Let’ face it, many of us are not exactly physically fit.
According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.
It reminds me of this story.
A husband and wife are getting ready for bed.
The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself.
“You know love,” she says, “I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman.
My face is all wrinkled. I’ve got fat legs, and my arms are all flabby.”
She turns to her husband and says,
“Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.”
He thinks about it for a bit and then says in a soft voice,
“Well…there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”
All joking aside, not being physically fit is a serious problem. It increases the chances of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
This problem is not only a concern for our current health but also for the potential demands of a future emergency situation.
Think about this. Are you prepared to run from an attacker or an angry hoard of zombies? (Kidding about the zombies or course.) Could you travel a long distance on foot?
If not, it’s time to get physically fit.
So what can you do about it?
First, this legal caveat: please check with your healthcare professionals before beginning any exercise routine. I am not a licensed doctor, or a physical fitness professional. That said, this plan is something that I have used, and it works very well for me. I think it may work for you as well.
1. Start with a realistic and practical goal.
The problem with many physical fitness programs is that they are boring, painful, too advanced, or impractical — they do not correlate with real world physical fitness needs.
Instead of focusing on building strength and endurance for real life situations, they are focused on making you “look good.” I don’t think you’re going to care all that much what you look like when running from an angry city mob or wild mama bear trying to protect her cubs in the wild. Well…
Instead of focusing on building strength and endurance for real life situations, they are geared toward making you “look good.” I don’t think you’re going to care all that much what you look like when running away from an angry city mob or wild mama bear trying to protect her cubs in the wild. Well…
Besides, are you really trying to get a Brazilian Butt or Abs of Steel? Don’t answer that!
Let’s start with this premise. You’re not training for a marathon or to become an advanced athlete. No, Instead, you are preparing to walk, hike, and possibly run long distances — maybe even for many days.
Therefore, let’s set some realistic expectations and goals and formulate a plan that fits real world physical needs.
2. Set a reasonable distance (1-6 miles) as a goal and walk it EVERY day.
That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic says:
Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.
For example, regular brisk walking can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mood
- Improve your balance and coordination
The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.
Personally, my daily distance is 4 miles. You may want to start with less.
3. Slowly increase the intensity by adding weight.
At first, don’t put anything in your backpack except the bare essentials — the things that you should have with you anyways.
Then, every two weeks’ add more weight to your backpack, (I add 5 pounds) and max out at the weight of your 3-day pack.
You could also add leg weights or carry dumbbells, in addition to your pack.
4. Show up, EVERY day and every two weeks take a day to go as far as you can.
The key to making this work is to do it every day. The reason this is so important is that just one day missed, can lead to two, and before you know it, it’s been weeks.
Don’t skip a day!
At two week intervals, take a day to walk as far as you can with your pack and current weight level in it (remember to increase the weight by 5 pounds or so every two weeks’.
5. Select interesting terrain.
I am fortunate to live in the forest. One of the things I love about hiking in the woods is that I have become familiar with all of the things that go on there. I look forward to being out there every day.
Find a place you enjoy and go walking.
6. Sit-ups and push-ups can be added to increase core and upper body strength.
I consider this to be optional, as the premise we are working from here is the ability to walk, hike or run long distances. However, what you will find is that when you stick to the above plan, you will have a lot more energy and want to do more.
So, just do it!
Get physically fit! You will be glad you did — especially in an emergency situation. It will also be fun.
Things you will potentially learn along the way are: which clothing, shoes, rain gear, backpack, etc., work well for walking long distances. Also, who is out-and-about in your area including the animals. How to deal with weather changes and potential problems with your bug-out-bag, hiking, camping, or hunting pack.
Happy walking! You can do it!
Please help me spread the word by sharing on social media, and tell me about your fitness strategies in the comments below. Thanks, friends!