Physical Fitness For Survival
With all the many choices and ways of how to prepare for a natural or man induced and instigated crisis, one detail that is critical and mostly overlooked is being relatively physically fit. Yes it is time to face your fear of physical activity, but that is why I am writing this article, so you can have a better understanding of the amazing creation know as the human body. Having spent most of my life in some form of sport or physical job situation, I want to share what I have learned about ways to regain and maintain a healthy you. First of all, our bodies are designed in such a way, that with consistent exercise, yes I used the E word, you will see positive results. Hey, if things get as bad as folks say they will, the least of your problems right now is taking that half hour walk or bike ride or stair climb or hike or, well whatever you do, start out by doing something that raises your heart rate to around 70% of your maximum heart rate. Oh, you say you don't know what your maximum heart rate is.
Here is a basic way to estimate your maximum heart rate: Anyone in their 30s, you can use 180 as your max heart rate. It doesn't matter right now as much as how close this is in reality because it will simply give you something to find the 70%, and for people in their 40s, for you folks let's use 170. Now for anyone in their 50s, you use 160 safely. For anyone older, you can see I lower the max by 10 points for every 10 year span. Alright now, once you have your max, times it by .70 or 70% on a calculator and you should come up with the heart rate you need to maintain for at least 30 minutes. An example is of a man 45 years old. He would start with 170 X .70 which comes to 119 beats per minute and maintains this heart rate for 30 minutes or longer. The important thing is that your heart and your muscles and ligaments and tendons need time to adjust to any physical activity. This level of intensity will give your body the ability to begin the way back to a better fitness level and not over work it so not to end up tearing those tight tendons or ligaments that need to be reminded how to work longer than the walk from your car to the couch in your house.
Here in our wonderful United States, it is a sad but true fact that the majority of Americans are out of shape, and I am not referring to having "6 pack" abdominal muscles or less than 10% body fat. That is not the type of conditioning you need to be for better survival, when in fact. having between 20% and 25% body fat is better because there is the possibility you may have to go without eating your 3 meals a day, and your body will thank you for those fat reserves. What is important is your inner body fitness level, namely your heart and lungs. These two organs play key roles in circulating the necessary blood, i.e. oxygen to your muscles and every area within your body, so it can function as efficiently as possible. Now back to your workout schedule. After four weeks of exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 3 days per week at 70% of your max , you should notice some positive changes taking place in your body. I will warn you, hang in there because after starting your exercising program, the first week or two your body will realize there are stored up toxins that it wants to get rid of and the symptoms can cause a sense of nausea. Hey, you don't want to be having to walk 10 miles to the nearest water supply in a time of crisis, and not be in better condition at that time, so keep exercising now, and you can be the one to volunteer to go get that water and enjoy doing it too. Those first two weeks are usually the hardest, so stick to the program and you will be glad you did, I know.
Now that you have finished your 4 weeks and now that you completed your "base" or foundation for exercising, you will be ready to increase your heart rate to 80% of your max. Multiply what your max heart rate with .80 or 80%. To make it easier, for someone in their 30s, your exercise heart rate is 144 beats per minute. For someone in their 40s, yours is 136. For someone in their 50s, yours is 128. These numbers may seem low to you but they are in the range for your body to continue to get fitter. Exercise at this level for another 4 weeks but add an additional day so you are working out 4 days per week at a minimum of 30 minutes each day you hit the road or the treadmill or whichever form of exercise you have chosen. You will find that some days you will feel strong and refreshed and other days it may be a challenge to do this, but again, NOW is the time to invest in your health and not when your car runs out of gas and you still have 15 miles to reach your home or local "community" center. The benefits of exercise can be better sleep, more energy because of your body receiving more oxygen more efficiently, and a better mental attitude. Finally, to give you a sense of accomplishment, in two months time, with this plan, you will have exercised 28 days, almost a full month. How many of your friends will be able to boast about that?
The foregoing basic plan should give you an excellent start to regain and help you with becoming fitter. After your first two months, you should continue to find ways to give your body what it needs to be prepared for the physical demands you may face in a crisis. If you are wanting to gain strength after having a base of conditioning, remember to start with the mindset that Rome wasn't built in a day and our bodies won't grow stronger unless you stick to a program longer than 2 weeks out of the year. You can be creative on what type of ways you gain strength. It doesn't take 30 minutes to build strength but you have to find something that puts stress on your muscles without damaging them by trying to lift something that you might be able to lift less than 5 times in a row. I suggest you use a weight or object that allows you to raise it or lift a minimum of 10 times in a row or in one "set". If you think you need to lift like "Arnold", you are incorrect. Your body and muscles will respond to being worked and if you develop a routine you can enjoy, it will become a part of your life and you will see positive results.
The number of days typically to work on strength exercises is 3 to 4 days with alternating days of upper body and lower body workouts. Your body needs time to rest and recover. The basic understanding is that taxing your muscles requires time for them to respond by the muscles fibers thickening to accommodate the increased "workload". It is pretty amazing how our bodies can adjust in order to gain strength and endurance. So are you ready to begin? This is not a contest. You as an individual only need to focus on yourself and not make the mistake of comparing how good or how bad of conditioning you have with someone else. Take that first step towards a better you.