Keeping fit in 2018 with bushcraft is a great way to do something outdoors and get fit along the way.
Like anything there are some common sense rules you should follow, for instance lifting with your knees and having a straight back, etc. Below are some of the physical tasks I do whilst preparing for and running a bushcraft course.
1. Preparation for the courses
The long walk from the vehicle to base camp carrying in the equipment for the courses certainly gets your heart beating fast. With between 8-10 water containers holding 20kg of water, boxes of food and specialist equipment for each activity, all of which needs carrying in. Its a combination of cardio and strength with this task.
2. Collecting and processing firewood
Collecting firewood warms you up fast from the initial locating suitable timber through to lugging it back to base camp to process. Sawing and splitting of the larger firewood down into manageable pieces also helps with strength and stamina.
3. Demonstrating the Bow drill method of fire lighting
Demonstrating this method of fire lighting while explaining what you are doing as you are doing it, can be a challenge. The stamina needs to continue to bow whilst breathing and talking at the same time can sometimes catch you out and you forget to breathe. This method of fire lighting helps to get your heart beating faster and aids in strength and stamina.
4. Shelter building
Building a woodland shelter from scratch is a physical task, first of all, gathering all the materials needed to construct a weatherproof shelter is no mean task. The framework timber required from the main ridge pole(s) through to supporting forked sticks and then the brash and finally the leaf litter covering it all. The task can take an inexperienced person 3-4 hours of physical labor.
Being outdoors around the campfire will dehydrate you without you realising but add in a physical task of firewood collection, shelter building or lighting a fire using the bow drill method and you will quickly need to rehydrate. Being dehydrated is not fun, you feel sluggish, have a headache and this can be a dangerous downward spiral unless quickly resolved.
6. A balanced meal
Having a balanced meal whilst out in the woods is vital, you have to keep your energy levels up so that you can get through the physical tasks. A meal consisting of veg full of nutrients and carbohydrates, and free-range meat (pigeon in this instance) full of protein and fat will help your energy levels and keep you strong and fit.