Article after article has been written on survival gear, evacuation planning, and nearly any survival topic you can think of, but something I rarely see mentioned is physical fitness. Yet, physical fitness is probably one of the most overlooked but vitally important considerations when planning to survive most crisis situations.
If you consider yourself prepared to survive but fail to maintain your fitness level, you may be in for a huge shock when confronted with a crisis -possibly a very deadly one.
During most disasters, both your physical and mental abilities are going to be taxed far beyond anything you probably experience on a daily basis. So if you’re not in shape, survival will be much harder than you think – even if you have a home full of fancy gear and supplies.
Why physical fitness is so important to your survival:
- Some disasters may require you to evacuate by foot. Carrying a bag full of supplies or tired children will quickly become a challenge if you’re not prepared to face that type of strenuous activity.
- Stress will take its toll. A crisis can be incredibly draining, not only mentally but physically as well. To be able to respond to a stressful survival situation, you need to keep your body in top physical shape.
- Your life and your family’s life depend on your physical fitness and your ability to perform under harsh strenuous conditions.
Analyzing your level of fitness
If your physical fitness doesn’t go beyond getting up to grab that cold beer out of the refrigerator on your way back to the couch, you need to rethink your actual level of preparedness.
Even if you consider yourself to be relatively fit, our modern-day lifestyle doesn’t require most people to maintain a high level of physical activity throughout the day – especially those who sit behind a computer. Because of that, most people simply aren’t prepared to deal with the rigorous amounts of physical activity that may be required of them during a crisis.
Now is the time to honestly start to assess your fitness level. Even those who hit the gym may not be in the shape they think they’re in. While having a daily exercise program is excellent, if you spend the rest of your day sitting behind a computer screen, you’re probably not in the shape you think you’re in. If you are required to sit all day for work, at the very least, you should be taking frequent breaks to stretch, move around, and get your heart rate up. Even better would be doing some sort of cardio or fitness activity during your breaks. A few push-ups, some jumping jacks, or a quick jog up a flight of stairs can be a great way to break up the day and maintain your physical readiness.
Getting into Shape
What you do really depends on you, but you must do something. Whether it’s joining a gym, doing some sort of at-home program like P90X, or hiking your local trails, the point is you need to commit to something that helps keep your body in top physical condition.
Personally, I think hiking with a good amount of weight in your backpack is one of the best things you can do to stay in shape, and it also gives you a good chance to try out some outdoor wilderness skills which could help during certain survival situations. But again, what you choose is not as important as choosing something and sticking with it.