A few years back when my kids were still pretty young, one of my girls and I and the family dog took a short walk in National Forest not too far from where we live. I had let the dog off the leash to stretch its legs while my young daughter and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll down a familiar trail. Free from the leash, the dog shot off down the trail only to come to an abrupt stop several hundred yards away, her hackles up, and staring intensely into the thick manzanita that lined each side of the trail. It was a bear with cubs.
I yelled, “run!” and my daughter took off like a rocket back the way we had come. Within seconds, I followed hoping the dog would distract the bear long enough for us to make it safely back to the vehicle. Time loses all meaning in moments like that and what could have been minutes felt like seconds. I quickly realized that the shock of accidentally crossing paths with a bear sow with cubs and the sudden burst of speed had stressed my heart. I was nowhere near close enough to the car and it already felt like my heart was going to burst and the muscles in my legs were on fire.
At the same time, the old saying, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you” flashed through my head. I was very glad to see my daughter running down the path and over fallen trees with the speed and agility of a deer. And I took comfort that, although I loved my dog very much, she would probably give her life to protect me from the bear…until she shot past me like a bullet.
I’m glad to say that we made it all out safely, including that damn dog that I wasn’t loving so much at the moment, but it was a sobering lesson. I was not in as good a shape as I thought I was. Also, thinking that my body would just know what to do in an emergency or that adrenaline would allow me to rise to the occasion like a lot of people think just wasn’t the case. When the SHTF, sometimes it’s a bear and sometimes it’s not. I wasn’t ready for any of it.
How Fit Are You?
It is a fact that past generations were more in shape compared to modern times. A healthy body that’s ready to take on whatever is demanded of it to the best of their ability should be the top priority of any prepper, not just for their own security, but also the security of loved ones that depend on them. I know that I could count on any one of my immediate family members if I ever needed help, but I also know that I have a personal responsibility not to overburden them in a crisis, and the best way I can do that is to make sure I am as healthy as possible before the SHTF. I would never want to put any of them in a potentially life threatening position to save me because I hadn’t bothered to take the time to get fit enough to save myself.
As well, many of us have physical limitations that can stop us from being as fit as we should. In an article on the subject, Tess Pennington writes, “As we get older, many of us are plagued with some type of physical limitation. Recognizing our physical weaknesses and figuring out how to make things work despite those weakness will be vital to our survival.”
Your Health Depends on These Five Components
Health, in this context, isn’t necessarily about weight, pants size, or any of the other standards of beauty frequently seen in fashion magazines. In this case, I’m talking about the ability to get the job done or get the hell out and that could mean different things depending on your own SHTF scenario.
Physical fitness can be measured by assessing five components of health: cardiovascular and respiratory, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility. If you’re neglecting any of these areas, you won’t be ready to respond.