Health and Fitness for Preppers, by Jason M.

A lot of what is posted at the SurvivalBlog site talks about what you should do after a The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) situation happens. We are constantly forgetting the here and now. I believe that there is an awful lot that can be done today to help maximize your ability to survive if a TEOTWAWKI situation actually goes occur. If the end never does happen, then my suggestions don’t cost you a dime and still improve you and your family’s quality of life. 

We all know what fire can do for morale, boiling water for sanitation, and cooking food for long lasting survivability, but what if you can’t complete the basic tasks that keep you going? Being physically fit and ensuring that your family has a basic level of fitness greatly enhances your family’s survival probability.  My grandfather always said the foundation of any building determines its ability to flex and cope with change. The foundation that relates to a TEOTWAWKI situation is being physically fit to be able to cope with the changes that will inevitably occur when the end is here.

There are multiple health affects to consider when a member of your family is out of shape and the end happens. Nobody can afford to have a seriously sprained ankle, let alone a major disease like diabetes. If you are active and physically fit, the likelihood of both of those cases decreases dramatically. While you can never account for a random injury, or the onset of a serious disease, strengthening your body increases your adaptability for survival. By starting to be physically active in ways that will translate to a TEOTWAWKI situation you decrease the likelihood of torn muscles and physical stress because your body is used to physical activity. Physical fitness will increase the threshold of general tiredness your body can withstand. Due to the basic struggle of survival life, fatigue is the enemy. Knowing your physical limitations, and those of your family, increase your ability to plan activities and prolong survival.

It’s easy for me to sit here and say that you’ll be better prepared if you’re in better shape, but I have a plan for you to get there. My plan contains zero protein shakes, zero expenditure of funds, and zero corporate endorsements. My plan is simple. Hard work, discipline, and using your head wrapped in four steps.

Step one: Analyze future situations.

What likely situation will you face if the end happens?  Walking, running, chopping fire-wood, pulling and pushing various objects, lifting and carrying objects to and from camp are a decent starting point. Extrapolate further and you could see fighting, hunting, building as well. Don’t forget about the mental stress either, that is the one that is a true killer

Think I’m just talking about you? Think again. I’m telling you that your wife, your children, your parents, and anyone else you plan on meeting up with and surviving with need to be in shape. Round isn’t a shape, but it sure is a drain on survival. Imagine if you are the only physically fit person in your camp. You will end up carrying the bulk of the physical workload, and you will break down. All of these tasks equate to the level of stress you will be feeling. By being active you can control your stress to a manageable level and that will enable you to think clearly. Remember this and prepare for it in your mind now; you will face physically punishing tasks on a daily basis and fatigue is just as deadly as any cold night. 

Step two: Use your planed scenario to create an exercise regimen that is realistic, attainable, and something your whole family can stick to.

Obviously, you don’t expect your 3 year old to knock out 50 push-ups every time the your favorite sports team throws a touchdown. I’m not talking military style Physical Training (PT) for every member of your family, but something as simple as taking a family walk through the neighborhood every night will build the strength and make the effort of walking in a TEOTWAWKI situation less of a stressor. Having your wife do some core exercises like  planks, sit ups, and crunches can do wonders for her core strength and who knows, she (and you) might just like the way her body responds to the increased exercise too. Adapt your plan so that every member feels included, but at a level that is proportionate to their current fitness level and your goals related to your planned survival situation.

What my family does is listed below:

Sunday:            Long walk, 3+ miles
Monday:          Upper body and 1.5 mi run
Tuesday:          Core
Wednesday:      Legs and 1.5 mi run.
Thursday :        Core
Friday:              Long walk, 3+ miles
Saturday:          Rest day

The upper body workout is alternating three sets of pushups and  three sets of pull ups until you cannot pump any more out. This challenges your body to work to fatigue and then do that two more times. Over time you will see a dramatic gain in upper body strength that has virtually limitless applications in the survival world.

The legs days are a 3 sets of lunges, squats, and jumps that challenge your strongest muscles. Lunges go in different directions to challenge your form and balance.

Core days are complete butt kickers. Everything is in sets of 30. Crunches, leg lifts, flutter kicks, planks (30 seconds), scissor kicks, and sit ups. Then repeat that 3 times.

The long walks are for my wife, our beagle, and I to get in at least 3 miles. This allows us to communicate after long days of work and to just become closer as a family while we improve our bodies.

The rest day is also very important. In your preparations you must practice moderation and give your body time to recover. If you have to replace a core day with a rest day, that’s fine.

Remember that each person has their personal limits and starting point. When I started this I couldn’t do a pull up without both feet on a chair for support. I’m still a work in progress as I am just now at the point where I can do 5 pull ups, unassisted. It isn’t the number or repetitions that matter to me, it’s working to get better that matters. If you need to insert more rest days, change the intensity of the workout, that’s fine. Just get started. Everyday you either get better or worse, you don’t stay the same.

Step three: Prioritize fitness. 

Start today. Not tomorrow, or waiting for payday to get a gym membership. Don’t spend weeks on step two, trying to get it just right. Don’t force yourself to decide between purchasing articles for your bug-out bag or a gym membership, it isn’t necessary. Body weight exercises are the core that will build your ability to survive. Push-ups and pull- ups are necessary to build upper body strength that would be used in the everyday effort to keep a fire going. If you’re able withstand the physical strains that are part of survival you can check off one more thing on the list and consider yourself just that much more prepared.

All the time you spend reading blogs, watching YouTube instructional videos and learning survival techniques should be offset by time spent improving your fitness level. If you’re not willing to put the work in you won’t be ready. No amount of reading and watching can make you stronger or able to walk further.

Step four: Lead by example.

If you’re the leader of a house that has multiple members you can’t be barking orders of physical fitness without being part of the effort. Understand that changes in your lifestyle will affect your relationships at home. If you are attentive to the needs and concerns of your family the entire effort will have a positive affect on your family.

We all talk about ways to prepare our families. By learning to defend ourselves, basic medicine, bartering, bug-out preparedness and a myriad of other preparation techniques that will all help you be successful should the need arise. But what about the basics? often the simplest things get over looked and under addressed. Take the time to converse with your family and explain the importance of being physically fit and how doing so enables your plans for survival to go  more smoothly.

Everything that I suggested here in my article is free. There are no start-up costs, enrollment fees, and pressure to sell you. Every local park has some form of pull up bar that you can use and the rest is completely revolved around using your own body weight. That is the beauty of it, no matter what your economical situation this is one thing you can do today to make yourself better prepared for a TEOTWAWKI situation. The only commodity is time, and you’re willing to spend that reading this blog, so why not prepare your body for when the need arises?