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#201987 - 05/17/10 04:40 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: MartinFocazio]
roberttheiii Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Connecticut, USA
comms - Great real world insight.

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#201992 - 05/17/10 05:22 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: roberttheiii]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Physical fitness is, IMHO, paramount in ANY survival situation. You are looking at a stressful situation; being physically fit, your body is more prepared to handle that. You certainly have a higher chance of survival, all things being equal, than someone who is out of shape. Yes, mindset also plays a huge factor into this-but, take that out of it, when you are dealing strictly with physical/physiological ability, the person in better shape stands a better chance.
Now, I think, personally, there is a plateau-having 3% body fat isnt likely going to help you in certain situations. But, I think having an average fitness-someone who jogs regularly, or walks, does some weight training ie a general overall decent fitness level-has a better chance than someone who doesnt do anything at all.
Now, speaking from personal experience; I served 12 years as an infantryman in the US Army. Not a necessarily easy life. We were physically active every single day-runs, ruck marches, HMMWV pulls-the idea of course being that you develop a high level of fitness, and maintain it. Now, since I got out, of course I slacked off smile. But, all of that training had taught me that, if I think I can do it, I just suck it up & do it. If I DONT think I can do it, think again! As we used to say: sometimes, you just have to embrace the suck. Could I run 8 miles now? Probably not. Could I jog/walk it? Yes. Physical fitness isnt where it was, but the mental toughness is still there-and that counts for a lot.

As to what military standards are for physical fitness; there are the BASIC standards, which all US forces must meet. Then, at least in the Army, there was what was called "Fit to Fight". You have to achieve at least 70% of all categories (my understanding is that there are different tests now-it used to be situps, pushups, and a 2 mile run). In almost all units I served in, you had to achieve a MINIMUM of %80 every 3 months. We tested every 12 weeks, if we werent in the field. If you failed to meet the 80% criteria in ANY of the categories, you had double PT-one in the morning, one in the evening, until the next test. Alternatively, if you score 100% in all 3, you didnt have to do PT at all-they figure whatever you are doing in your offtime is working smile
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#201996 - 05/17/10 06:20 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: oldsoldier]
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1613
Loc: Northern California
There are a lot of good points here. I'll bring up a related concept.

I was listening to the interview of a professional soccer player some time ago. I can't remember who. Anyway, the athlete said that in soccer, it's 20% mental and 80% conditioning. After I thought about what he said, I admired the athlete for how much that statement made sense. Soccer is unlike basketball and unlike football. Perhaps in these others sports, an out-of-shape bench player might come into the game and make a difference at their position because they have lots of "heart". It struck me that you can't do that in competitive soccer. If you aren't fit in competitive soccer, you will be too winded after 20 seconds to be of any use, and you'll be a huge liability to your team. I remember sometimes trying to play competitive soccer as a youngster without being fit. It's basically impossible to do much of anything.

I draw the soccer analogy to survival. Different survival situations call for a different set of skills. I think anybody who tries to argue against the premise in the original post is being at least somewhat defensive. Depending on the situation, being fit may mean the difference between life or death. I have the ability to be in great shape, and I will try harder to be so. This thread provides yet more motivation. Thank you for reminding me.
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#201999 - 05/17/10 06:38 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: oldsoldier]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
"A man's gotta know his limitations".

That said, everyone's abilities are finite, and in a relative sense, there's not that much difference. Whether you can go 50 miles in a day or only 5 probably won't make a lot of difference in those situations where running like hell is going to apply. I realized in Baghdad that being able to run 100 meters faster than anyone else around me was more important than the next 900. In other circumstances, I would expect endurance might be more important than speed, so I try to maintain both to some degree, but at 47 I am no longer what I'd consider an athlete. My knees won't take the beating, my cardio just won't keep up like it used to, and even my reflexes have noticably slowed. I've tried to rationalize that I've replaced some of that reaction ability with reason and experience.

In the big scheme of things, I find that there are few incidents where a fit person would "just make it", and a less conditioned person has no chance. You likely won't fail unless you quit, pace isn't as much a factor as we would prefer.

I would like to be in better shape than I am. I would also like to be a better shot, a better driver, a better cook, but all these things take time, and I am kinda busy just trying to live life so I do what I can and leave the rest to those with more time on their hands. I am not at the frontline fighting a war, and there's little chance I ever would be again. I can get home on foot from most places I frequent and have good plans in place for making sure the risks are minimized if I have to under duress. Beyond that, I maintain a suitable condition to pursue what pastimes I can afford.
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The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#202004 - 05/17/10 07:47 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: benjammin]
roberttheiii Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Just because they keep coming up, and I have problems with them myself - Anyone have any good knee tricks? I find a lot of my knee pain can be solved by keeping hydrated. I have no idea why, but if I have achy knees drinking two liters of water solves it within 30 minutes most of the time. The other knee pain I get is what I've been told is "runner's knee" which mostly just hurts going down stairs, and I'm told is due to over-use/weak knees/just plain old bad knees.

If anyone has any good knee tricks/exercises, etc, please post them or I can start another thread dedicated to this. I, of course, have Google'd this, talked to some personal trainers, etc. I now do some side of leg stretches, etc for it.

As far as the water thing - this is a bit sad, but I noticed after I had a beer or two (shouldn't it take more than that? ha) the next morning my knees would ache a lot. I searched "knees hurt after drinking" and people complained about dehydration/knee pain. Now I'd get this pain at random times regardless of my interaction with beer, so I do the water thing regardless, and it helps.


Edited by roberttheiii (05/17/10 07:50 PM)
Edit Reason: typos

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#202012 - 05/17/10 10:50 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: roberttheiii]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Boy, lots of good points. I think there's a lot to be said for determination, grit, etc in keeping going. But... what good is it to be the most gung-ho minded, determined, grizzled, perfect person for the job, if you weigh 800lbs and can't get out of bed? There are LOTS of stories about folks stepping up, about SpecOps guys that pass training being the runt of the litter, of poor nobodies from Kenya winning huge marathon money. No one cares if the Olympians kick ass for 20 years - duh, they train for it. An exaggerated example, of course, but they tend to combine mental and physical strengths.

Physical fitness IS important... but it's not the be-all and end-all. It makes translating your mental fortitude into actions easier. Sure, most of *could* physically walk 30 miles. But put a sleet storm, 3 ridge lines, a broken rib in the mix, and most of us probably wouldn't. And those of us who did might not be smart enough to hunker down for a couple hours to warm back up.

Another reason physical fitness helps - it wouldn't do much good to walk the 30 miles, get out of trouble, and keel over from your heart attack.

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#202015 - 05/17/10 11:50 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: MDinana]
roberttheiii Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I'm sweating just reading about 3 ridge lines...or maybe it is this sticky hot apartment?

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#202024 - 05/18/10 01:48 AM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: roberttheiii]
raptor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 284
Loc: Europe
There are some situations that call for good sheer physical fitness. For example outpacing the storm that is closing in on you (it happened to me on one of my runs and it was quite a motivation). Or gathering enough wood for a big warm fire when you are tired after a hard slog in a deep snow. Various situations that involve long distance swimming. Or fast short distance swim as a way to rescue yourself from the rapids. Climbing a tree because a bear is chasing you (there is even thread about this real situation here). Etc.

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#202027 - 05/18/10 02:18 AM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: roberttheiii]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: roberttheiii
Just because they keep coming up, and I have problems with them myself - Anyone have any good knee tricks?


I haven't the experience to back it up, but I have become a firm believer in stretching both the back of the knee and the tendons/muscle that extend the knee. There is a tendon that goes in front of your hip joint that is connected to the knee extender. Stretch that one, too.

A little disclaimer - I haven't been doing that for long. Seems promising so far. I've had only minor knee problems - typically not really painful, just uncomfortable "something's not right"-kind of feeling after overdoing some running or whatever. I've also overstretched from time to time, but that's quite a while ago.

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#202033 - 05/18/10 12:35 PM Re: The second most important piece of equipment [Re: MostlyHarmless]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I had a leg injury while deployed, and the Naval medic (whatever they are called in the rear areas-I just call them all "medics") had me doing a course of Yoga, to keep the injured area loose. Up to that point, I never once considered trying it out. It certainly worked-I was back walking patrols within 2 weeks. Granted, my other option was manning a radio 12 hours a day, and that may have had SOMETHING to do with it smile.
Seriously though, try yoga. There are several different types-I was given the military one, which I used then (it was some sort of little booklet), but continued for a while using the Yoga for Regular Guys book (no affiliation, just a happy user). That book breaks down some fundamental exercises, and worked for me when I would need stretching. I need to get back to it, now that I think about it!
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