- 3 minutes without Air.
- 3 hours without Shelter.
- 3 days without Water.
- 3 weeks without Food.
In reality, the situation and conditions you find yourself in as well as your unique physical and mental health will ultimately determine how much time you have to get yourself out of danger.
Air: Test your lung capacity by holding your breath for as long as possible, you may be surprised how long 30 seconds can feel.
Aerobic exercise such as jogging/running, cardio kickboxing, spin classes, swimming etc. can help condition your body to use oxygen more efficiently.
Shelter: Exposure to the elements can have a profound effect on your body, we've all felt the warm of the sun on our skin and most have had a sunburn at some point in our lives.
Our first layer of protection from the elements is the clothing we wear, its important to make sure we are dressing appropriately for the environment we are in.
Generally speaking, our goal is to maintain core body temperature at 98.6% to sustain life. If your body temp. is too low we refer to it as hypothermia, if your body temp. rises too high the condition is called hyperthermia. These conditions can set in and start negatively impacting both physical and mental ability in as little as 5-10 minutes!
Managing this vital balance requires taking control of our micro-climates, or small controlled environments that we create such as the air between our skin and a piece of clothing all the way to perhaps the home you live in.
Water: Most people are aware that our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water, and we need a lot of it on a daily basis, the recommended under normal conditions is to consume 8, 8 oz. glasses of water per day. However depending on condition you may require a lot more than that particularly if you are under duress. Ideally we should try to make sure we have access to at least 1 gal of clean drinking water per day.
Dehydration can have profoundly negative effects on the body, including reduced mental/physical ability, hallucinations, and ultimately death.
Ensuring your water source is safe for consumption is critical. The most common ways are:
Food: Much like water our bodies need regular and balanced source of energy which we get from the food that we eat. Most of us, particularly in the US consume more food than our bodies actually need on a regular basis and as such have "energy reserves" and while that might sound convenient it's really a nice way of saying we are overweight which is a condition that is associated with many negative health conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer)
Ideally, our goal is to maintain a neutral relationship between the calories we take in and the calories we expend each day.
In a survival situation, we will likely be expending a lot of calories trying to find safety or rescue and while it may take weeks to deplete all of the energy reserves in our bodies (fat/muscle) we will experience many negative effects in as little as a few hours, such as fatigue, hunger pains, and our body and minds will begin to slow down in an attempt to conserve energy.
We will go into much greater detail into each of these functional areas of survival and how to better prepare yourself to restore balance in the event access to your basic survival needs becomes disrupted.
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