WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SURVIVE?
I have spent the last several years looking at "functional fitness". While any form of exercise is superior to being a couch potato, there are some that are more functional and practical than others for specific goals.
In most conceivable survival scenarios you will need a combination of physical abilities with endurance possibly being the most important. With this in mind, endurance should be the center of your focus in survival fitness training. The ability to walk swiftly and run are therefore paramount. In 2005 during Katrina a lot of our people perished simply because they couldn't move to get out of harms way. This was also the case during the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. If you are at a level where walking is your only option because you cannot (yet) run, then walk as swiftly as possible for up to 3 minutes then rest briefly and repeat. Keep up the pace to where you are pushing yourself and breathing deeply. For those of us who are able to run, then apply the same principle. Run at a much faster pace than you normally would for about a minute, rest briefly (15 to 30 seconds) and then take off again. Try to keep up these intervals up for 15 to 20 minutes. While I respect the abilities of marathon runners, training to run 26+ miles is not essential to survival fitness. Most survival scenarios will require you quickly move to avert danger with intermittent breaks to check the surroundings and then be on the move again.
Next, you must have the ability to move a load whether it be a bag, equipment, debris, a stalled vehicle, etc. and also your loved ones if they are injured. This is where some form of resistance training comes in. I am not a big fan of bodybuilding-type weightlifting because it simply is not functional in most circumstances. If you lift weights, do so with little rest between exercises and incorporate full-body movements like squats, deadlifts, clean and press, etc. Bodyweight exercises that use several muscle groups at the same time are very useful and don't require any equipment. Also, it is a good habit to carry a loved one over your back/shoulders to mimic an emergency situation. This is functional strength!
One last ability I will mention in this (very generalized) discussion is agility. Try to be as "light on your feet" as possible as you move around in your daily life. Stretching and yoga will help with flexibility. And basic agility drills like shuffles, running backwards, jumping rope will all help your agility. Keep in mind that you may have to climb fences or trees, roll on the ground and then have to run. Practice these things by incorporating them into to your running routine.
I will provide some links with some valuable info that is more specific than I have been here. I merely want to plant the seed and you have to fine-tune a routine for yourself based upon your present fitness level. Avoid injuries at all cost. For those who already workout, I did an exercise video that may help you expand on what you already do. Let's get to work and be examples for our families and community. Uhuru!
thank you for this message. it is vital that we adhere to some form of survival fitness. i walk briskly every morning for about 3-5 miles including weights to keep arms, legs, and feet in balance. even when i am out of town i find areas to walk even if it is only the sidewalks of the neighborhood.