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Fitness as Part of Your Emergency Plan

sandboarding-67663_640You’ve stored your emergency food, you’ve got a water collection and purification system ready and you’ve brushed up on medicinal plants. However, in an emergency situation it won’t matter if you can knit your own socks from your own sheep if you aren’t physically up to the task of raising sheep.

The truth is, most of us have grown up in the Information Age. Lots of us spend most of our days in front of computers or in conference rooms. Gone are the days when members of society had to haul water, hoe weeds or herd animals just to survive. Modern society is not ready for lives of lifting, shoveling, rowing, walking and carrying – me included! (Recently I decided it was time to learn to make my own bread and I was astounded at how hard it was to simply knead dough for eight minutes.)

It’s dawned on us (admittedly during an episode of The Walking Dead) that being physically ready for a different kind of life should be near the top of a preparedness to-do list. If we can’t touch our toes, walk a few miles, lift our own body weight – how are we going to perform the basic tasks necessary to take care of our family and ourself? Worse, what if we’re at risk for a heart attack or a debilitating injury if we suddenly start performing Charles Ingalls-style manual labor?

A good place to start is with a “fitness baseline” – a series of things that you should always be able to perform, and being able to pass the Army Basic Training Physical Fitness (PFT) test is a reasonable goal. Here are the Army PFT minimum requirements (chart courtesy of Wikipedia):

Chart

 

Really, that doesn’t seem so bad does it <gulp!>?

We ran into an article by a former Navy SEAL (Stew Smith) that gave excellent tips for training and building up to the basic requirements. You don’t have to be an exercise fanatic to like Stew’s library of apps and eBooks on fitness.

One more important thing: There is empirical evidence that regularly moving your muscles and joints through their full range of motion prevents injury. Deep stretching, at least every other day, should be on the menu. We like this series from SparkPeople, and basic yoga stretches also make good sense. Here’s a good YouTube video for beginners.

Holistic fitness is a big challenge all it’s own, but it’s one worth pursuing. Not just to look and feel good, but for the ability rise to the challenge of a new reality if needed.

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