Human Endurance


People have experienced all kinds of hostile environments and pushed beyond the limits of the body to not only survive but triumph. Sports and health psychologist, Lydia Ievleva, says that it is difficult to define what makes an ordinary person able to master their pain and push beyond limits. “We like to think of it from a psychological perspective as mind over body. Like even when people are completely tired somehow they manage to find some extra reserves.”


She says that some people might suggest that it comes down to a soul, or a spiritual level. “Or they might refer to it as heart. Even the word courage comes from heart, because the root of the word is 'cour' which means heart.” She says that is widely believed that people are able to tap into something that seems to be beyond the body. But they can only do so if the pursuit is meaningful to them.





















Super People- Feeling Pressured

A look at what pressure, high and low, does to the human body.


Ask a High Energy Astronomer

Answers the question “how long can a human live unprotected in space?”. The answer might surprise you and change the way write sci-fi stories.


The Human Body Has No Limits

Alternative link:

An intriguing article from an interview with Dr. Jack Wilmore, head of the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University.

He suggests that records will continue to fall in sport because we do not know what the limits of the body are.


Federal Emergency Management Agency (US)- Extreme Heat

What happens to the body under conditions of extreme heat.


US National Weather Service- Heat Wave

Some pointers on what heat does to the body and steps to take to prevent injury or to treat those affected by extreme heat.


Adventure Sports Online- Hypothermia

Looks at heat loss in the snow and in the water and what you can do to prevent them.


Hypothermia - Physiology, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Considerations

Posted by the Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia this is a pretty in depth look at the problem of human heat loss and how to treat it.


Guinness World Records

Look up some of the extremes that humans have been to and survived.


Altitude Sickness

A look at what happens to people at heights of over 2,400 metres and how altitude sickness can be prevented.


Outdoor Action guide to high altitude

Outlines what happens to the body at altitude and tells how to acclimatize and endure high altitudes without it killing you.


Spaceflight Now- Test Subjects Wanted for hyper-gravity experiment

An article on NASA's quest to find willing test subjects to test human tolerances of extended periods subjected to g-forces.


Student suggestion

A "heat wave dangers" link suggested by Elizabeth Owens and her students at Pine Mountain Central School District in the USA.




Epic: Stories of Survival from the world's highest peaks

Edited by Clint Willis

Some of the best writings ever on mountaineering, and the extremes to which climbers have subjected themselves (LandsdownePress).


Become A Human Body Explorer

By Dawson Paul

An look at this amazing machine and how it works, a good framework of knowledge for knowing how it can endure extremes (Dorling Kindersley).


DK Guide to the Human Body: A Photographic Journey Through the Human Body

By Richard Walker

Using computer-enhanced three-dimensional pictures, this book explores the complex internal world of the human body. In different sections of the book, the processes involved in moving, breathing, digesting food producing babies, growing, & fighting off disease are explained (Dorling Kindersley).


Explorer: DK Eyewitness Guides

By Rupert Matthews

A catalogue of some of the amazing things that human beings have been able to do as a result of pushing their bodies and minds to extremes (Dorling Kindersley).


Human Body: Eyewitness Guides

By Steve Parker

Since ancient times, people have sought to understand the structure & function of the human body. This book traces the ongoing quest by scientists & physicians to understand the complex, intricate nature of our living form (Dorling Kindersley).



By Stuart Diver

On 30 July 1997 a landslide swept away two ski lodges at Thredbo burying 19 people under tonnes of debris. Skiing instructor Stuart Diver was the only suvivor, enduring freezing conditions buried underground for 65 hours. This book shows how his background and attitude to life gave him the mental and physical strength to survive the tragedy (Pan Macmillan).


Deep Descent

By Kevin F. McMurray

McMuray describes his diving expeditions to the wreck of the Andrea Doria and profiles the extreme scuba divers who push themselves beyond the limits of recreational divers to reach this ultimate deepwater wreck challenge (Simon and Schuster).


Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance

By Peter Stark

In a fascinating blend of adventure and science, Stark recreates in heart-stopping detail what happens to our bodies and minds in the last moments of life when an extreme adventure goes awry (Ballantine Books).



By Alred Lansing

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 set sail for Antarctica, aiming to cross the continent overland. The ship became trapped, then crushed, by ice and, for five months, Shackleton and his men survived in one of the most savage regions on Earth. This is their story (Wiedenfield and Nicholson).


Life at the Extremes

By Frances Ashcroft

How do people survive extremes of heat, cold, depth and height? For the geneticist, inheritance is all. But for the physiologist, extremism is all. This book explores the limits to human survival and the physiological adaptations which enable us to exist under extreme conditions (Flamingo HarperCollins).


SAS Desert Survival

By Barry Davies

As well as a section on basic survival techniques relevant to any hostile environment, this guide, based on SAS training and techniques, offers specific details pertinent to survival in desert areas. Drawing on practical, first-hand knowledge, the entries are arranged in order of survival priority (Virgin Books).