By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published April 29, 2016
I think of our bodies as our vehicles that allow us to travel through life. If you want your vehicle to perform, you must keep it fueled and give it the necessary maintenance. The same is true with our bodies. We must keep our bodies fueled with proper nutrition and maintained by steady exercise. Otherwise, we cannot expect our bodies to perform the way we want them to when called upon.
I came from a family that did not exercise or play sports. I never saw my parents exercise, except after my father got older and he was diagnosed with high-blood pressure. He would pace in the hallway in our house for a bit of exercise.
When I met my husband, Carlos, when I was 18, I could not even do a sit-up or a push-up. When it was my turn to climb the rope in gym class, if the teacher was not paying close attention, I would skip my turn and sneak to the end of the line.
Carlos was an outdoorsman accustomed to riding a horse on a daily basis. He introduced me to a variety of sports, including camping, horseback riding, windsurfing and skiing.
I began a permanent exercise program when I was 32, after our son died. I participated in aerobics and horseback riding. Shortly after making this commitment to exercise, I fractured my spine when I was thrown from my horse while riding, so I traded horseback riding for windsurfing for a couple years while we lived in Singapore. I windsurfed daily, and it left my midsection toned.
My commitment to exercise increased after I became involved in competitive shooting in my late 40s. When I first got into the shooting sport, I often attended classes in my area that were taught by top shooters. I studied the pro shooters, taking note of how they looked, how they conducted themselves and noting their equipment. One of the common characteristics I noticed was that they were all fit. That indicated to me that you need to be in good physical condition to be effective in this sport.