an expedition you can’t wait until the week before you leave to get into shape.
My expeditions can be very rigorous. I’m 77 years old and have always searched and hiked alone. I often walk for miles up-and-down ridges, draws and washes, and I need extra stamina to get it done. So while at home, I go to the gym at least 10-12 times each month for weight training on all my major muscle groups and I walk or run on many of the off days.
You may be able to explore with much less preparation, but I cannot take the chance. I plan to be exploring in my eighties, so I need to keep at it. If my body cannot keep up with the riggers, I will not find anything new.
Let Age Be A Number Not A Limitation
A note to any senior readers; it is never too late to consider this adventure. Jack LaLanne was right. Your condition will never get better until you get up off the couch.
Exercise takes a lot of time, but you can think of it as a savings account. To get something out you need to put something in. If you expect to make a withdrawal in the field and need an extraordinary physical effort, you better have made enough deposits before you left home. And like a savings account, it pays interest and dividends like more energy, mobility, flexibility, a rush of endorphins and a feeling of well-being.
When I look back over my life I see it has came out a little backwards. I am stronger and more fit today than when I was in my twenties. If you keep pushing yourself hard in the gym, you will be amazed at how far you can push in the field. Your body just responds. I exercise like my life depended on it!
On my 80th birthday I plan to be in the gym pumping iron. Where do you plan to be?
One last cliché (author unknown):
“Exercise may not add more time to your life, but it will certainly add more life to your time.”