Fitness isn’t Just for Gym Bunnies

Woodlore Senior Assistant David Southey, trekking near the Devil's Kitchen in Snowdonia

Woodlore Senior Assistant David Southey, trekking near the Devil’s Kitchen in Snowdonia

You’ve skied a full day, flattened out a platform, set up your camp and set off to find, fell, retrieve and process your firewood for the night. Sat in your warm tent drinking a brew, you look over your route for tomorrow, then tea and bed, waking when it’s your shift to stoke the stove.

Fitness enables mental alertness, the capability to make quick decisions, problem solving skills and the ability to cope with fatigue. Physical robustness isn’t just about being the fastest or strongest; it’s one of the keys to the backcountry. Being able to carry out demanding tasks with ease means you’re less likely to make a simple mistake which could have serious consequences for you and those in your charge.

I feel that it’s my responsibility to maintain my fitness so as to be able to effectively cope with unforeseen problems that may arise during the courses, and while away on my own trips; but also so I can enjoy the environments I find myself in.

The Devil's Kitchen - a peak of the Y Garn mountain in Snowdonia

The Devil’s Kitchen – a peak of the Y Garn mountain in Snowdonia

I have found that wearing a small pack weighing 5 to 10 kg while going about daily life makes a big difference in maintaining condition, as it increases the effort required to do anything (other than watching TV). I exercise at least three times a week, alternating upper body (press ups, pull ups, sit ups) lower body (squats, lunges, planks, burpees etc.) and either a run, cycle or stepper. While working on our bushcraft courses, the day to day activity of assisting the instructors is work enough to maintain my base strength and fitness.

Of course, an added benefit of physical robustness is that you are better prepared should you fall ill or find yourself having nothing but your body and your mind to rely on. And remember – fuel your body with a healthy balanced diet whilst at home and away.

Of course, should you start to exercise after a long period of illness or not having trained before, you should consult a GP beforehand so as to train within your capabilities.

Have fun,

David Southey,

Senior Woodlore Course Assistant

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About Woodlore Limited

Woodlore, The School of Wilderness Bushcraft, was founded in 1983 by the British Bushcraft expert, Ray Mears. Paving the way for Bushcraft courses in the UK, Woodlore began with Ray teaching small groups of students the knowledge and techniques that he had spent most of his early life honing. With Ray’s ambition and perserverance, Woodlore has since grown into a world-renowned and highly respected school, offering in-depth courses on a wide range of bushcraft and survival subjects.

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