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Life or Death Fitness

Created on Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Some people workout for their appearance, some for athletic performance, some because we just love to, and some to save their lives. When I say save their lives it has more than one meaning. Yes, some people have been given an ultimatum by their doctor- “start exercising and change your diet or die fast.” But also because some people face life or death risky situations daily, like police and deputies, firefighters, and members of the armed forces. What about you?

 life or death fitness cliff hanger

In one of his recent blog posts fitness advocate Freddie McCloud asked the question "Could you save yourself?" He used the cliff hanger scenario that you see in movies where the hero is hanging from the edge of a cliff and has to pull himself up to safety. Then he goes on to saving the heroine and together they conquer all evil and save the world, right? Anyways, Freddie who used to be 280 pounds, but not solid muscle at the time, knew before getting serious about improving his fitness that his answer was no. He was too heavy to perform a pull up. Fortunately now he can.

Dangling from a cliff is just one scenario though. Here is something to think about, whether you workout or not, if your life depended upon your level of health, fitness, and strength would you be able to prevent your own death? Imagine yourself in a terrifying scenario such as this: You're in a high rise building, let's say on the forty fourth floor. Suddenly there's a series of explosions, you feel the building shake and hear people screaming to run and get out. The power is out. The elevators are useless. You know you need to get out of that building, and fast. There's a mad rush to the stairs, people are panicking, pushing others out of their way. You are now facing a descent of forty four floors to safety. Could you make it? Really think about how fit and healthy you are. Could your heart handle the rush of adrenalin? Do you have the cardiovascular endurance to run all the way to safety? What would happen if you got to a certain point where the stairs were destroyed. The only way to progress is by climbing down holding onto railings. Are you strong enough? Do you have the physical endurance, the mental strength, the will, and the confidence to not give up? Or do you stay put and possibly lose your life and put others at risk of losing theirs?

Life or death fitness stairs

You and I could come up with dozens of other scenarios where your health and well being are at risk- a building fire, hostage situation, shipwreck, being chased by a pack of dogs. You might be thinking, "yeah, but that's not going to ever happen to me." And hopefully that's the truth. But what if? When you exercise, are you taking care of all the components of fitness? Are you including strength training for strength, not just aesthetics? Are you doing cardio to help make your heart stronger and healthier, not just because you want the caloric deficit? Are you making sure to stretch regularly so you don't easily strain a muscle when the time comes it has to work outside of the range of motion you are accustomed to exercising in? Are you going outside of your comfort zone to see how much you can handle, mentally more so than physically, at least occasionally?  Are you doing a variety of exercises- body  weight, heavy external resistance, high reps, static holds for time, high intensity, applying compound resistance, complex patterns to improve your balance and agility? Do you have the physical strength to handle your own body weight plus some external force pushing, pulling and/or twisting against you? Could you run to safety holding some very precious cargo, like maybe your child?
Next time you get ready to workout, regardless of what your goals are, ask yourself if your program is helping you live a longer life in more than one way.

You can read Freddie McCloud's original post Could you save yourself by visiting his blog-



# Walter 2009-12-30 06:06
I will remember the wisdom you have shared here. Most of the time, I fear for my health. :-)
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# Aaron 2009-12-30 12:50
Hi Walter,

Thanks for your comment. I hope you are doing your best to take control of your health.

Your site is quite fascinating.
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# Sire 2010-01-01 16:43
Looking at the photo you used for the staircase scenario I would simply slide down the banister :D

Seriously though, I reckon that hardly anybody would imagine that they would ever be forced into any of these typed of situations. If they did there would be a whole lot more people exercising.
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# Aaron 2010-01-01 19:13
Hi Sire,

I believe it's the "that would never happen to me" mentality. But think about the people working in the skyscrapers (911), people that vacation on cruise ships. Obviously no one plans to be in that situation, but it always pays to have some level of physical conditioning.
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# Paramjit 2010-01-04 06:27
Great article Aaron. You are absolutely right about some people only waking up when given an ultimatum by a doctor. This is usually the wake up call for a lot of people. The sad thing is why does it have to come to this. Why do people live most of their lives like zombies?
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# Aaron 2010-01-04 09:06
Hi Paramjit,

That is a great question. I would think two big reasons would be complacency and addiction. Some people are just satisfied with the unhealthy habits controlling their lives and don't have the will power to change, until faced with death.
But I'm sure it differs from person to person.

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it.
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Self improvement
# Self improvement 2010-01-07 11:04
Really a Life or Death is matter of fitness.
Thanks for the post..
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# Aaron 2010-08-23 14:32
Sorry about the dead links at the end of the post, it's out of my control ;-)

I'll change them soon.
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