American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Friday, August 04, 2006

Physical Fitness and Outdoorsmanship

I'd like to talk a bit more about this subject.

Does physical fitness play a role in outdoorsmanship? Can a fat person do as much or enjoy as much as a thinner person? Can an old person get as much out of a trip outdoors as a young person?

A year ago at Practice What You Preach (PWYP) I climbed to the top of Chestnut Mountain and, due to fatigue and lack of fitness, I suffered the whole way up. When I got there I vowed to lose some weight, get in better shape, and ascend again the following year.

Scheduling difficulties got in the way and I didn't make it back this year. I didn't manage to lose any of the weight or get in better shape either.

I often joke about the extra weight I carry but I wonder just how that has impacted my time in the woods. I have to get the extra strong hammock because the ultralight jobs often list maximum weight as just slightly more than my "out of the shower" weight.

This lack of fitness came in to play again in Denver where the altitude, combined with the level of activity, has left me totally smashed. I'm still trying desperately to get enough sleep to feel like a normal human being again. (Yes, as normal as I could ever be...)

Survival situations call for controlled exertion (sweating can lead to dehydration and/or hypothermia depending upon the environment.) A more fit person can do more with less effort and could, hypothetically, have an easier time because of the ability to do more work preparing for the night, weather, etc. before stopping.

It seems hard to believe that losing 15 pounds wouldn't benefit my time in the woods.

Thanks for reading,



At 8:53 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

If you want to see what the difference would be, strap on 15 pounds of "deadweight" to your legs. Then go into the woods for an hour or 2 and walk around. You will instantly see why its called "deadweight"

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Pablo said...

I totally agree with your comments about fitness. I think you can enjoy Bushcraft in all it apsects much more if you have a reasonable degree of fitness. I was a physical fitness instructor in the army and used to hike and climb with ease. I've lost a lot of fitness with various sedentary jobs and find many bushcraft tasks especially woodmanship very tiring. At least in bushcraft you don't have to run anywhere!

Nevertheless, I've vowed to increase my fitness levels. By the way, I lost 5 pounds on the bushmoot just by living outdoors and eating small but regular portions of non-fat food. I think that tells a story.

Best regards



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