With the majority of people now living and working in built up, artificial environments, it is now even more prevalent to proactively seek out opportunities to maximise time in natural surroundings and include adventurous activity frequently. As security professionals we can be away for long periods and do less than favourable hours; having an outlet that allows us to disconnect and recharge our batteries is absolutely essential. Analyse your own unique situation, look to log a typical week and note down the hours you are inside at work and separately in your own time, log the time you spend exercising (at whatever intensity, a walk to the shops is included) and finally the time spent doing adventurous activities outside of a gym environment. The results will highlight where you can make positive changes or confirm a good indoor/outdoor balance.
The Fit for Purpose definition of adventure:
“An activity that promotes physical and mental stimulation involves an element of risk and a break from the normal routine.”
As we are all different, the interpretation of this definition will vary dramatically, one persons risk boundaries will vary dramatically from another as well as what is considered “normal routine”. Many of the readers will already be heavily involved with adventurous activities, more power to you, keep doing your thing. For those who need a nudge in the right direction here are 5 tips to get the process started.
5 Tips For Getting Started
1. Take some time out
Go into a natural environment alone, leaving all electrical devices behind. Take time to move through the area at a walking pace, allowing the mind to wander. (Many Greek philosophers would teach a class on the move; by increasing the blood flow to head and body, it generates a greater capacity for ideas and productivity). Ask yourself general questions like: What does adventure mean to me? What activities would I like to see myself and others (family members, close friends etc) getting involved in? What environments attract me the most? Woodland, mountains or hills, beaches or rivers etc. What positive changes am I looking for when engaging in my chosen activities? A greater connection to nature and/or family and friends, reducing stress, improving physical fitness, pushing resilience boundaries?
2. Think like a Stoic
The ancient philosophers taught how to look at things in an objective, less emotive manner, viewing situations based on facts over feelings. This thought process will help those that struggle to initiate positive changes by eliminating self induced stumbling blocks from the outset. To avoid self sabotage, address the pure facts: How much time do I REALLY have available to me? Am I wasting too much of it on social media and other artificial sources when I could be spending more quality time outdoors? Am I aiming too high initially? Whilst grand ideas are great and very important, they can often create an overwhelming feeling and stop people initiating the first, vital steps forward. Get things off the ground at a low level, be consistent and then progress. What is my current physical condition and how might it restrict me in certain activities? We are certainly more capable physically than our mindset generally allows us to believe, but jumping feet first into an activity way out of your current physical capacity may result in injury or simply put you off trying it again. The same theme keeps cropping up, take the first steps and be consistent; physical condition will improve, alongside greater skill and confidence in the chosen activity.
3. Keep it simple
Look to the local natural areas in your vicinity initially, places that you may be able to get to on foot (a good excuse to include locomotive movement; increasing cardio-respiratory function, load carrying abilities and endurance). If young family members are included in the activities, make it enjoyable with plenty of natural stimulation e.g. building shelters, getting into the elements and out of their comfort zone (building resilience from a young age). If you are already competent in an activity, alter the layout to make it more of an adventure: If hiking is your thing, add an overnighter out on the ground, maybe push on after last light with a head torch for an added challenge; look to maximise whatever activity you decide on, aiming to make the most of your time outdoors.
4. Prepare for Action
Don’t over complicate but plan accordingly. You have a responsibility to yourself and others (if included) and that’s not something to be taken lightly. At best a bad situation resulting from negligence can put someone off ever trying something adventurous again, at worse, well it goes without saying. Construct a general, generic kit list with add on sections for: different activities, additional people, durations, environments, seasons etc. (See next issue for a look at kit and equipment basics.) Some activities can be purely spontaneous and require little to no planning due to reduced risk factors or low complexity in the activities, just beware of complacency.
5. Take Action
The time for procrastination is over. You’ve come up with your ideas, processed and formulated them in a logical and realistic manner, addressed logistical considerations, planned (if required)…now it’s time to get out there and amongst it!
Fit for Purpose – Mindset, Ideas, and Planning Adventure series P1
By: Ryan Naish
Ryan is a former physical training instructor in the Parachute Regiment and now specialises as a movement and outdoor skills coach. He is active in the security industry and also runs seminars and workshops, where he shares his passion for cultivating an active lifestyle that’s fit for purpose.
Follow him on Instagram, @fitforpurpose.ffp, for practical tips and advice.