This all started with Sam sharing this article with Nat:
The book’s premise is that a component of fitness could be the ability to handle harsh environments.
It’s been a long time since I did my survival courses in the military but the lessons I learned were very helpful. Take my winter survival course, I learned that when you live 24/7 outside with the right gear and skills your body will adapt to daytime high of -40C. A few days into the 1 week course I shed my heavy mitts, balaclava and parka and walked about in my sweater and snow pants. My body adapted and could provide the extra BTUs to keep me warm.
The thing is, that adaptation is temporary. One night in a heated room and I was back to bundling up. The long term impact for me was understanding what I needed to be safe in that weather. I learned that while I would be cold at first I could survive and adapt to the environment. I learned that lined winter tents are fantastic but also that a thick bed or fir boughs with a tarp as a lean-to and a small fire can keep you going a long time.
There are lots of reasons to get used to being outdoors for extended periods of time and working through difficult situations. Along with the skills comes, well, a mental toughness that prevents me from giving up in bad times. Will I cry when tired, frustrated or in pain? Oh heck ya, almost always.
Do I think people should take ice baths? Uh, no. Definitely learn about boating safety if you are in the water, what to do if you fall through the ice if you skate or cross ice in winter.
Learning what to do in emergencies is helpful, you learn how to overcome the first impulses to panic by self soothing as well as the techniques to ensure the best outcome.
I’m skeptical of the claims that we all need to swim in icy water. Those conditions are dangerous and I’m not persuaded that the benefits outweigh the risks.
However, if you want to build skills and confidence definitely learn survival or emergency response skills. First Aid and CPR are a great way to start building up skills.
I hope you have awesome adventures and not have any emergencies.