Building an immune system capable of fighting disease is probably more important than being mentally, or physically capable of a mountain hunt in a few months. Ryan John scours the mountains near Ketchikan on an afternoon in September. (Courtesy Photo | Jeff Lund)

Building an immune system capable of fighting disease is probably more important than being mentally, or physically capable of a mountain hunt in a few months. Ryan John scours the mountains near Ketchikan on an afternoon in September. (Courtesy Photo | Jeff Lund)

Thinking inside the box

Staying fit and not just for hiking in August.

I checked the right boxes when it came to the type of person who might not get a serious case of COVID-19 in March. Active. No preexisting conditions. 38. But I started to see just how subjective and misleading all that can be, and rather than look at other people, I looked at myself.

I have no symptoms and have not been tested, but I am reflecting on how prepared I am in case I come into contact with someone who is, if I haven’t already.

So, what exactly does “active” mean? I go fishing. I go hunting. But do I do those activities three to five times a week? Because if not, then my routine is something, but my hobbies, when I do them, are something else. I can project a reality that isn’t necessarily accurate and think that I’m good to go because I have an extensive memory of time spent outside. I work out three to five days a week, but only one day a week of the program is for conditioning, which became a skip day or a hike day.

[Seeing and hearing things while isolating outdoors]

But one morning before the staff meeting on Zoom, I decided to run and struggled. My legs felt strong and my lungs were fine, but they hadn’t worked together in unison like this for a while. I felt clunky. Hiking off a mountain with a pack is brutal, so you sit down, or if things get technical, you can catch your breath because it’s not one of those places to go fast. Running is repetitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth.

I discovered just how much I tip my fitness toward August and September. As if those are the true test months. Then rut happens in late fall and things fade a bit, then winter comes. Sure you might take a lot of steps when steelhead fishing and fishing is active and you might do that for hours and it’s way better than sitting on the couch, but how do I want to define active? Do I want to define active as not sitting on a couch? That’s a pretty low standard, but it can happen with alpine deer season still months away. But what if I needed my body to be ready for a virus in April, not hiking in August?

I’ve started running sprints on Tuesdays. It could be called interval training or HIIT but sometimes when you start telling other people the fancy thing that you’re doing, it becomes more about telling people the fancy thing you’re doing than the actual act.

So I sprint the length of a bridge near my house on Tuesdays. The bridge isn’t very long, but the point is I am running again and am reflecting and adjusting what it means to active. It’s not just about trying to fit in with other people, it’s about real physical, and cardiovascular readiness for not just for COVID-19, but whatever else is waiting for me in my 40s and 50s and beyond.

I’d much rather have as much control as possible than hope to get lucky and dodge whatever might be coming my way.

There’s a difference between mentally ready to embrace the suck of an alpine hunt, and my immune system being ready to go to war.

It seems like if there’s ever been a time to check diet quality and exercise loads, it’s now.

Jeff Lund is a writer and teacher based in Ketchikan. “I Went To The Woods,” a reference to Henry David Thoreau, appears in Outdoors twice a month.

More in News

This photo shows the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)
CDC freeze on Johnson and Johnson vaccine sets clinics scrambling

The odds of being affected are vanishingly rare, but CDC says better safe than sorry.

This photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident. On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Ohio that tried to get the U.S. Census Bureau to provide data used for drawing congressional and legislative districts ahead of its planned release. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)
Alaska joins 15 other states in backing Alabama’s challenge to Census privacy tool

The case could go directly to the Supreme Court if appealed.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Tuesday, April 13, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

This photo shows the National Archives in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle that has about a million boxes of generally unique, original source documents and public records. In an announcement made Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General's Office. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle

Tribes and members of Congress pushed for the halt.

This photo shows Unangax̂ Gravesite at Funter Bay, the site where Aleut villagers forcibly relocated to the area during World War II are buried. A bill recently passed by the Alaska House of Representatives would make the area part of a neighboring state park. (Courtesy photo / Niko Sanguinetti, Juneau-Douglas City Museum) 
DO NOT REUSE THIS PHOTO WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM JUNEAU DOUGLAS CITY MUSEUM. -BEN HOHENSTATT
Bill to preserve Unangax̂ Gravesite passes House

Bill now heads to the state Senate.

The state announced this week that studded tires will be allowed for longer than usual. In Southeast Alaska, studded tires will be allowed until May 1 instead of April 15. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
State extends studded tire deadline

Prolonged wintry weather triggers the change.

COVID at a glance for Monday, April 12

The most recent state and local numbers.

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Sunday, April 11, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read