A deer’s sense of smell is its best sense. We all have had shot opportunities ruined by a change in wind direction. Deer live (and die) by monitoring the wind. I have often wondered how many deer I didn’t see because I didn’t take proper care in controlling my scent.

On my last hunt of the 2009/2010 deer season here in Tennessee I was blessed by the wind direction. As my son and I came out of our box blind to do some spot and stalk hunting, I made sure to keep the cold northwest wind blowing in our face. We had about an inch of snow on the ground and visibility was awesome. As we moved along the ATV trails there seemed to be no activity of any sort. Since my freezer was still empty of deer meat, I was getting anxious about shooting a deer.

Walking down a steep hill with hardwoods all around us, I saw a doe jump up and run down into the bottom below us and up the other hillside. I did not have a chance to get a shot off, but she put me on high alert. As I was watching her run off, my son spotted 3 more does running toward us. They were on a path that would bring them up the hill right to us. Two of them came up out of the cut below us and stopped within 15 yards of us. However, there was a downed tree between us and still no shot! They turned and ran off with the wind in their face. After spotting 2 more deer I was able to drop one of them in her tracks with my 30-06. At this point I realized what started all this action: 2 dogs were coming up through the woods below us and their scent was carried up into the thicket these deer were bedded in. My son spotted another group of 4 and again my 30-06 brought down another one. Two deer on the ground less than a minute apart! My freezer is now full!

As I reviewed the hunt in my mind over the following days, I realized that I was able to shoot those deer because of their total reliance on wind direction. You see the dogs came in down wind from where the deer were bedded and both deer that I shot were headed back into the thicket where they came from because the dogs had already passed them. They never saw us because they were relying on the wind as their defense mechanism and we were upwind from them.

It got me thinking: how many times have I relied on one mechanism to improve my health? You see, there are many health fads out there that only focus on one thing for people to do to become healthy. Have you heard about the chocolate that helps you loose weight? I am not kidding. There is a company that sells a natural dark chocolate that is supposed to speed metabolism and help you loose weight. What about only eating protein, a.k.a Atkins diet? Or the grapefruit diet? Or only doing weight training and no cardio? You see, all these things are only one “mechanism” and like those deer that are in my freezer right now, if you rely only on one mechanism to improve your health, then your going to get caught by something upwind that you can’t see.

Now, I am all for making things simple and that is true for healthcare as well. However, just doing one thing is too simple. I try to keep it at 3: eat well, think well and move well. For this post, I want to focus on moving well.

How much moving do you do in an average day? Is your job pretty sedentary or are you up and moving most of the day? Do you try to park up close to Walmart or do you park further away and get a little exercise walking in? You see, our bodies are meant to move. Without movement, our muscles breakdown and atrophy. This lack of movement is accentuated when we put our bodies under new stresses, such as dragging a deer out of the woods. As we were dragging one of my 2 deer up to the ATV this year, I said, “This is why I workout 3 times a week!” After my friend who was helping me caught his breath, he said, “This is why I take heart medication!” Only taking heart medication is focusing only on wind direction!

Making fitness part of your lifestyle is one of the easiest things to do. So many of my patients ask me what is the best kind of exercise. I then ask them what kind they like. No matter what they tell me I tell them that is the best kind of exercise because that is the kind that they are most likely to do. Find something that you enjoy and do it! Since most of us enjoy the woods so much, why not try hiking at a local park 3 days a week? I enjoy mountain biking for this very reason. It gets me out into the woods and I get a great workout while I am doing it.

The point is to just get out and move. You will learn what is good for your body and eventually your body will actually look forward to the extra movement. Also, there is a side effect to exercise that most people don’t realize. After starting an exercise program, you will actually have more energy. That’s right, in response to the demands of the fitness routine your body will produce more energy! So there goes that excuse! If you need help with what maybe right for you, comment on this post and I would be happy to help.

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