Emergency Preparedness for Beginners: Part 7 – Physical Fitness
By Brett A. Fernau
An important factor to consider in your disaster plan is your own physical fitness. Will you be physically able to perform those tasks necessary to ensure your survival and the survival of your family, friends and neighbors? Can you carry your Get-Home Bag from where you find yourself when disaster strikes to your home where most of your supplies are stored? Are you strong enough to climb down the rope ladder you have hung out your second-story window when you need to get out of your house? If you need to leave your home, can you hike the distance to your preplanned safe location? Will you be able to dig holes for waste, haul water, stand watch, walk a sentry post, respond to a call for reinforcements on your perimeter? No? Then you need to start a training program so that you can do those things.
If you are overweight, losing that extra weight would be a good place to start. Get some help, if you need it. Talk to your doctor, if you need to. If you have medical problems, see if there might be some way to overcome them through diet and exercise. Again, get help. Some conditions can be cured or at least controlled through a proper diet and exercise program. I know this to be true. I have done it. I lost 85 lbs., changed my diet, got some exercise each day and beat Type II Diabetes. In nine months, I got myself off of all prescription medications.
Once you’ve gotten your medical problems under control, you can build yourself up from there. Start slowly. Walking is good. Try 30 minutes a day. If you can’t do that, try 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes. Swim, hike, jog, run, lift weights, join a gym, get a personal trainer, get a bicycle and ride it, take the dog for a walk, mow the lawn, work in your garden, do something.
Get outside and do things. Walk around your neighborhood. While you do that, pay close attention to your surroundings. Train yourself to be more aware of what is going on around you, all around you. Listen, smell, look, feel the wind, taste the atmosphere. The more information you get from your environment, the more you can know about what is happening in it. Being prepared has to include heightened awareness and that requires that you get out and look. You have to be able to go find out what is going on in your neighborhood. If you don’t know what is happening around you, there will be nothing you can do about it. You will be unprepared. If it is difficult for you to get around, you will have more of your attention on your body and less on your surroundings. If you are physically fit and able to move quietly and easily, you will be more able to survive in a disaster scenario.
It is important for you to include some sort of physical fitness program in your plan to be prepared for an emergency. Get yourself fit and you’ll be an asset to your group, able to help where your help is needed. Consider all the previously mentioned tasks you will need to perform if you are without municipal utilities, practice them while it is comfortable to do so. Learn which of those tasks it is difficult for you to perform and work at getting more able to do all the things you will need to do in order to survive when you are short on rations, under a lot of stress and have others depending upon you to help.