I have, in the past, written about how “being a prepper” or being a “survivalist” is more of a lifestyle than a given set of activities. (see THIS ARTICLE) While I still believe that, it recently dawned on me that simple exercise, often a repetitive motion cardio-building or fat-burning (or both) motion, may be far from what we need to actually survive unexpected emergencies/disasters.
What do I mean? Well, I’ll use my own exercise regimen as the example (one that I’ll have to obviously change based on my own logic and argument presented here). Six days each week I “run” on an elliptical. I do that for a minimum of 45 minutes per session or a maximum of 75 (although I’ve done well over 100 minutes if I’ve got the time) with an average of about 60 minutes per session. An hour a day of exercise is pretty good; it’s double what most doctors suggest for a day and doing it six days per week is double the “three times a week” so many doctors also espouse. I stretch every day to keep my legs an back limber (old back issues haunt me if I don’t) and I perform resistance/strength training on my BowFlex three to four times each week, not to gain strength, but to maintain the muscle mass I already have. My question is this: Is all that enough? Or am I missing something?
It’s one thing to “stay in shape,” but there’s a difference between SHOW shape and PERFORM shape. What do I mean? All of us have seen pictures online or in magazines (or even just on the cover of magazines at the grocery store line) of men and women who are allegedly in excellent physical condition. For sure, their physique looks good in pictures, but… can they garden for six hours? Can they hike for ten? Can they climb a 20 foot rock wall with a pack on? Can they fight for their lives for ten minutes?
The different between being in show shape versus perform shape is a matter of what you can do and for how long. ”Running” on an elliptical is certainly better than sitting on the sofa, but it doesn’t actually prepare me to run on the road. It helps me keep my cardio fitness up and certainly helps me burn off fat calories, but it’s not a realistic substitute for actual running. Stretching is great and is necessary but there’s very little actual real activity that stretching mimics. Lifting weights or doing other resistance training may be great for muscle building or muscle tone, but bench presses and curls aren’t actions you might often do in day to day survival living.
The cool part about this topic though, is this: to truly live a survival preparedness lifestyle means LIVING. It means going out and doing things. It means going for walks or hikes; it means climbing hills and going swimming; it means going backpacking or camping and fishing or hunting for your food while you’re out there. It means actually DOING the things you’d anticipate doing while your main task each day was simply keeping yourself alive. It means going to the range and train with and shoot your weapons; it means cutting and splitting wood; it means planting, maintaining and harvesting a garden; it means cooking over an open fire!
The point is that the more variety you put into your day-to-day activities that mimic the activities you think you’ll have to perform in a survival situation, then the greater your chances will be of actually surviving.
Do you agree?
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