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Fit to Survive? Don’t Be the Weakest Link

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The sole purpose of prepping is to prepare for survival in the event of a cataclysmic event.  As a prepper, you stock your pantry full of non-perishable food, arrange for alternate shelter, stock up on guns and ammo, hoard first-aid supplies and medication, plan for sustainable food sources, and purchase insane inventories of odds and ends out of survivalist catalogs.  But how many preppers miss one of the most basic needs for your survival?  Your overall physical fitness and health could cause you to be either the greatest asset or the weakest link in a survival situation.

Numbers Count

Weight management is a key factor to your potential survival.  Let’s face it, America has not gotten any thinner, even with high unemployment and economic turmoil.  With extra weight, there also follows extra health risks.  Type 2 diabetes is running rampant in our country.  The fact that insulin is difficult to store and may be nearly impossible to acquire in a doomsday scenario should scare most preppers into wanting to avoid an escapable health snare.  There is a definite link to the spare tire on the middle and the dreaded diabetes diagnosis.  Maintaining your health now while you stock up all your other prepper supplies could save you the aggravation of planning for insulin stores later.  There is also heightened risk for injury when you are carrying more pounds than your skeletal frame can comfortably balance or support.  And if you think five or ten pounds here or there won’t make that big of a difference when running from zombies then go grab a bag of flour out of your pantry and haul it around for a few hours.  You will surely notice a decrease in speed if you don’t completely sack out on the floor from sheer exhaustion.

Feel the Burn

I know, everyone has heard about exercise until their ears are bleeding.  When I drive by local fitness clubs in January the parking lot is filled with cars whose owners are packed into the cardio area like pudgy sardines.  They tell themselves that this will be the year they will wear that polka dot bikini with pride or strap their speedo on and possibly be mistaken for Michael Phelps.  Obviously something goes awry or else the parking lot wouldn’t be empty come March with signs blinking from the road peddling half-priced memberships fees.  “Please come in and exercise,” they plead, “your bikini still loves you!”  Preppers should not view exercise as a means of looking spicy hot in the summer, but a way of preparing for harsh physical conditions.  Suppose you have to go to your bug out location on foot for several miles.  What if you actually have to do some heavy climbing?  Do you want to be the sweaty mess at the bottom of the hill waving everyone to go on without you?  Imagine that someone in your group becomes injured and you are too weak and out of shape to carry them?  These are real scenarios that can be avoided.  A hundred years ago people would scoff at the idea of paying to exercise.  Crossfit is currently the latest craze and it basically involves doing some military exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups and then trainers jazz it up with repetitions involving rolling a tractor tire around a grassy lot for a while.  Being fit doesn’t mean throwing out wads of cash so instructors can boss you around yelling, “Roll the tire faster, paint my house, mow my lawn, pull my chariot, feel the burn, blah blah blah!”  Take your fitness into your own hands.

Here are some simple fitness tips to prepare for apocalypse now:

Drop and give me 50.

The U.S. Army trains soldiers for combat and survival and have done so successfully for decades.  Simply doing old school sit-ups,  push-ups, and pull-ups every day will increase your upper body and core strength exponentially.  Set a small goal and every week try to add a few more to your routine.  A good time to do it and get in the habit is before bed.  My husband has been doing this for years, and trust me, he is might sexy.  Pull-up bars can be purchased and installed in a door frame where it is out of the way.  If you are a girl like me and you think you can’t do pull-ups, which is not unusual for the female body, you can cheat a little while still increasing strength.  If you use a giant exercise band and place it over the top of the bar, then slip one loop through the other, pull tight, and allow it to hang down so your foot or feet slip through it, it will give you the help you need.  Remember, the thicker the band; the less you are working, so as you get stronger, buy a thinner band and continue to get smaller bands until you don’t need the aid any longer.  Then challenge your teenage son’s friends to arm wrestling contests and win every time.  You can wager bets on the outcome and when you handily defeat them and turn them red with shame, use the extra money for prepping supplies.  Win, win.

Go play!

Ultimately, get out of the house!  A variety of exercises can be performed on a daily basis that will work all the major muscle groups, give you cardio to keep up your stamina, and you don’t have to pay Biff at the gym to tell you how to do it.  You may even cross off a few things on your wife’s “Honey-Do” list. Run around the yard and play with your kids.  Chase them around until they pee in their pants, play hide and go seek with them, or challenge them to a race.  They will probably win, unless you trick them by tying their shoelaces together.   Go hiking or take long walks with someone you enjoy spending time with and that makes awesome trail mix.  In the warmer months, get out in the garden everyday if you can.  Chop some wood for yourself or offer to do it for someone else.  Don’t give in to the temptation to buy a riding mower unless you have to mow a couple of acres or more.  My widowed grandmother had a simple grass cutter without a motor and she mowed her entire acre and a half without any help. She lived to a very ripe old age and probably could have bench pressed a tractor tire if she needed to.

Take the long way home.

Whenever possible, skip the elevator, and park father from Wal-Mart than you need to.  One day, my battery died in my car.  I had a carload of children and groceries to boot.  We all decided we would walk the three miles back home together and that it was going to be an adventure.  We thoroughly enjoyed our unplanned workout and we talked and told stories to kill the time.  When we returned home, the neighbors asked where we had been and we told them we had just walked from the grocery store and they looked at us like we had grown two heads.  In my mind, several lessons were gained by my kids that day.  First, walking instead of driving won’t kill you, unplanned inconveniences are always around the corner and you must have a Plan B when they happen, whining makes a chore longer, and that when zombies attack they will definitely get our neighbors first.

With the advent of so many modern conveniences, physical exertion and challenges have become almost non-existent.  While some people focus on cardio alone, unfortunately they may realize too late that they don’t have the physical strength they may need in a survival situation.  The opposite is true if you only focus on muscle strength.  I have known many men who were “cut” and built like Popeye the Sailor, but when it came time to prove their speed and agility, they fell short and sulked in the corner curling Smart cars.  The key to survival fitness is practicing both cardiovascular strength as well as muscle strength.  No matter a person’s age or sex, there is always room for improvement.  Small advances toward your overall physical health and fitness can improve your mental capability in high-stress situations and your ability to safeguard supplies as well as those around you from harm.

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