You could have a perfect bugout plan, a well-prepped homestead, and a library of survivalist knowledge in your brain but none of that will do you much good if you aren’t physically fit when the SHTF. If you want to survive a cataclysmic disaster, you can’t be “caught with your pants down” when it comes to your health. Physical health and fitness is are vitally important when it comes to survival. Don’t forget to prep your body. Healthy sleep habits and daily training pay off. So does keeping up with all aspects of your health including dental, vision, strength, and cardio.
My wife truly dreads going to the dentist. She can’t stand all the poking and prodding with metal tools, and any dental work that she has done takes forever to heal. For her, the dentist is a special level of Hell. And she isn’t alone. I don’t know anyone who enjoys going to the dentist. If you truly hate going to get your teeth worked on, the answer may be as simple as finding a dentist that you feel more comfortable with. Shop around. Do a Google search for “dentist near me” and look at dentist reviews to find an office that people recommend. Make an appointment to interview potential dentists before they even try to put their hands in your mouth. Find a dental office that fits you. My wife and I finally found one that works for us. They are great at dealing with reluctant patients (like my wife) and they’re happy to offer medications that help relieve the anxiety that afflicts so many people when reclined in a dentist’s chair. And I like that they are pretty high tech. They have dental cameras that they use to show me exactly what’s going on with my teeth. And a machine in the office that actually mills a crown in an hour, so there’s no need for getting a temporary crown and having to come back for a second visit.
Even after you find a dentist that you can tolerate, it’s still in your best interest to do everything you can in your daily life to minimize the amount of time you’ll spend in their chair. Make sure your teeth are as healthy as they can be. Bite the bullet and go in for a checkup. If they find problems with your teeth, go ahead and get all of the work you need to get you to the point where the only thing that the dentist needs to do from now on is clean your teeth every six months. Minimize your dental appointment needs by brushing and flossing often, and thoroughly. Think of it as part of your prepping routine. Get caught up now, because there’s no doubt that any dental work done after a SHTF situation will be much more medieval.
I was in my early teens when I realized that my vision could be improved with glasses. It started as a joke. I tried on my father’s glasses at the dinner table, pretending to be my father in an adolescent attempt to make my siblings laugh. But I stopped laughing when I noticed that the details of the objects across the room were clearer. I got my first pair of glasses soon after and I’ve hated them ever since. During college, when I thought that looks were important, I wore contact lenses. But I still made sure I always had backup glasses to fall back on because I really couldn’t see much without corrective lenses of some sort. Fast forward twenty years. After many years of thinking and wishing I recently decided to get lasik surgery. It was so much easier than I thought it would be, and not nearly as scary. I walked out of the surgery with BETTER than perfect vision. They managed to correct my vision to 20/15. I’ve never been able to see so perfectly in my whole life.
The surgery was expensive, and of course my insurance didn’t help with the cost. But I am convinced that it was a good investment, especially if TEOTWAWKI happens. No worries about damaged or lost glasses and near blindness as a result. If you’re one of the many who don’t have perfect vision, invest in your eyes. Go for regular exams, and keep multiple pairs of backup glasses. Consider lasik as an option. Be prepared for a SHTF situation by prepping your eyes. Because there won’t be any no new glasses after that.
Lifting weights is hard work. But having a little extra muscle will help everything in your life. Your body operates more efficiently when you have a higher muscle mass. You’re able to lift more, and strong looks better. Start slow and small. Work up to heavier weights as you get stronger. And take your workouts outside the gym. Climb ropes and walls. Scale fences. Think of obstacles you might encounter while bugging out, and practice climbing over them.
Climbing is a lot more difficult if you’re overweight. Strength training can help with that. No matter how much cardio exercise you do, adding weight lifting to you routine will help you lose weight faster. In fact, if you are overweight cardio is much more difficult. Take a few months off from cardio and concentrate on lifting weights instead. You burn just as many calories with less joint stress. Getting a little gym time is a good way to prep your body, and your mind.
If your attitude is that the only time you run is when a big dog is chasing you, you’re probably not doing enough cardio exercise. Cardio is my Achilles heel. I hate running or doing time on an elliptical. But a prepper needs to be in decent shape. If you have to throw on your bug out bag and get out of dodge but are only able to make it to the end of the block, you’re not prepped. Do something about it.
Only you can know what you are physically able to handle. Test yourself. In Army boot camp, one of the first activities that they make you do is called a “confidence course” where you are exposed to progressively harder obstacles to demonstrate that your body can do more than you think it can. It builds your confidence, so later when you see an obstacle in front of you, you know you can handle it. Start with something easy. Get on a bike and ride around the block. Increase your range until you don’t feel winded anymore, then switch to walking the same routes. See how far and how fast you can hike with a pack. Push yourself. Train. Once you’re happy with your performance, start running. Add more weight to your pack. Learn that you’re more capable than you think you are. Chip away at all aspects of your health until you are happy with your fitness level.
Your body needs sleep to heal and rejuvenate. People tend to sleep well in cooler and darker rooms. Turn off extra lights. Crack the window a little during winter and pile the blankets on top of you. Eight hours is what we have been told from childhood is required. But other than weekends, I don’t think I have had eight hours a night since I was a teenager. Listen to your body. Pay attention to when you get sleepy, and take advantage of that “sleep window” by finding a way to go to bed around that time each night. Play with your total sleep time. Some people benefit from seven hours a night, waking refreshed and alert. Others need more sleep. Figure out what your optimum sleep time is, and do everything you can to get those hours. Protect your sleep. Make sleep a priority.
Prep Your Body Daily
Invest a little money in a Fitbit or Jawbone fitness tracker. These little devices are worn on your wrist all the time. They track your steps, your sleep, and give you a clearer picture of your daily habits and your progression toward your fitness goals.
Make body prep a part of your regular prepping routine. Put the same amount of thought into it as you do your other preps. Prepare your body daily and you will handle anything physical challenge that is thrown at you.