Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can You (At Least) Save Your Own Life?-- Part II

In the first part of this series I laid out some of the dangers you may pose to yourself, such as risky behaviors or obesity. This next part, however, will take a step out from ourselves and look at the world around us. The world that we live in can be a dangerous place and, while some things like natural disasters are not so commonplace, there are some everyday dangers such as slipping and falling, drowning, fires, and various on-the-job accidents that all require some level of fitness in order to escape. This level of fitness is the topic of this second part. It's You vs. The Natural World... and it's got a hell of size advantage.

So, what is the level of fitness necessary to save your own life in a dangerous situation? What skills are necessary?

Earle Liederman, in a 1926 book called Endurance, mapped out five basic skills necessary for someone to save his or her own life.
  1. Swim at least half a mile
  2. Sprint for 200 Meters
  3. Hurdle an object at waist height
  4. Complete at least 15-20 pull-ups or chin-ups, with chin over the bar
  5. Dip between two bars or chairs for at least 25 reps
You should probably listen to this guy.

These basic skills are what is necessary to keep you from drowning, what will allow you to escape a burning building or run from a dangerous area, while clearing obstacles in your path, and what will allow you to pull yourself to safety, if you are in danger of falling. These skills are your basic survival tools. The goal is to get out of harms way and to do it as quickly as possible.

These are obviously not beginner-level in terms of difficulty, but they are by no means on the world-class level. These are skills attainable by the average human being and it is only once your are capable of securing your own safety that you can effectively consider saving anyone else's life, which is the topic of Part III.

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