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Fitness for Archaeologists


Space_Elf

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My dream career is to be an archaeologist and while I am a was away from realizing that, I want to prepare for it.

The great fitness issues with an archaeology career involve aspects that never seem to make it into the movies. On average your normal archaeologist spend the bulk of the year indoors on a computer, with summers being full of unpredictable high intensity exercise. Could be digging in 100 degree heat, hiking and surveying a site all day, or hunched over a feature scraping away layers of moss with a trowel. You might be right in the heart of a city with easy access to fresh fruits and veggies or you might be camped out in the wilderness with whatever food packs best.

In the interest of beating out competition for paid archaeology jobs, I really want to be that person who's really in shape. She someone's putting together their expedition, I want them to think "Hey, we should ask Jane, she mentioned having done some relevant research and we don't have to worry about her keeping up." As opposed to "Oh, Jane. She's a bit out of shape, do you really think she could manage eight weeks of hiking during the hottest time of the year?"

So, what would you recommend as benchmarks for getting in shape and what would be good workouts to maintain a good level of fitness during the off season?

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Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

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Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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I'm still really wet behind the ears in this whole fitness game, but I'm going to offer my two cents as a biology graduate student. Part of the reason why I'm trying to get in shape is because I DON'T keep up in the field. I eventually get there, but I'm slow and winded and have to stop far too often. But I kind of feel like I know what parts of the puzzle I'm lacking at the moment, and that might help you decide what you need.

 

In my world, the two biggest components are endurance over varied terrain and strength. My plants grow on cliffs and mountains, and I just got back from a collecting trip where I was regularly hiking 13 miles a day with about 2000 feet of elevation gain (it was in gorgeous mountains in Germany and the Czech Republic...while it was physically demanding, I really cannot complain!). On most days, that included carrying a pack with about 30 pounds of field gear, food, and water.

 

In my field experimental work (i.e. not just collecting plants), it's been more varied. I spent two days in May pounding 64 steel t-posts to build experimental plots, and spent last weekend yanking them all back out of the ground (which actually went MUCH easier than I expected). I've also helped my advisor build 7-foot deer fences on a slope of about 40-degrees and then plant 1000 plants.

 

*peeks at profile* If your location is accurate, my recommendation would be to hike. A lot. Climb all the things! Climb them carrying all the things! Here in Central Virginia, we've got the Blue Ridge mountains in our backyard, and I go hiking at least twice a week, and it's really helped with me be able to keep up in the field. My boss still runs rings around me (she runs half-marathons), but I'm at least not holding the group back!

 

Anyway, I don't know if that helps at all, but I think we're probably in similar disciplines physical-demands wise. So maybe if someone else has suggestions for specific workouts that could help the things I mentioned, it might help you?

Level 1 Dwarf Adventurer - [ STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0 ]

 

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You could get lots of exercise lifting gold idols, sprinting away from angry natives, jumping over pit traps, and punching out thugs.  (And then dodging all the flames of political correctness, cause yeah, there are SO many things wrong with that behavior.)  

 

Wait, what do you mean they only do that in movies?  Still sounds like a fun workout to me...

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Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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BLSutherland - I think you've got the right ideas and a lot of hiking is probably a good first step. I prefer to keep the climbing to a minimum.... I feel about heights the way Indiana Jones feels about snakes.

Raincloak - May I suggest you read this? http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/back-from-yet-another-globetrotting-adventure-indiana-jones-checks-his-mail-and-discovers-that-his-bid-for-tenure-has-been-denied

On another note: I tried briefly googling fitness for archaeologists and tragically got a lot of results for the physical anthropology of fitness and couple of articles bemoaning the challenges of staying fit, but little of actual use.

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Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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Sounds like you're looking for some GPP work. There are many ways to go about that. A few organizations that come to mind are Strong Swift Durable, Tactical Athlete, and Atomic Athlete.

 

Some great suggestions there, though I notice all of those programs cost money. Still,it's something to think about.

 

In all seriousness I would recommend some flexibility routine, as hunching over potsherds is gonna cramp, like, every single thing from cranial to metatarsal.

An excellent point about hunching. I remember a training dig I went on where I spent a whole day crouched in a pit barely big enough for me to turn around in, having a a yoga routine might be nice.

Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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Some great suggestions there, though I notice all of those programs cost money. Still,it's something to think about.

 

Not necessarily. SSD has a lot of articles and videos. I believe they also have free weeks of training.

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'Field Scientist Fitness' should totally be a thing, if it's not already!

 

I'm a hydrologist, and a lot of my motivation for fitness training is geared toward my work.  Here are some of the things I've found to make a real difference in my practical fitness:

 

1.  Hiking a lot.

2.  Acclimating to heat before having to exert myself in it.

3.  Lifting free weights.  Heavy lifting, whole body movements.

4.  Gaining enough strength and flexibility to hang out in a squatting position (I guess 'grok squat' is what the kids these days call it).  Even more so, being able to squat with my legs wide apart.  You'd be surprised how often this can come up in field scenarios, when you want to get your face or hands close to something on the ground without stepping on it.

5.  Working on grip and wrist strength.

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Ummm. It seems like if I were super clever I would design up a one-stop fitness guide for field scientists. Divide it up into sections... Body-weight routines, a couch to hike (like all those couch to 5kk programs, but for hiking through tough terrain instead of running), yoga/Pilates for flexibility, and fitness with tools (wheelbarrows, shovels, mattocks, pickaxes, buckets, and such). Maybe an additional section on health and safety in the field.

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Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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Actually, not a mattock, per se, but:

 

From the same fellow that gave us the No S Diet, there is an exercise program: The Shovel Glove.

 

Have fun! :D

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Shovel Glove sounds perfect!

I suppose I could write up a guide of sorts, but I feel like it might be a bit hypocritical of me. I'm neither in shape or an actual field scientist.

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Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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OK, I'm going to write this thing... With help.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HOZEn3H4zP6bKXQgglc0lwcHvK_0vLaeeZ51TruvG1s/edit?usp=docslist_api

Please feel free to comment and if you would like to edit or help with the writing, drop me a PM and we can talk about it.

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Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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So, does anyone have any stories to share? Thoughts or advice? Please chime in!

Still working on chapter 1 (Whst is fitness and why is it important for field scientsists) and sketching out Chapter 2 (fitness habits in and out of the field). Do not hesitate to share a personal account or if you just want to run through and edit let me know. The more eyeballs looking for mistakes, the better.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HOZEn3H4zP6bKXQgglc0lwcHvK_0vLaeeZ51TruvG1s/edit?usp=docslist_api

PS: If you've done any exercise, fitness habit, or workout routine that gets mentioned in a six week challenge, I want to hear about it.

Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

Link to comment

OK, I'm going to write this thing... With help.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HOZEn3H4zP6bKXQgglc0lwcHvK_0vLaeeZ51TruvG1s/edit?usp=docslist_api

Please feel free to comment and if you would like to edit or help with the writing, drop me a PM and we can talk about it.

I see three components of fitness in the document so far: Strength, endurance, and mobility.  You have to have the strength to lift, dig, push, pull, plant, etc.  You need the endurance to be on your feet for hours and hours, walking at altitude with a pack.  You have to have the mobility to sit, kneel, squat, crawl, climb anywhere and around any obstacle that you meet. 

 

There isn't much need to run in the field, but it improves oxygen efficiency, which directly improves endurance, especially at altitude.

Searching the world for a cure for my wanderlust.

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Thank you I got a little lost trying to figure out how to organize things, now I have some ideas. Keep them coming!

Space_Elf, Fallohide Hobbit Level 0. STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

Battle Log | 

Science fiction is an existential metaphor, that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

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