When we go for walks, the kid will usually grab a small “stuffy” and bring it along for the fun. Last week I guess it was Stinky’s turn, and along he came, stuffed into a hoodie pocket as we took a walk around a high road that faces the bay.
This particular walk has a resting point at a bluff, where the road widens and a long, curved concrete bench offers a nice view. This is where we were sitting when Stinky somehow slipped out of a pocket and fell about 3 meters down to a rock outcropping below. There he lay, hopelessly out of reach, staring back at us with eyes that seemed to say, “How could you?”
There was, of course, no possibility of leaving Stinky behind. He’s part of the family. So everyone started throwing out ideas of how to retrieve him. Maybe someone could be lowered by their ankles? Maybe a fishing pole and hook?
Scanning around, I noticed that further down the road, there was a spot where you could hold on to the guardrail, drape your feet over, and only have a few feet drop to the bluff. From there it would be easy to walk around to the rocks and rescue Stinky.
Getting back up would be trickier, but it looked like you could post one leg on a concrete outcropping then jump up and catch the guardrail. It would then just be a matter of doing a pull-up to get high enough to get a leg up and over the edge and back to street level.
All of this seemed doable to me. After all, I’ve done lots of exercises hanging from a bar, and plenty of pull-ups in my life. So I put the plan into motion. Hang from rail, swing out a bit, land, walk around, save Stinky, then jump into a pull-up, get a leg over, and I was back on the road. The whole rescue operation took about 15 seconds. Stinky was covered in pine needles but otherwise unharmed.
This little story is an example of one of the wonderful, but subtle benefits of working on your health and fitness. I figure about once a year an odd situation like this comes up, where you need to do something physically unusual, often in an emergency situation (For my daughter, Stinky’s fall certainly seemed like an emergency).
Here are some examples that have happened in my own life, just off the top of my head. Can you think of similar situations in your own past?
This list makes it seem like I live an adventurous life of derring-do, but these are the accumulated emergencies of the last 10 years or so. As noted, things like this seem to happen about once a year. Most of the time, I’m sitting in front of a computer, tapping away, living sedately. But when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball and it’s time to step up and perform.
How does a person prepare for a performance? They practice.
Strength training, cardio, flexibility, and balance work are all the practice that you do for these unexpected moments of physicality. If you’re reasonably fit and know your body’s capabilities you can be an asset during these moments of crisis. People can depend on you. You can depend on yourself. That’s an awesome feeling.
Getting in shape isn’t easy. You face a daily showdown with flagging willpower which will tempt you to take the easier path of staying on the couch with a bag of chips. In those moments, remember that staying fit isn’t just about looking and feeling good, it’s about being someone you, your family, and your community can count on when shit hits the fan, or the skunk hits the rocks.
Get fit. Be dependable. The result might be small, like being able to help a friend move out of their apartment. But it could be bigger. I could be saving someone’s life (including your own)!
Patrick Reynolds // Kenzai Founder