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Are You Fit Enough to Survive?

Posted Mar 15 2012 11:06am

The onslaught of recent storms and tornadoes has prompted me to ask you, “are you fit enough to survive?” Sometimes it’s a mute question because no matter what you could have done, it would have been out of your control, but sometimes, you are in complete control.

Let’s say you are trapped underneath debris, do you have the strength to get yourself out of that situation? What if you had to get a loved one to safety? Would you have the stamina to drag them, push them or maybe carry them out of harm’s way? No one really likes to think about what could happen in an emergency, but the only way to be prepared is to address the situation before it happens.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Our military, first responders and rescue units do it all the time. They run through drills, hypothetical situations and exercises that are created to prep them for the real “just in case” scenarios that happen in life. Granted some things may never happen, however, some of the situations really do come true, in one way or another.

A couple of years ago, I attended a self-defense class and the instructor said that in an emergency, you might not be able to dial 911. Why is that? Because you haven’t practiced doing it. With all the adrenaline surging through your body, you might not be able to think what to do or even control your hands enough to stop shaking and do it. Now that’s pretty scary.

Don’t get Caught, Get Prepared

So what do you do? Get prepared. You can’t anticipate some emergency scenarios, but others you most certainly can. Here is a list of things you can do to get yourself fit and ready to tackle the unknown situations so you’ll have a better chance of being a survivor rather than a victim.

1. Start Running: I suggest you start using that treadmill that’s propped in the corner with all the clothes on it. It’s really not a clothes horse; it’s actually a great tool to use to increase your cardiovascular capacity or stamina. Start with a walk three times a week for 20 minutes each session. Over the next 6 weeks increase your time to 30 minutes per session and end with running the full 30 minutes. This will expand your heart’s ability to pump blood to your body and keep you from getting winded so quickly.

2. Lift and Pump: OK, so you’ve got your heart on track, now you need to get your muscles in shape. I’m not trying to get you to look like a body builder, but in order for you to be any good to anyone—even yourself—in an emergency, you have to be strong. Strength comes from putting stress on your muscles and making them stronger. Start lifting weights, sign up for a bootcamp, kickboxing or strength conditioning class 2-3 times per week. Don’t worry if the first session is lackluster, keep at it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body starts to adapt and change.

3. Eat to Fuel Your Body: It’s not enough to start running and lifting, you have to fuel your body with the right foods or everything else you’re doing is for naught. Feed your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and fit. This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eat often, 4-5 times per day and keep your sugar intake low. You don’t have to be a Spartan, just use your common sense and don’t overdo it.

4. Control Stress: In an emergency situation, cooler heads prevail. That means that when something does happen, you can’t be running around like a chicken with their head cut off. If you and your loved ones are to survive, someone has to control the chaos. Since you’ve been training to do it, it’s your time to shine. Learn to control both your stress levels and your reaction to them by engaging in Yoga and meditation. Also find or create a quiet space in your home to use as your “calm center.” Once you know what controlling stress feels like, you’ll be better able to summon that feeling in an emergency.

5. Create an Escape Plan: Physically you’re good, mentally you are on target, now you have to commit to memory the correct path or plan to take to survive the emergency. If your house is burning down, how will you know if family members are safe or trapped? This is only one scenario, but it could be a crucial factor when you decide whether or not to run back into a burning building. Even if you are strong and your stamina is in tip-top shape, why risk dying when you don’t have to? So make a plan, discuss it with everyone involved and practice it over and over again. Knowing that you have a plan and the people involved know their role makes it less stressful when you’re trying to take control. Less stress is a good thing.

6. Exercise Your Brain: The final step in being fit enough to survive an emergency is to make sure you know what you need to know.

  • What supplies will you need if a tornado hits your home?
  • What are the emergency routes to get out of your town, city, village or province?
  • What are the emergency numbers? Sometimes “911” is not enough.
  • Where is the nearest hospital? How long will it take you to drive there? Walk there?
  • What is the chain of communication if you or your loved ones get separated?

I hope these tips and strategies will help you to survive an emergency situation. Get started today on making sure you are fit enough to survive.

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