First of all, I need to say upfront that this is not at all a fitness post (well, not really, but you'll see how being in shape could tie in), but it is something that I encourage you to read just the same. A few weeks ago I attended a conference. There was one particular break-out session that appealed to me regarding self defense. The session was conducted by a female police officer who also taught self defense courses. I walked away from it thinking how great the information was, but truthfully, had forgotten about it until I saw the article about the woman who had to pull over on the highway to perform CPR on her unresponsive nephew. She stated that she tried to call 911 but her hands were shaking so badly that she could not dial the phone. I immediately remembered the training and decided I should share my knowledge! What I want to share with you is a PARAPHRASING of what I learned during that session. This is by no means an expert opinion or complete "how to" guide and I'm not going to come at you with a bunch of scientific facts. Just passing along the info that I retained. If you are interested in learning about self defense, I'm sure that your local police station could point you in the right direction. Ok, now that I got all the liability mumbo jumbo out of the way...
The officer's talk was basically geared towards understanding what happens to your body in a moment of fear. One of her clearest messages was to trust your instincts. I have found this to be true many a time in my life. If something just doesn't FEEL right, it probably isn't. If you're walking to your car and there's someone that seems out of place or just not right in some way, do not dismiss that feeling. You don't have to mount a full scale preemptive strike, but you should remain alert. The other thing that she mentioned is that if there IS someone that doesn't feel right, you should look DIRECTLY at them. Even say "hi" or "howdy". Her reasoning for this is that most attackers are looking for an EASY target. Not a confident, aware woman who looks him dead in the eye. He's looking for the girl who has her head buried in her cell phone, not paying attention to the world around her. How many times have you walked through a parking lot while checking your instagram feed? Never again for me!!! Another point she stressed was that if you do feel something isn't right, you should have TWO plans. A plan and a back up plan. Why? Because if your first plan doesn't work, you are more likely to resort to the backup plan if you have thought it out in advance. If you don't, and your plan "A" doesn't work, you are likely to panic.
Probably the most interesting thing that she talked about (and here's where fitness ties in) was that the "adrenaline rush" myth is REAL. We've all heard about mothers miraculously lifting cars off of their children, or ripping a door off of it's hinges in a fire. This is something that can actually happen. HOWEVER, it happens for a VERY short period of time. It's called an adrenaline "dump". From the second that your adrenaline spikes (you are scared/shocked/etc.), you have 10-15 seconds of this "superhuman" strength. That's not a very long time, but if you know it's happening, you may be able to use it to your advantage. she also mentioned that the fitter you are, the longer your adrenaline dump can last. It could be extended to up to 25 seconds if you are in great shape. Where she was going with this was that you would potentially be able to fight off an attacker or push a large object down to obstruct their path, etc. After that, though, your only mobility will be to run and swing your arms. Our body shuts down blood flow so that if we have defensive wounds, they may not bleed as quickly. This is great for possibly saving our lives, but it also limits our dexterity. You WILL NOT be able to dial a phone, get your key into a door, or anything that requires precise movements (now don't you feel bad for screaming at the girl in the scary movie who kept fumbling to get the keys in the door?). Essentially your arms will club and your feet will run. That's all you got after the adrenaline wears off.
Anyways, like I said, this is just a summary of what she went over. To me, it was absolutely fascinating. I'm obsessed with shows like Criminal Minds and am constantly as alert as possible because unfortunately we all know too well that there are bad people out there. I just wanted to share this with all of you in the hopes that you NEVER have to use this knowledge, but that it may help you feel a little bit safer.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.