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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Task #10- Get Yourself in Shape for the Emergencies of Life

Lately I've been working on cardiovascular work, weight-training, stretching and knee rehabilitation exercises to strengthen my legs, shoulders, back and abdominals.  I wanted to begin walking and hiking treks with my best friend (who's already in great shape) and I knew that I couldn't do this with her unless I got in much better shape.  It's made me realize that what I'm training for would equally apply to preparatory training for emergencies.  In emergencies, you may be required to walk considerable distances.  You will have to be able to carry armfuls of items around, stretch, crouch, squat, work with tools, wash lots of items by hand...it requires fitness to survive and thrive in times of emergencies.

Having a strong immune system is utterly imperative for making it through a crisis, too.  Look seriously at whether or not you are eating and taking the dietary supplements that you know you need for optimum health.  Think about it.  Who is going to take care of you or your family if you're out of shape and unable to keep up with the requirements of an emergency?  Are you doing yourself any favors by eating low-quality food, not taking dietary supplements to boost our body's performance and not exercising.  I'm writing this as much to myself as I am to you!  Yes, life should be lived in balance.  But it is necessary to get some exercise every day.

Times of emergency require endurance, flexibility, strength and adaptability.  Some people are better-equipped naturally to handle this, but almost anyone can train to get better at handling these types of situations. 

Here are some questions that you must ask yourself and answer honestly, to see if you're fit enough to handle an emergency situation with sufficient bodily ability:

* Can you lift up several grocery bags in one hand, a heavy suitcase, a large (full) Rubbermaid container, small children, pets and laundry baskets full of clothes easily and without getting very out of breath?

* Can you climb stairs easily?  If you're in pain and that's the cause of not being able to climb steps, have you been to a doctor, physical therapist, etc., to try and resolve the issues?

* Are you able to balance on one leg?  Can you squat, lunge, kneel and sit on the floor if needed?  Can you easily pull up your own weight onto stairs, platforms, step stools and ladders?

* Can you walk for more than fifteen minutes at a time?  Could you also walk with a backpack on your back for more than ten minutes and still be comfortable enough?

* Do you constantly feel tired?  Do you often wish that you had more energy?  Have you read and studied what you could be doing to improve your energy levels?  Have you had a recent physical and blood work done to rule out any easily-treatable causes of fatigue (such as iron deficiency anemia)?

* Is your sleep hygiene what it should be to induce a good night's sleep?  Sleep is the foundation of a healthy life.  It's not a luxury to sleep well- it is a must to live at your peak when you are awake.  Do whatever you have to do in order to get abundant, high-quality sleep each night. 

* Are you eating healthy and taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement each day?  It's not nearly as important to focus on what you shouldn't eat as it is to focus on what you can and should eat for optimum health.  When you fill your diet with clean water, whole grains, lean protein, lots of vegetables, fresh fruit, herbs, spices, healthy fats (coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, etc.), nuts and seeds, I can promise that your cravings for sweets or salty foods will automatically go down.  When your dietary needs are being met through whole, fresh food, your energy levels and brain chemistry will thank you.  People who have incessant urges to eat sweets or salty snacks aren't lacking in willpower or strength; they are undernourished and are not eating enough calories in good food first.  People who eat old-fashioned oats, green or black tea, healthy fats, two to three servings of fruit, three to five servings of vegetables (including a big salad full of dark leafy greens), an ounce of seeds or nuts, 70-150 grams of protein  and a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa every single day simply don't have much appetite left for junk!  Add a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to cover your bases and I can guarantee you that you'll feel neither deprived nor lacking in energy!  Eat the good stuff first and then if you still crave a treat, you'll be able to keep it at a reasonable portion size because you haven't been starving yourself.  That said, look for healthier versions of sweeteners and favorite desserts to indulge in.  Good nutrition aids in having a clear mind, and few things are more important in an emergency than having all your wits about you!  

If you don't already have a program in place, I strongly urge you to slowly but surely get into a regular exercise program.  Weight-training exercises, abdominal training, cardiovascular work and athletic stretching or yoga should all be a part of your program.  Walking, hiking, running, swimming and biking are all excellent cardio choices which would help anyone who wants to become a more serious prepper get in shape.  You don't have to go to a gym to lift weights, either.  There are lots of good workout DVDs out there for cardio, weight-training and stretching or yoga.  My favorites are from The FIRM and by Cathe Friedrich.  Yoga helps not only with flexibility and developing good balance but also de-stresses and energizes (something seriously needed in any time of emergency).  Taking one to two rest days a week from exercise is a good idea, so that your muscles have a chance to recover and so that your joints don't get overused.  Cardio done three times a week for thirty to sixty minutes at a time, a total-body weight-training with abdominal work completed twice a week and stretches done after all of those workouts will ensure a high level of fitness- especially when combined with a good diet.

Here's to being a prepared organized minimalist,
Liz

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