Whoever coined the term “survival of the fittest” wasn’t kidding. If you want to make it through a tough situation, you have to be on top of your game. You’d need a good head on your shoulders. You must be emotionally sound. Most of all, you have to be physically fit because survival 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 to the 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 rubble? Are your arms strong enough to chop wood or set up shelter?

Not Everyone Is In Great Shape

Many preppers think that physical fitness is a given, but the truth is, not everyone is in great shape. Some are tied to jobs that require them to sit all day; some simply don’t have time to work out. Unfortunately, being out of shape puts you at a serious disadvantage. If you really want to prepare, you have to start by honing 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 exercises that you can try so that when the apocalypse happens, you can kick it right in the butt.

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 walking, 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’d need all the endurance you can get.

In the movie Zombieland, the first rule of surviving the undead was cardio. You won’t have a horde of zombies snapping at your heels in real life, but you might encounter situations that are far worse. You might need to flee from imminent danger, or need to trek through long distances to get to a safer location. And during these situations, you want to have a good pair of lungs so you won’t run out of breath or pass 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’ll need is a good pair of shoes and a path. 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 proper 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 that you can do at home and it’s sure to improve your endurance as well as burn body fat.

Increase Your Strength

Another thing you need to survive a SHTF situation is strength. In emergencies and disasters, you will need to lift heavy stuff or assist other people. A person can sometimes accomplish these things thanks to a sudden burst of adrenalin, but that can quickly fizzle out. What will you do then? You’d still need strength to carry that bug out bag, chop firewood, set up shelter or hunt for food. You need to be strong enough to get those tasks done, and that’s where these 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 dumb bells. When doing these type of exercises, make sure to execute proper form to decrease the chances of back injuries or muscle strain.

Try Rucking

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 for 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 a torture and you’ll be tempted to leave your bag and precious supplies behind. Rucking is the perfect way to condition your body so you can 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.

Fitness Is A Lifestyle

Much like prepping, staying fit 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.

Our bodies are like machines; if we don’t use them regularly, they’re bound to break under stress. And survival is a very stressful situation. Do yourself a favor: make sure you survive by getting off your butt and exercising. Again, you don’t need to be a huge bodybuilder. You don’t need to be ripped with muscles. You simply need to get moving, because your survival may depend on it.

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