Health & Self-Defense: The Physical Effects of an Attack

posted on May 31, 2019
sheriff-jim-5-28-15.jpg (18)

Let me begin by saying that I’m not a doctor and have never even played one on TV. But it doesn't take a medical degree to understand the great amount of stress that a criminal attack can place on your heart and what you can do about it.

When we get in the so-called fight-or-flight mode, our body thinks we might be about to be hurt and lose blood. So our brain calls down to the boiler room (heart) and gives the order to kick production into high gear to replace what might be about to be lost. This can put a lot of stress on the body. Unless a person has actually been in a fight for his life, it is difficult to imagine the exact amount of stress that we are talking about. Trust me, it’s a lot and can even bring on a heart attack.

Fortunately, there are a couple of things that we can do to combat this extreme increase in blood pressure and the effect it can have on our performance and our ability to survive. Unfortunately, just saying that you are not going to have a heart attack is not one of the solutions.

To begin with, we can avoid severe stress by preparing for the likelihood of a criminal attack. This is one of the main reasons that we take the time and expense to get good training. Then we make the time to practice what we have learned. Developing some confidence in our defensive abilities helps us to stay calm, deal with the problem, and keep our stress level within manageable boundaries.

Training, practice and planning helps us to avoid blind panic. When we have been tripping along in La-La Land, everything looks beautiful and peaceful until evil jumps right into our faces. This is what we should avoid at all costs. Instead of panicking, it is far better to be in a mental state where we can say, “They told me that this might happen and I know just what to do about it.”

That attitude comes from honing your skills. And it will also keep your heart rate down to manageable levels.

It also helps immensely if a defensive shooter is in good physical condition. I am not talking about being in the kind of shape that will allow you to win a 10K marathonalthough there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But getting some sort of regular exercise and dumping a little excess weight can keep the heart healthier and keep it from exploding when the crisis hits. Regular walking and trips to the gym are a good thing. Of course, check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your own situation.

Let’s be clear about this: a criminal attack is an extremely traumatic experience and it can, in fact, create the kind of stress that leads to a heart attack. Being properly trained and in good physical condition are the two things most likely to get you through it successfully.


Remington Safes
Remington Safes

First Look: Remington Safes From SA Consumer Products

The legacy and heritage behind Remington ammunition now stands guard over your most precious valuables.

A Half-Dozen High-End Handguns

If you got it, flaunt it.

First Look: Rival Arms X1 Micro Reflex Sight

A 3 MOA dot with multiple mounting options.

First Look: X-Vision Optics Thermal Reflex Sight

X-Vision Optics is releasing a new thermal reflex sight offering an excellent price to performance ratio and also designed with versatility in mind.

First Look: Hornady RAPiD Security Safe Keypad Vault

Keep your defensive firearm is secure and away from prying hands.

First Look: High Speed Gear Vigil EDC Belt

A durable and low-profile belt that helps you carry your gear without standing out from the crowd.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.