Last night my husband was showing me how to handle a rifle. I have had some experience target shooting with a pistol, but this time he wanted to make sure I know how to hold the rifle and use the scope properly. The rifle was about three lbs., plus a couple of lbs for the scope. We practiced positioning it correctly, aiming and carrying it around properly. This morning I woke up and my arms and shoulders were sore. We did not spend hours practicing, it was only about 30 minutes tops! But I was using muscles I did not normally work out on a daily basis so I got sore.
When we were trying out backpacks, the store clerk added weighted pillows to the backpacks to position them correctly, and had us walk around for 20 minutes. At the end of those 20 minutes, my back and shoulders were complaining–I got sore just testing backpacks. I did not think I was completely out of shape: my normal work out routine includes 30 minutes of walking a day, or about 1 1/2 mile and free weights for about 15 minutes. But again, the walk is an easy pace, with no backpack to weigh me down.
Which got me to thinking, how prepared are we physically if the SHTF tomorrow and we had to run out of the city on foot, carrying our bug out bags? Living in the middle of the big city, we would have to travel at least 20 miles to get out, more if we wanted to get further away. Our bags would be at least 20 pounds, and we would likely be traveling in 80 degree weather. It would be pretty rough! I know I’d be huffing and puffing, stopping every couple of miles. I don’t know about you, but how far do you think you can get on foot, with a heavy pack, in either heat or cold? What if you were being chased? The reality is, even with my usual daily walks to maintain weight, I am not in good enough shape for TEOTWAWKI. I don’t know if there is even a way to get in shape for this sort of thing, but I have to try.
So I am changing my workout routine. I will continue to walk, but will travel longer and longer distances (only in safe areas, and with a weapon.) I will do more strengthening exercises for arms and legs. The rest of the family is also on board about getting in shape. Once we are in better shape, the family and I will go on extended hikes with our heavy backpacks. If you are considering adding or changing your workout routine, please remember:
- Get a physical checkup with your doctor, if you haven’t had one in a while. We did our checkups over the summer, so we know our baselines for weight, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.
- Start slow: Walk or bike 10 minutes initially, gradually increasing pace and time as you get used to the routine
- Listen to your body. If you are getting too tired, or the weights are getting too uncomfortable, stop, go slower or use less weight.
- Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout.
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
- If taking walks, stay in known safe areas; let someone know where you are going and be aware of your surroundings.
If things continue to stay “normal” as I pray they would, in a few months we’d be in better physical condition, maybe even lose a few pounds. Taking up hiking would be a fun family activity, and if things in the city were to take a turn for the worse, hopefully this gives us a better chance to bug out and run for safety.