If you want to make it through a tough situation, you have to be on top of your survival fitness game. You’ll need a good head on your shoulders. You must be emotionally sound. Most of all, you have to be physically fit because stressful situations can be demanding to your body, to say the least.
Weathering disasters greatly depend on getting down and dirty. You’ll be using your hands and feet to get stuff done and to survive.
When the situation calls for it, can you run to safety without getting a stitch on your side or walk long distances with a heavy bug out bag on your back? Will you be able to lift heavy objects or help pull people out of the rubble? Are your arms strong enough to chop wood or set up shelter?
3 Survival Fitness Exercises to Try
Many preppers think that physical fitness is a given, but the truth is, not everyone is in great shape. Just think of all the hours you spend sitting at your desk all day. Others claim to be “too busy” to actually work out.
Unfortunately, being out of shape puts you at a serious disadvantage. If you really want to prepare for the apocalypse, you need to hone your body into a well-oiled machine. You don’t have to bulge with muscles—you just need to have a healthy, capable body that can get you out of dodge when SHTF.
Here are a few survival fitness exercises you can try:
Go for the Long Haul by Doing Cardio Exercises
Aerobic or cardio exercises are activities that prompt your body to increase heart rate and respiration. These include fitness skills like walking, hiking, running, biking, and swimming—any activity that aims to keep your body up and running for the long haul can be considered cardio.
The main goal of these exercises is to build endurance. And in a survival situation, you’ll need all the endurance you can get.
You might need to flee from imminent danger or trek long distances to get to a safer location. During these situations, a good pair of lungs will keep you from running out of breath or passing out.
Running, like most cardio exercises, doesn’t need special equipment. It’s a full-body workout that keeps your core and calf muscles engaged while improving your breathing and circulation. If you want to be in shape, all you need is a path and a good pair of shoes.
Start slow and steady by jogging and covering short distances first. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can increase your distance and maybe even take on various paths like sand or grass. Don’t forget to wear footwear that offers arch and ankle support so you don’t injure yourself. Here are other helpful tips for runners.
Cardio exercises aren’t limited to just running or swimming either. You can do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) just like the video above. It involves doing reps of high-intensity cardio exercises like jump rope, knee taps, and bicycles between 15-second breaks. It’s a great workout you can do at home and it’s sure to improve your endurance as well as burn body fat.
Increase Your Strength
Another important aspect of survival fitness is strength.
In emergencies and disasters, you’ll need to lift heavy stuff or assist other people. Sometimes, you can accomplish these things thanks to a sudden burst of adrenaline, but that can quickly fizzle out.
What will you do then?
You’ll still need strength to carry that bug out bag, chop firewood, set up a shelter, and hunt for food. You need to be strong enough to get those tasks done, and that’s where these doomsday fitness exercises come in.
If cardio is focused on endurance for the long haul, anaerobic or strength exercises are geared towards building muscle mass and strength. Studies also show that strength training gives you stronger bones. Basically, these exercises make you a stronger, sturdier individual. Strength training includes weight lifting, squats, push-ups, and presses.
Strength exercises are varied since each type can cater to a different muscle group. The video above shows the basics using a couple of dumbbells. When practicing these fitness skills, make sure to execute proper form to decrease the chances of back injuries or muscle strain.
Rucking is an activity that’s been gaining a lot of followers from the fitness community. It’s especially attractive to preppers because it involves carrying a rucksack (thus the term) for several miles.
A good survivalist should be prepared to walk several miles with a pack in tow. If you haven’t trained your body to carry a 40-60lb bug out bag, the bag’s weight can take its toll on your back and hips. Each mile will be torture, and you’ll be tempted to leave your bag and precious supplies behind.
Rucking is perfect for survival fitness because it conditions your body to avoid that scenario. It combines elements of hiking and weight training, so it improves your cardio while working on your back and hip strength, muscle mass, and posture. It also burns more calories than regular hiking or jogging.
Rucking shows you how to work on your pack’s ideal weight while allowing you to discover locations and sceneries that can be useful when you need to bug out.
Much like prepping, survival fitness is a lifestyle. It’s not something you do for a short period of time. Fitness isn’t made up of crash diets or fads. It’s all about staying holistically healthy. It’s about taking care of your body by eating right, getting rid of bad habits, and of course, exercising regularly.
Your body is like a machine; if you don’t use it often, it’s bound to break under stress. And survival is a very stressful situation.
Do yourself a favor: get off your butt and start exercising. Again, survival fitness isn’t about being a huge bodybuilder. You don’t need to be ripped with muscles. You simply need to get moving because your life may depend on it.
Any fitness skills you plan on learning for SHTF? Let us know in the comments!