My recumbent bicycle (stock photo)
Yup, going to talk hardcore fitness for Hams.
Attend a hamfest and it is pretty obvious a significant portion of hams trend to the sedentary. Very sedentary to say the least.
There are exceptions – a Ham I know started running marathons as he approached retirement after he had decided to take grasp of his health. Let’s call these types of hams the “Proactive Fit,” reflecting their commitment and goals.
And there are plenty of hams who fall into the “Working Fit” category where genetics, employment and lifestyle leaves them relatively fit, though often as an afterthought rather the result of anything purposeful. These are the guys who often turn out for the field side of Emcom/Emgov activities.
But then we have the “Great Unfit” whose residual fitness comes from having to move their unfit bulk around. Often the “Great Unfit” imagine themselves as “Working Fit” despite not being able to hang in there if they were actually working.
For the point of my discussion I am not including the “Medically Challenged” as they best not take advice from anyone other than their doctors. Whether an ailment or something orthopedic or any of the other ways we end up medically challenged, their special needs are outside of the general fitness observations I’m sharing.
Also little point in addressing the “Proactive Fit” as they already “get it” concerning fitness.
There is is little fitness is required to participate casually in our hobby.
That low level of required fitness is actually a wonderful aspect of the hobby that allows handicapped and disabled participation in Amateur Radio. It is also a lifeline providing activity if your health changes to the worse, as unlike other hobbies you usually can still do radio.
A Recumbent Elliptical (stock photo)
Our “Working Fit” hams often become part of the “Great Unfit” when employment changes (retiring, or early perhaps being promoted to a supervisor becoming desk-bound), personal health changes, or life situation/stresses change. Yes there are some who stay “Working Fit” regardless of what life sends their way. Lucky rare are those folks. Most “Working Fit” suffer some sort of decline over time.
Addressing the “Great Unfit” is the biggest concern. This is a fitness level where your lack of fitness starts to curtail your hobby participation.
- Too heavy to walk the aisles at the hamfest?
- Not possible to do a DXpedition?
- You’d love to attend club meetings but can’t do the stairs?
You can do something about these sorts of issues!
Even if you find yourself in the “Great Unfit” category, do not despair – for most this is changeable.
There is a primary tool you will need to address the issue, a tool that by definition of being a Ham Radio operator you already shown you have superior skills using.
As a ham you already have held yourself to standards by being tested, have the persistence and patience to be on the air, and are thinking at a good level.
So you are already set to effectively use the number one fitness tool you have – your mind!
Yes you have to vision yourself as more fit, as your attitude, determination and mental commitment are the building blocks of the physical efforts that will follow.
If you don’t have that vision, you are unlikely to make sustained substantive progress towards fitness.