The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 1, 2013

OUTDOORS: Getting out into nature leads to healthy lifestyle

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — How is your health this spring?

Normally this question pops up prior to the fall hunting season as hunting deer, upland game, and waterfowl can be taxing on a person’s body.

Most people don’t think about it in the spring of the year but mushroom hunting, spring turkey hunting, loading and unloading a boat as well as walking to a local pond and back can be just as taxing on your body.

I just got my annual check up and when the letter came back saying that “everything looks good; keep up the healthy life style” I was happy. I’ve stayed very active all my life and spent a lot of time outdoors and I’ve always attributed my good health to these factors. Spending 34 years in a classroom didn’t hurt either as I probably have built up a lot of immunity for a lot of different things.

This winter I didn’t spend nearly as much time outdoors and I paid for it.

I have bragged that for 10-and-a-half years since my retirement I have never had a sick day. The worst thing I had in those 10-plus years was a headache, except, of course, when I stuck my hand in a mower and had to get sewn up in a few places.

I can’t say this anymore as I had a bout with both the upper respiratory and the stomach flu this January. I have no one to blame for this but myself; I simply didn’t spend the time outdoors this winter and work like I normally do.

There were too many good Big Ten games and very little ice to fish on and, even though I was in the gym most mornings — there is something about outdoor air that keeps one healthy.

Hunters and anglers alike need to evaluate their state of health early in the spring because there is a nine-month period where a person’s body will need to be ready for some work. Eating a healthy diet and staying active outdoors, can lead to many good years of hunting and fishing. Bad habits, however, are hard to break.

Most people simply think they are ready to get active once the weather breaks; but are you really ready?

Take an assessment of yourself before you pick up your fishing rod or your gun this spring and think of the long year ahead. You want to be a survivor, not a statistic!

Do you like being outdoors and meeting new people?

Would you like to become a part of one of the premier park districts in the state?

Then make plans to attend the Vermilion County Conservation District’s Volunteer Fair on April 14 at Kennekuk County Park’s Visitor Center from 1-4 p.m. Meet one-on-one with other VCCD Volunteers and staff members.

Volunteers are needed primarily for the following areas: secretarial office help at Kennekuk and Forest Glen; historic building hosts at Kennekuk and Forest Glen; and Haunted Happenings October event at Kennekuk.

Come out to Kennekuk County Park on April 14th to enjoy the park and to learn how you can begin your journey as a district volunteer. Light refreshments will be served. No commitment is asked of you at the fair, just come out and learn what the VCCD Volunteer Corps is all about.

For information, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Lara Darling at 442-1691, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net