Physical fitness is a preparedness area that needs constant attention. It is something that needs to be worked on and kept up on. Just because you were a long distance runner on the high school track team doesn’t mean you can outrun the zombies at age 35. And you do want to be able to outrun the zombies, right?
Actually, outrunning the zombies is only one reason to be in good physical condition. In a grid down situation, there will be plenty of manual labor to be done. Everything from clearing debris, to building shelter, to hiking yourself and your family and all your gear to a safer location.
I’m not saying you need to be a marathon runner or super body-builder (unless you already are–then you’re ahead of the game). But being out of shape will not help you a bit when your physical abilities are being tested in what could be a life and death situation.
There are a few things to consider when you are thinking about conditioning your body for work harder than sitting at a desk in a cubicle eating jelly doughnuts.
1. Start slow. Especially if you haven’t been doing much physical activity in the recent past. If you have health considerations, you may need to consult your physician about which activities and exercise programs would be best for you.
2. Don’t quit. Exercise is only good while you are doing it regularly.
3. Just because someone is lean doesn’t mean they are in shape. I have a crazy fast metabolism, so rarely look like I’m out of shape. However, I know that I have been. And I know there are people who look out of shape that could outwork or outrun me pretty easily.
4. “Good physical condition” is not the same for everyone. It is not the same for me now as it was when I was 19 or as it will be when I’ll be 65. Our bodies give us certain physical limitations depending on age, genetics, etc. The idea is to be in as good a physical condition as you in your present circumstances can be.
5. Is a little fat good? Maybe so. It could act as a buffer against disease, or lower the food intake you will need. But don’t go believing an extra 100 lbs of weight you don’t need on you qualifies as “food storage”!
6. You will lose weight as you begin exercising. If you are exercising before a disaster, you can go buy new clothes that fit! But if you don’t start exercising until after the disaster (or even if your exercise level intensifies–especially if your food intake decreases), you’ll probably shrink out of your clothes. Consider stocking smaller sizes of clothes, overalls (they always fit, right?) or suspenders. Another option is having the skills to alter clothes to fit your new smaller size.
Your physical condition could be one of the most important parts of your preparedness efforts. It won’t do you any good to have lots of supplies if you’re going to keel over from a heart attack when you need to relocate it all quickly. And the extra energy and strength you will have will help you even if disaster never strikes. So go ahead and get off the computer and go for a walk. If it’s just too cold out there for you, there are plenty of exercise videos available online, or you can even probably check some out for free at your local library. Find something that you enjoy and stick with it!