media · Sat with Nat

Nat won’t sit in an ice bath anytime soon but thinks survival training is a great idea.

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.

One thought on “Nat won’t sit in an ice bath anytime soon but thinks survival training is a great idea.

  1. I swim outdoors year-round. I don’t do it for survival training but simply because I enjoy it. It started a few years ago when we had a particularly warm fall and we decided to keep swimming at the lake for as long as possible. The next thing we knew, it was October. After our Hallowe’en fundraiser swim, it was easy to challenge ourselves to go the next day so we could claim credit for a swim in November. From there, it just became our thing to do. We bring a tent, never go past waist deep, and go in one at a time for safety when it feels really cold. I have discovered that I can’t be bothered going for just a dunk – it’s a proper swim or nothing for me, even if the swim is only 25 or 50 m. Right now, I am anxiously watching the ice retreat from the river. Hopefully by next weekend, we will be back in the river, or even the lake. Swimming year-round, along with regular training at our respective swim clubs, has made it much easier for my gang to do long swims outdoors, and enjoy the beautiful spring and fall weather.

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