If you’re like most of us, chances are good that one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get in better shape. The benefits of being in great shape are extensive: Exercising regularly helps us avoid getting sick, allows us to live longer, improves our mental health, and increases our enjoyment of everyday life, among other things. But if you are a serious emergency prepper, there is one more very important reason to keep yourself in top physical condition: Being fit increases your chance of survival in an emergency situation.
If you have made the effort to stock up on food storage and emergency supplies, built a bug-out location, and learned survival skills, don’t neglect the crucial step of preparing yourself physically for emergency situations by keeping your body fit. Here are five reasons anyone who claims to be prepared for a disaster should be in good physical shape:
1. Being fit makes you mentally tough. If you regularly push yourself to the limit physically, you condition your mind to endure hard things. Mental toughness is a vital quality for survival during difficult times; you might even argue it is the most vital quality. Without mental toughness, you might have plenty of food and water stored, but your mind will not be able to handle the shock and stress that can accompany emergency situations. Conditioning your mind and body beforehand allows you to be at your strongest and handle anything that comes your way.
2. Survival situations require work. We never know what emergency scenarios might entail. I am currently reading a book called The Cellist of Sarajevo. It’s a novel that follows four people trying to survive in bombed-out Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. One of the main characters in the book must travel several miles every few days, carrying eight gallons of water held together by a rope so that his family can have water to drink, cook with, and bathe with. It is a fictional story, but it portrays real conditions. Whether emergencies are brought on by political unrest, natural disaster, or economic uncertainty, city infrastructures are likely to shut down. If your water supplies run out, you may need to go out to the closest water source to refill. You may also need to go out to collect kindling and wood for fires or forage and hunt for food. Survival is all about performing the daily work required for living. It requires strength and stamina, and the better shape you are in to start with, the better off you will be.
3. Being in good shape is vital for self-defense. In survival situations, resources like food, water, and fuel are likely to become scarce, and, unfortunately, chances are good that those who have these resources will also need a way to defend them. The better shape you are in physically, the better able you will be to defend yourself and your family against those with malicious intent.
4. Being strong allows you to be an asset for your family. Your being tough enables you to support any weaker members of your family. Maybe you can go without food for a few meals a week to provide more food for your children, or maybe you can spare your coat because your body is healthy and strong. The better shape you are in now, the more you will be able to do to help those you love.
5. Being strong can make you a valuable member of any group, whether it is your family or not. We see it in nature repeatedly: There is safety in numbers. Those who are able to be part of a group have a greater chance of survival than those who go it alone. Being able to join a group is usually dependent on your value to that group. If you are strong and healthy and able to not only carry your own weight but also do plenty of hard work for the good of the group, you will be an indispensable member.
Emergency preparedness isn’t just about gathering supplies and making plans. It’s also about preparing your body to stand up under difficult situations. For this reason, physical fitness is just as important a preparation as all of the other measures we take to protect ourselves and our families. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor by working on your fitness goals today.