“I’m fixin’ to go for a ride,” I called to my wife, Brenda. “Take your phone,” was her instruction. She wasn’t looking at me her attention on some word game played on an iPad. “I hope no one throws anything at me,” I added.
It has happened. Once while riding in Maryland someone tossed a full can of Mountain Dew at me and missed. The can landed in soft bushes and didn’t rupture. I picked it up, took it home and drank it later.
Another time, during a hot summer ride, a lady’s bathing suit top was flung toward me. It happened while cycling toward Savannah, Georgia on Highway 80 leading away from Tybee Island, Georgia. The lady who tossed the top was a passenger. There was no doubt it was her top. Aside from those two times spanning 36 years nothing else has flown my way aside from bugs.
“I hope no one throws anything at you either,” said Brenda still not looking. So, I asked her, “Look at what I’m wearing.” She looked then seriously warned, “Oh, be careful.”
Where we live is essentially Athens, Georgia. The SEC is a near religion and the University of Georgia Bulldogs practical deities.
I am a Graduate of the University of Tennessee among other schools. There I studied art and earned a ‘Professional Certificate’ in Cartooning – really. There is no ‘degree’ in cartooning. Although, many degrees are jokes. (The last sentence is a gift for proofreaders.)
The cartoon program was completed decades ago. I don’t believe the program remains in operation. It wasn’t likely to have been a moneymaker for the University. It was a fun program. There’s more money to be made teaching art and illustration pricing it out over 4 years with loads of electives and fees. It was a simpler time when cartooning was meant to be fun.
River has a serious problem leaving me alone while I’m trying to practice archery. She’d much rather I played stick, chase, or run with her. So, self-centered. If she is given a bone, I am entirely forgotten. Until the bone is gone.
It isn’t like she’s been ignored all day. After breakfast we run for a few miles. We avoid busy roads running mostly over trails in the woods we own and along the easement of nearby property. Until recently we cut through undeveloped land filled with trails. Those paths are now unavailable because a couple of guys think they’ll shoot deer on that land.
During archery practice, River needs to stay calm. She’s not too bad so long as I toss a stick between ends. If I fail to comply all barking will break loose. Sticks do the trick for a bit. A bone is better.
Running is part of my archery training. Being in as good of condition as I can I believe helps during long tournaments. If you compete you know you’ll be on your feet for hours. There’s a lot of walking involved.
The tournament this weekend is one where my age group will shoot: 70 meters, 60, meters, 50 meters and 30 meters. At each distance there are 36 arrows shot in 6 arrow ends. This works out to a total of 1.75 miles of walking back and forth. Here’s how I got that it:
70 meters is @ 77 yards. Round trip to the target is 154 yards. There are 6 ends and 2 “Official” warm up ends. That means 8 round trips of 154 yards or 1232 yards. At 60 meters, or 66 yards, the total is 792 (6 ends only – no practice, same for the other two distances), 50 meters, 55 yards or 660 yards, and finally 30 meters, 33 yards, for 396 a total of 3080. The sum of the distances in miles is 1.75.
That isn’t all – you’ll end up adding another 800+ yards per day walking to and from the car, to registration, visiting friends and firing off “unofficial” practice arrows. The total walked is going to be closer to 2.66 miles. Not far to walk unless you never walk a lot. This can be especially taxing when the temperature is expected to reach the upper 90’s while you’re walking back and forth and trying to hit a target with an arrow in between the hiking. Running can help reduce the impact of being unconditioned in such a situation. So, River and I run.
River is a great running partner. Afterwards, during archery practice she’s often times less than an idea spectator. Give that dog a bone.
This website gets on average 24,220 visitors per month. You’re a visitor right now. If you’re like most visitors you’ll read a couple of pages here before you move on. Of the articles I write the most popular ones deal with health and fitness.
I’m retired. Before I threw in the towel on my day job, that job had been in health and medicine; I learned a thing or two. Over the course of a long career I published over 100 articles about health, medicine, and the science used to create better care. Some of those works earned awards from medical congresses or science groups. Along the way I earned a good many patents. All that work was done in order to keep people safe and well.
What has always been an interest to me is how we age and why do some folks seem to live longer and age well? Over years I observed 5 areas where people who seemed to be living longer and aging well exhibited common traits.
I’ve put those common life-style observations into a book. The book is short less than 10,000 words. I had a goal to keep it under 10,000 words. Going over 10,000 words I felt might dilute the simplicity of those common traits.
If you’ve read much at this site you know I’m not a writer in the ballpark with Hemingway or Grisham. But, like this website, the ideas I’m trying to share do reach the reader. The book I’ve written is easy to read and gets the points across.
My book, Simple Ways to Add To Your Life, is available in Kindle format or paperback. It is also inexpensive at $4.99. You can purchase it on Amazon. Here a link:
Go Amazon and spend a few bucks on my book. The ways to living longer and aging well aren’t too difficult. Who knows spending $4.99 and reading the book might add some more time to your visit on Earth. If it does, it will be money well spent.
“VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise; that is, exercise of increasing intensity. The name is derived from three abbreviations: “V” for volume, “O2” for oxygen, and “max” for maximum. Maximal oxygen consumption reflects cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance capacity in exercise performance.” (1)
We bought an indirect calorimeter for our Department of Cardiopulmonary and Neurological Science where I once worked as the Associate Director. I’d been racing bikes and had hoped to be on the 1980 Olympic Team. That didn’t work out. I still continued to train. For fun, and to learn how to use the gizmo, my science buddies decided I’d be the perfect test subject. The measured result was 86. That’s high. I didn’t now it at the time. I’d paid very little attention to sports physiology being more interested in clinical physiology and disease management.
No, I have no idea what my current VO2 max is exactly. There is a calculation that estimates the VO2 max. Using that equation my VO2 max is 68.85. By the time a man reaches 65 there is an estimate drop in VO2 max by 30% compared to when he was in his 20s. That would give me a VO2 max of 58.
Calculated for me to be 68.85 compared to the general population calculated score of 58 for my age isn’t really out of the ballpark. The two scores are both high, which is what I’d expect. I still train a lot and do a lot of cardio work. Admittedly, I’m not doing the same quantity I did when I was training for triathlons. I feel it, the degraded level of fitness and it shows in my content of body weight.
Aside from weight I check my body fat content. When I competed in cycling and triathlons my percentage of body fat ran from 3.4% to 6.2%. These days it hovers around 9%. This percentage is in the range of athletes. My archery training program includes: stretching, running, archery, cycling, and weight lifting and is rather stringent. It also takes between 38 and 42 hours a week to complete (28 hours a week shooting). It is a pretty tight schedule and without a day off is would wear me down. But, all that work does help to keep me fit.
Today, aside from testing athletes, VO2 max is an indicator of health. Archers typically aren’t the subjects of indirect calorimetry to determine VO2 max. Most people, including archers, probably don’t care. It isn’t as if archers are running anywhere.
When I searched for VO2 max testing in archers on Pubmed I found 0 articles. Heck, you can look around at any archery tournament and recognize those athletes aren’t likely to be endurance running machines. (3)
However, VO2 max is an indicator of your health. A low VO2 max has been associated with poor fitness and health. Here’s a simple equation to estimate VO2 Max:
VO22 max = 15 x [HRmax(max)/HR(resting)]
Where, VO2 max is the maximal oxygen consumption
HR(max) is maximum heart rate (during exercise)
HR(rest) is your resting heart rate.
This is the equation I used to calculate my estimated VO2 max. (4) However, I exercised and used my actual heart rate rather than estimate the HR max. Then, the next morning before I got out of bed I recorded my resting heart rate. I think this is a better way to get the numbers. Those numbers were applied to the equation. There is an equation to get an estimated max heart rate. That equation never worked for me.
Take a look at your overall health. You may be an excellent archer and not be the most fit athlete. Being fit can help you in archery. You might be surprised to learn how many calories you burn during a tournament. (5) Staying fit can only help your shooting.
We were at pizza joint with a group of my wife’s friends. They’re mostly her friends from yoga. Yoga folks are pretty cool and I enjoy hanging out with them. As a rule they are all fit and health conscious. It never fails that one or two of them quiz me on the subject of my less passionate view of yoga. I don’t do yoga, but I stretch every morning for about half an hour plus or minus a few minutes here and there.
Mixed in with the purest yoga students there are runners who practice yoga. While I never bring up the subject of running many of them know that I run or at least have completed many somewhat difficult runs. (Brenda told them) They are all younger and will at times ask for advice. (Often the advice relates to a medical concern. Brenda also told them of me medical background.)
Sooner to later, like the yoga inquiry, I get quizzed about my running, which is only about 2 miles a day. That’s enough for me for the moment.
When I mention 2 miles a day jaws may pop open as if I’ve uttered a severely unacceptable comment or committed some sacrilege. One fellow asked me if I missed it referring to running longer distances. I said no, plainly and simply I don’t miss running long solo miles. If I keep the mileage at three or less per run River, my nearly 9-year-old lab, is happy to run along with me. Beyond 3 miles and she gets bored. At two miles she’s happy and I have company while running.
Another inquisitor asked me if I missed triathlons. (Brenda, again) He’s training for a triathlon. He’s heard I have completed lots of them. As with running, “Nope,” I answered. When I said “Nope” the yoga runners and yoga triathletes looked at me with saddened eyes as if I had nothing to live for.
“Look,” I said to the small audience watching to see if I was going to die on the spot, “I do a lot of exercise.” I added, “ I stretch every morning, which is a lot like your yoga. A number of the stretches are actually yoga moves.” The audience appear unimpressed.
Then, I pointed out that indeed I run only 2 miles a day. I also ride a bike by time rather than distance or some combination of time and distance everyday for an hour to 90 minutes. So, I pointed out I get a lot of exercise. The additional cycling seemed to satisfy many that I was doing the correct amount of physical fitness training.
I was going to mention that those exercise intervals are warm-ups sessions only. That the 2 to 3 hours per day doing those workouts are, in fact, not my primary sport. Further I didn’t mention that I head to the gym once or twice per week. All of which are secondary activities to the 2 to 5 hours per day of archery practice. It seemed to me, that in the setting of the conversation, bringing to light the nearly 8-hour day of work to be a decent archer would have been wasted breath.
Everyone around Brenda and I eating pizza was a lot younger. The top end age, outside of Brenda and I, was probably upper 30s to at most 42 years old. The majority of those in attendance were younger than our children. They all workout several times per week at yoga and a few do train to run or work toward completing an international distance triathlon. Most of them have jobs, not all, so working out or training much more than they’re doing takes a certain frame of mind. The question becomes what it is you want and what are you willing to give up to get it.
What I learned is that what time most of them put toward exercise and fitness max’ed out at around 14 hours per week. That’s good and overall for most people a lot of exercise. None of them is working toward any specific sport goal beyond a completion of some target event.
“I’m training to do a triathlon,” or “I’m training to run a 5K,” are great goals and eventual achievements. There is, however, a difference when your goals include breaking records, winning titles and championships, or being ranked top in the world. This difference in the meaning for the exercise or training in no way implies one set of priorities is more important than the other. There’s just a difference.
At the 2019 Georgia Field Archery Championship in the age group of athletes from 60 to 70 years old the prior State record was surpassed by three archers including the prior record holder having set the old record in 2017. In the women’s over 50 group a new record was set. That means two new records with four scores surpassing prior records were achieved. Outside of those Masters athletes only one other record was broken in the cub group. (1)
Looking at Masters athletes as a whole a group of investigators found that improvements among the Masters athletes is advancing more rapidly than among younger athletes.(2) The researchers stated that, “While younger athletes’ performance has stagnated, Masters athletes improved their athletic performance significantly and progressively over the years. The magnitude of improvements was greater in older age groups gradually closing the gap in athletic performance between younger and older participants.”(2)
If you have read my writing here you’ll know that I’ve been offering the opinion that Masters athletes are being overlooked by sports companies. We, the older athletes, are indeed reaching new levels of skill not seen from past performances. I remain steadfast in my belief that companies bypassing the recognition, particularly in the US, of Masters athletes are missing a major market opportunity. (Wake up -Nike, Elite, Hoyt, Mathews, UnderArmour, and you other sport companies and smell the sweat.)
There are lots of articles at this site about the benefits of exercise. Some people exercise their entire lives. Others are professional athletes where various forms of exercise are their work. For some of us exercise is an activity done at best a few times a week. For too many people exercise is an activity they avoid.
When we see young fit glorified professional athletes we are amazed at their being ability. You may think, “I could never do that.” Perhaps, it is outside your ability. If you are 5 feet 4 inches tall, age 50 and overweight, you will not ever play in the NBA.
You do not need to be a professional athlete to be fit. You don’t need to be 6 six 8 inches tall to enjoy playing basketball. Being fit has nothing to do with professional athletes. There are a lot of ex-professional athletes, now in the 50s and 60s who are massively out of shape. There are also plenty that remain fit. There, too, are amazingly fit individuals that have never earned a dime in sport.
Being unfit can reduce how long you get to live. I had a friend, tremendously unfit, who once said to me, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” He said this to me when we ran into one another after years of not seeing each other. I nearly didn’t recognize him. A few months later he fulfilled his statement.
A lack of fitness will increase your risk for: coronary heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, hip fracture, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, obesity, and being over weight. On the other hand exercise can lead a disability free extra 18.4 years of life.
Aging well is supported by fitness. If you are young begin now developing a life style that will lead to an enjoyable existence in your later years. If you have reached a point in your life that you feel too old to begin exercise you are mistaken.
In 2013 a group of investigators looked at physical activity and quality of life. They concluded that physical activity does improve quality of life. (1) It seems like a simple concept. Yet, the CDC has reported that 39.9% of the adult population of the US is obese. (2)
Of course, you do not need to become a marathoner, Ironman, or open water distance swimmer to be fit. Walking, too often over looked for the lack of glamour given it by sports apparel corporations, is an ideal method to gain fitness. (3)
If you are reading this and you are an unfit archer you are on a path that can improve your fitness. Already you walk, back and forth to retrieve arrows, when you practice. You may not be able to practice archery everyday, but you can walk everyday. Adding more walking to your archery-training plan will improve over health and fitness.
On the internet I stumbled across an interesting article about archery.(1) It was based on a survey. Years ago I ran a studies that collected survey data. In that research we needed to be certain the data submitted was correct. In order to do so we contracted with a major university that audited cancer surveys. They’d developed a program that would sort suspicious entries. Those entries could then be questioned and verified. The archery article I read had in the results data that I found questionable. (1)
What caught my attention among the data on this survey were the hours that 2% of the respondents stated they practiced per week. (1) Those archers submitted they practiced more than 50 hours per week. That seemed like a lot of practice.
I asked some professional athlete friends how much they trained per week. They train closer to 30 hours per week (triathlon/cycling). More training than that and the return on training begins to diminish. I searched and found that as a group professional athletes practice about 5-6 hours per day 6 days per week. (2) That’s, around 30 hours per week.
There a limit of what the body can absorb from training. If someone is pushing 50 hours per week, allowing for a 6 day week (assuming, perhaps erroneously the 50+ hours per week archers give themselves a rest day) that is 8.33 hours of archery practice per day. It seems like a lot of archery in a day.
He’s my schedule:
I shoot and train about 30.5 hours per week. I do not have another job so my days are clear for athletic work. Not all of that 30.5 is shooting arrows. I shoot arrows on an average two and a half hours per day broken, mostly, into two sessions. I spend an hour per week at the gym, 2.5 hours stretching, 6 hours running, and 7 hours cycling. This time does not include video review or study. I have one day off a week. There are training cycles where this varies, this is an annual analysis.
Now, you my think that shooting arrows about 14 hours per week will take a long time to reach 10,000 hours, the number of hours often associated with elite performance.(3) If that 10,000 rule was an absolute, you would be correct. The 10,000 rule is not an absolute.
You may further think that 14 hours per week shooting is the extent of training. Here you would be somewhat incorrect. Indeed, it is archery practice. However, the other elements of training, the stretching, running, going to the gym, and cycling are all components to becoming a better archer.
Shooting a bow for more than 90 minutes at a time is a long time. So, I typically break up archery practice into morning and afternoon practice sessions. Aside from not becoming too physically fatigued, and increasing the risk of an injury, it means I have what I consider the best time frame for mental focus. Too long at practice and it is easy to become mentally tired which can be followed by sloppy form.
The brain needs a break as well as the body. Anyone practicing archery for 50+ hours per week is likely headed toward injury or burnout. Personally, I question archers who claim to be practicing 50+ hours per week. Their math may be wrong or they may be including other activities. Either way, 50+ hours is a lot.
How many hours per week do you train? (The answer is for you, this is not a survey)
Part of my overall training for archery includes cardio fitness exercise. In that essential area are running and cycling. I’ve done a lot of running and cycling. Often, while cycling or running along side of a rural road I see a turtle trying to make it to the other side of the road.
Turtles aren’t known for speed but they do have endurance. In that matter I can relate. Whenever I see one on the road I pause to help it across.
Today I crossed paths while riding my bike with a large turtle and gave it a tow handed lift to the other side of the road. This turtle never completely ducked back into its shell. Perhaps it knew I was hoping to help.
On the round trip I checked to be sure I’d headed it in the correct direction. I was pleased to find it making progress.
Some of the places I’ve lived and trained on a bike:
Savannah, Georgia, Easton, Maryland, and New Hope, North Carolina, are all coastal cities. The cycling there is primarily flat. There’s wind, but there are no hills. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania there’s not much wind, there isn’t a level road in the city. In Pittsburgh you are screaming in pain on a climb or screaming in terror at 48 – 52 miles per hour going downhill. Cleveland, Ohio, where I lived near Lake Erie is flat. Kennesaw, Georgia has rolling hills and not much wind. Augusta, Georgia and Statesboro, Georgia had some hills and were easy on the wind for cycling.
Athens is unique. Athens has nice rolling hills with some decent climbs – nothing of the Pittsburgh caliber. What is unique is the wind. There’s always wind. The wind here is practically coastal in nature.
Wind is an environmental element that anyone who plays outside must deal. The only times, it seems, when the wind is calm are at times like these when I’m typing, glancing out the window, and see no limbs or leaves moving. Of course!