The older I get, the more I value the importance of good health and good physical fitness as it relates to long term survival. After huffing and puffing during a recent hike up 800 feet, I realized that the time had come to reassess my personal health and fitness goals and to bone up on personal medical preparedness.
It is not that I am in bad shape, mind you, but that there is room for improvement. What I am talking about here is not only the replacement of toxic pharmaceuticals with natural remedies, but with an overall physical assessment to include mobility and stamina as well as diet, exercise and heart health.
Somewhat egging me along is the realization that this is one area of survival prepping that tends to fall to the bottom of almost everyone’s priority list. Think about it. You might have six months of food, six months of water, a sustainable food garden, a fully stocked first aid kit, and tools, supplies and generators that would allow you to live off the grid if the SHTF.
But what if you had to flee? What if you had to grab your boots, bags and backpacks and really get the heck out of dodge? Could you make it? How far could you walk in dangerous weather conditions or uncertain terrain? And the stress. Could you cope?
The Personal Fitness Inventory
These are all important questions that might be answered by taking a personal health and fitness inventory by asking the following questions:
Health: What the state of your general health? Do you take a lot of prescription drugs? Is your weight in proportion to your height? Do you check your blood pressure regularly and do you see a dentist at least once a year for a general checkup and cleaning?
Fitness: Do you exercise regularly? How far can you walk briskly without getting winded?
Mental Balance: Are you happy? Can you cope with the stresses of daily life? Do you consider yourself mentally “balanced”?
It is my belief that these three survival tools (health, fitness and mental balance) work together so that improvement in one area synergistically helps with the other two. Want some recommendations?
1. If you are overweight or have a curable health condition, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to start that diet, fix that bum knee, and yes, get those teeth taken care of.
2. I believe that the best piece of fitness equipment is what nature gave us, our own two feet. That means that with comfortable clothes, some hiking shoes or sneakers and the will to move, we can get in shape pronto. All that is required is a bit of time, some place to go, and if you are so inclined, an mp3 player with music or an audio book.
3. Mental balance is a toughie because what works for one, may not work for someone else. The Mayo Clinic says that the effects of stress on the body include:
High blood pressure
Evaluate the stresses in your life and work on the one or two items over which you have some control. For example, if the clutter in your home is driving you nuts, take an hour a day for the next week to de-clutter your living space. When that it done, tackle the next item. The idea is to set aside and forget about those items you cannot control – you will only frustrate yourself and set yourself up for failure.
It always surprises me how great a difference even the smallest change can make to one’s well-being.
4. Embrace herbal remedies and essential oils as an alternative to traditional expensive and potentially toxic pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs. You will be amazed at how effective Melaleuca (tea tree), Lavender, Peppermint, Oregano and other essential oils can be in solving most minor health concerns. (Read the article A Big Fat List of Essential Oils for Preppers.)
Likewise, tinctures and teas made from herbs (try Ginger tea) along with some honey can be used to heal a variety of maladies from the inside out.
Just keep in mind that learning to use herbals and essential oils takes practice so, like growing a garden, you need to learn what works and what doesn’t. Once you do, you will be amazed at the results.
Without being overly simplistic, working on these four aspects of health preparedness will go a long way toward seeing us through a disaster, a personal or economic crises or even SHTF. But there is more to it than simply good health.