We all know that a grid down, disaster situation, which we hope never happens, would be physically exhausting. Just think, how long would it take you to walk home from work. If you work downtown and commute from the suburbs, it may take a whole day or two. In a long term collapse, you may have to evacuate and leave the city on foot, carrying whatever supplies you can take with you. Even worse, if some ruffians were trying to rob you, can you possibly outrun them?
You may not consider “getting in shape” a skill you really need to be prepared, but if you really think about it, having some endurance and stamina would really help you physically cope with what lies ahead. Even if nothing happens, all of us would benefit from working out on a regular basis.
I had the following fitness goals:
- I wanted to gain some cardiovascular exercise as well as build strength.
- The fitness plan has to be free and easily accessible. No gym memberships for me, I don’t have the budget for a new bill.
- It can’t be too time consuming, as I work full time and write on my free time, there is not much time for anything else.
I started going up and down the apartment stairs to get in shape.
The first day I did it, I felt good and kept doing it for 10 minutes. What I didn’t realize was, the soreness does not come in until the next afternoon. Because I overdid it, I was so sore I could not move my leg to even take one step! I had to recuperate for a couple of days before I could start back up. I did the routine in five minute increments, until I got used to it then increased five minutes each time.
Once I got used to going up and down the stairs for 15 minutes straight, I started carrying a full backpack. I filled an old backpack with rice, beans, sugar, industrial size peanut butter until it weighed close to 20 lbs. I started slow and easy, doing five minute increments. If you encounter anyone they will assume you are getting in shape for a backpacking trip. I actually see quite a few people walking around town with a full backpack, so it doesn’t raise any eyebrows.
I do this workout every other day, giving my muscles time to rest in between.
After a few weeks of doing this, I feel a lot stronger and more energetic. Note: I am not a fitness professional. This is not to be taken a recommendation or advise, just sharing my new exercise routine. Check with your doctor before starting any fitness program.
If you want to try this, here are a few tips:
- Make sure you stretch before you start the workout. Do some marching in place, swing your arms around.
- Do not overdo your first time-you may feel energetic but you will feel sore the next day.
- Make sure you know all entrances and exits and where the stairwell leads – some floors are locked from the other side and you would not want to get stuck
- Wear sturdy athletic shoes that protect your feet.
- Go with a buddy or only use stairs that are well-lit and secure. If you see someone who “gives you the creeps, steer clear and go later.
- Music is optional but helps relieve boredom. If you have an MP3 player, listen to some lively songs to help get you going.
- If you have bad knees, this may not be the workout for you; instead do a gradual walking program and carry the backpack when you feel ready.
- Bring water and a small towel for when you get sweaty.
If I ever had to run out of the city, I hope to be fit enough at least to carry some of my preps. This workout shows me how much preps I can actually carry.
For more preparedness tips, read my book: