Fitness Reality Check

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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.

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  1. Good post……

    Not only is fitness going to be very important in a survival situation, but in the coming economy as well.

    With what appears to be growing costs associated with healthcare – staying healthy will save money as well.

    Take care – Rourke

  2. You might want to do some of your walks with your boots on and/or carrying a pack. If I haven’t gone hiking for a while I always put on my boots and a pack and take a stroll around the neighborhood, it lets your body get used to the weight, lets you know if everything is fitting properly, and lets you know how good or bad of shape you’re in.

  3. Great reminders! Unless physical fitness is a high priority, it constantly gets pushed to the bottom of the list, especially for busy moms. Thanks for inspiring me to get MOVING!

  4. Considere Geocaching as an activity. Not only will it make your walks more interesting, but it’ll give you some pratical experience with a GPS unit.

  5. If possible, you might want to look into CrossFit and/or switching to a more strength-biased workout program; something like Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” that focuses on the squat, deadlift, bench and standing presses, and pullups. Strength in those exercises will translate into every aspect of your life better than any amount of walking, running, or “bodypart toning” workouts. Especially in a SHTF scenario, to quote Rip “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and generally more useful.” The occasional walk or run with boots and pack could be useful, but focusing on strength and speed will give you far more bang for your buck.

  6. Do pushups, squats, and pullups. These exercises have the advantages of teaching you to move your body as an integrated unit and strengthening supporting muscles. They require minimal equipment, so you can knock out a few every hour or so(just don’t accidentally overdo it).

    Also, don’t forget to stretch afterwords. Gotta give those muscles room to grow!

    1. I like the idea of doing a few pushups/squats/pullups and stretching, instead of spending long hours at the gym. This seems to be a more gradual approach. I will have to try it. Thank you A different Travis.

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