The Physical Side of EDC
“Get a gun” is where the advice often begins for people who are facing a potential threat to their physical safety. It’s safe to say that regular visitors to the Bravo Concealment blog are already aware that having a gun is a small step in the direction of self-protection. There’s also selecting the right gun holster, getting training, understanding the laws around carry, and the list goes on.
A sometimes-neglected item on that list is physical fitness. It’s a matter of course that a gun can be a great equalizer of physical disparity. However, an element of the gun-owning community neglects the role that physical fitness can play in preventing and dealing with violent crime. They do this to their detriment. This is especially true of gun owners who are in or past middle age, when the strength, flexibility, and endurance enjoyed at an earlier age are gradually lost unless they are targeted for maintenance. Since I’ve walked around this planet long enough to be in that demographic, the following advice comes from personal experience and not just observation.
First Come the Excuses
But is a word that may have already come to mind since reading the previous paragraph. News flash, Mijo: we all have something wrong with our physical selves. There’s a saying that goes—
Don't focus on what you can't do with what you don't have; do what you can with what you have.
We can all do something to improve our bodily fitness, and therefore our survivability.
Fitness As Your Crime-Fighting Friend
Here are a few of the prime benefits, as I see them, of maintaining the temple of water, meat, and bones we were given by the Creator.
Any amount of improved fitness—whether it’s strength, flexibility, dexterity, or nutrition that fosters a healthy glow—improves confidence. When confidence is raised, other things improve. The erect posture, willingness to look a stranger in the eye, and overall “power” related to that confidence is visible across the parking lot! This alone is a de-selection factor for the majority of common street offenders who would rather pick easy prey. That includes potential targets who are elderly or in some way less mobile. Yes, confidence can be temporarily faked and sometimes that’s okay, but owning it as an innate result of health is so much easier.
Improved Perception and Decision-Making
There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that being overweight has a cost to the brain as well as the bodily systems that carry that baggage around. Clouded decision-making based in decreased ability to process multiple data points in short order, as is usually the case during a violent crime, is of course less desirable. Dropping excess pounds usually results in a clearer head and improved energy.
Injury Prevention and Winner’s Insurance
Should you find yourself in a situation that demands a physical fight or escape attempt, virtually any degree of fitness over couch potato status provides a big step up on the survival ladder. Know your physical weak points and dedicate some work to that area. Flexibility is great for injury prevention and regaining balance after an upset. And it only takes a few minutes daily to improve. Strength can likewise help in virtually any physical emergency. This is especially true for people who find operating a gun physically difficult. There’s no gym membership needed to curl a carton of milk or squeeze a stress ball a few times per week. Endurance may be necessary to escape a mass casualty situation or other disaster, and can be groomed both physically and in the mind by sticking to pretty much any fitness plan.
No Motivation or Money Necessary
“But I’m not motivated,” or “I hate (name the physical activity)” are typical reasons given for not maintaining a fitness program. Motivation is great, but it’s never always present, even for elite athletes. The good news is twofold: 1) It’s possible to get your fitness activity in for the day even when you don’t feel like it; 2) The act of not feeling like it and doing it anyway today almost guarantees you’ll feel motivated tomorrow.
“But I don’t have money for a gym membership” is pretty much a lame excuse, if a common one. Make fitness happen when and where you can. There are scads of free resources out there, not to mention a great big world to go walking (or running, or paddle boarding, or whatever) around in. What you do doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that you do it.
Yes, the gun and holster are components of EDC. But the health we carry every day is a powerful tool that’s legal everywhere, so we might as well make the most of it. What have you done to improve your EDC fitness? Tell us in the comments.
Many thanks to Vasque for the trail shoes, Minus33 for the summer wool socks, and Bravo Concealment for the Torsion holster that goes almost everywhere I do.
Eve Flanigan is a defensive shooting and concealed carry instructor living in the American Southwest. Today she works full time as an instructor and writer in the gun industry. Flanigan loves helping new and old shooters alike to develop the skills needed to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.