Contesting Needs Physical Fitness

K4JA Precontest Checkout How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along this late in the month? If you are like most people, the resolutions have come and gone. In another month or two, we’ll casually laugh the resolutions off as not meaning much. And that’s too bad.

One of the great New Year resolutions is to get physically fit. After the holidays, it makes a great amount of sense. Whether it is diet, exercise, or both, getting the pounds down and the muscles toned is a good thing to do.

It’s also a great thing to do for contesting.

Contesting, if you look at all those You Tube videos and see pictures of people sitting in the shack doing the contesting work, looks pretty simple physically. You just sit there and talk into a microphone or press a function key or two and go right along.

Yet, contesting is one of the more difficult events from both the physical and mental viewpoints — especially if you want to participate for the entire time in the contest with minimal sleep.

This is where your physical fitness comes into play. Well rested and physically fit allow your muscles to spend less effort sitting down all that time while fighting off being tired. Physically fit means that you typically will need less sleep and get better sleep than less physically fit people.

This combination of mental fatigue from concentrating on the calls and the signals combined with a lack of sleep quickly translates into mental toughness. And we all know that mental toughness is a lot easier to do if the rest of your body is ready to go.

Take a look at those exercise and physical fitness resolutions one more time. And pick them up again. It will help your contesting too.

Scot, K9JY

Scot, KA3DRR

Interesting point and well timed. I was exhausted after 10-hours of operating during NAQP. A thought crossed my mind — no exercise since November and I’m feeling the effects. Physical fitness is important. I’m out walking Radio Dawg on a regular basis practicing interval training for 30-minutes, three times per week. We’re hitting the beach for our first walk/run session Saturday morning. I bet less fatigue and better stamina is the outcome going into the ARRL International DX contest next month. Thanks for pointing out the importance of physical fitness in relationship to the contest operating chair.

73, Scot KA3DRR

[…] through an RSS Feed or by e-mail. Choose in the “Subscribe” box top right. Aside from being physically fit for the contest and well rested, doing the long haul for a contest means that you’ll need to […]

Thanks for the write-up. I think this is a point a lot of people neglect!

Scot, K9JY

Once I started doing this during a contest, I always did it after in all the rest of the contests. There are always good five-minute times where you can stand and operate effectively — and there is great payoff in your stamina and concentration by doing this practice.

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