How important is fitness in survival instances?

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CharlestonU
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How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by CharlestonU » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:50 pm

I know this may seem like a redundant or self explanatory question, but just how important is fitness when it comes to survival? When it comes to preparing for things that may or may not happen, just how important is it for people to be fit and physically active. I feel like there could be several approaches, one of which includes being adequately prepared to the extent where you will never have to leave a bunker of some sort (if you have one), then there is the more physical side which involves moving around, foraging etc. Just how fit do you have to be to survive? Does it increase your chances of survival?

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by woodsghost » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:03 pm

Pretty important.

Fitness is going to lengthen your life expectancy whether there is crazy going on in the world or not. You are less likely to die of a heart attack, you heal faster, you are less likely to get injured in the first place, and you are capable of doing more work. A ZPAW will require you do lots of work to make it to the end of every day.

You are also less sore and uncomfortable if you are physically fit when zombies, or some other disaster, arise.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by CharlestonU » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:41 pm

Thanks for the reply, and you're right! I was thinking more along the lines of getting like super jacked to fight zombies as opposed to just being healthy. Watching your health would prevent heart attacks and so on but it wouldn't give you an upper hand against zombies if there is one, whereas physical prowess might.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Stercutus » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:45 pm

Under physically demanding and stressful situations I'd say it is the difference between living and nearly dying.

Throw in limited medical care and it is the difference between living and dying.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by taipan821 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:24 pm

CharlestonU wrote:I know this may seem like a redundant or self explanatory question, but just how important is fitness when it comes to survival? When it comes to preparing for things that may or may not happen, just how important is it for people to be fit and physically active.

Just how fit do you have to be to survive? Does it increase your chances of survival?
From personal experience, fitness is important (especially in emergency services) having a fitness regime is could for the brain, it also means you have a higher survival chance then fat bob down the road
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by woodsghost » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:57 pm

CharlestonU wrote:Thanks for the reply, and you're right! I was thinking more along the lines of getting like super jacked to fight zombies as opposed to just being healthy. Watching your health would prevent heart attacks and so on but it wouldn't give you an upper hand against zombies if there is one, whereas physical prowess might.
Depends on the situation. In short, I expect those with more endurance to do better against zombies than those with more short bursts of power. I expect those built like marathoners, and who have the mentality of a marathoner, to do better than power lifters. In the short term (fights less than minute in duration), I expect those with more power to come out on top, but as I said, I expect survivors in the ZA to have more endurance fitness and look more like marathoners.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by modustollens » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:45 pm

Not only physical, but metal, fitness is required. How do you plan to prepare that?

One can be an Olympic power lifting marathon champion; but when SHTF, those with loose marbles will suffer an early demise, gold medal winners or not.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:22 pm

CharlestonU wrote:I know this may seem like a redundant or self explanatory question, but just how important is fitness when it comes to survival? When it comes to preparing for things that may or may not happen, just how important is it for people to be fit and physically active. I feel like there could be several approaches, one of which includes being adequately prepared to the extent where you will never have to leave a bunker of some sort (if you have one), then there is the more physical side which involves moving around, foraging etc. Just how fit do you have to be to survive? Does it increase your chances of survival?
Last night I ran 7.5 miles off road with a backpack.

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Took off my shoes and crossed this river.

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Just above freezing and only had a fleece shirt, pullover and pants. As always gloves and hat plus socks.

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Net effect on me? Zero. I was never winded, I never stumbled running off road up and down hills. I wasn't sore or tired the next day despite night running till 1 am. Ok maybe my legs were cold crossing the river but I flew over that environment. It's a different perspective when your body doubles as an ATV. I have actually carried on conversations with my phone when backpack running and the other person never noticed.

On another backpack run last week.

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I have easily ran 10 plus miles with a backpack off road. Have also fielded heavy packs up hills without the usual huffing and puffing. Good cardio is like have a deep well of power and to be honest I have not come to terms with it as lost 80 lbs in a little over a year. Trained hard 3 or more hours a day 5-6 days a week in all weather except high winds. There are other survival benefits. First blood pressure and sugars drop reducing the chance of heart issues and stroke. Those will actually kill you. What's the point of prepping if you go belly up early? I have a 45 year old friend who had a stroke a few months ago. He was pushing 330 lbs and stopped taking his BP and diabetes meds. He was starting out in prepping but now what? He is in a wheel chair and I pray for his recovery. Secondly all of nature knows your strong therefore there is less chance of conflict. I don't think there are two sides as the coin is the same. More options are always better.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:22 pm

Physical and mental fitness are very important, but I will also add flexibility. That can help in lifting, climbing and getting your hands in front of you after they have been cuffed behind you. (I was able to do that in college.)

I will also give a shout out to the overweight. While I'm not advocating packing on pounds as a survival strategy, I distinctly recall the pilots on USS MIDWAY purposely packing on the pounds in advance of Desert Storm lest they be captured while bombing Iraq.

Also, all things being equal, I suspect the Bosnians with more body fat lasted longer in those Serbian concentration camps.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by teotwaki » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:33 pm

CharlestonU wrote:I know this may seem like a redundant or self explanatory question, but just how important is fitness when it comes to survival? When it comes to preparing for things that may or may not happen, just how important is it for people to be fit and physically active. I feel like there could be several approaches, one of which includes being adequately prepared to the extent where you will never have to leave a bunker of some sort (if you have one), then there is the more physical side which involves moving around, foraging etc. Just how fit do you have to be to survive? Does it increase your chances of survival?
I would consider that without cars, fuel, electricity, etc. we would be walking distances with packs on, bicycling, chopping wood, carrying loads such as water or firewood, patrolling our neighborhoods, hand washing clothes, planting, watering, tending and harvesting large gardens and so on. Should we wait until the ZPAW to lose 100 pounds, build muscle and develop endurance? Those things take a lot of time to accomplish.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by CharlestonU » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:56 pm

woodsghost wrote:
CharlestonU wrote:Thanks for the reply, and you're right! I was thinking more along the lines of getting like super jacked to fight zombies as opposed to just being healthy. Watching your health would prevent heart attacks and so on but it wouldn't give you an upper hand against zombies if there is one, whereas physical prowess might.
Depends on the situation. In short, I expect those with more endurance to do better against zombies than those with more short bursts of power. I expect those built like marathoners, and who have the mentality of a marathoner, to do better than power lifters. In the short term (fights less than minute in duration), I expect those with more power to come out on top, but as I said, I expect survivors in the ZA to have more endurance fitness and look more like marathoners.

Yeah that makes sense. People built like marathoners (both mentally and physically) seem like they stand a much better chance in the long term. I guess in addition to the fact that it helps with a healthier lifestyle it also implies that they can run much longer in the event that we're all being chased by zombies.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by woodsghost » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:32 pm

Woods Walker wrote:
I have easily ran 10 plus miles with a backpack off road. Have also fielded heavy packs up hills without the usual huffing and puffing. Good cardio is like have a deep well of power and to be honest I have not come to terms with it as lost 80 lbs in a little over a year. Trained hard 3 or more hours a day 5-6 days a week in all weather except high winds. There are other survival benefits. First blood pressure and sugars drop reducing the chance of heart issues and stroke. Those will actually kill you.

WW, you are amazing. I am slowly getting more fit using a similar method, but with more walking and less running. I hope to build up to running, but right now working on increasing miles and weight in the pack.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by teotwaki » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:58 pm

training regimes :mrgreen:




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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by ratamahatta » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:32 pm

Rule #1, cardio!
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Maeklos » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:55 pm

One thing to be aware of is being "overly fit". Being in good shape is key - being able to work/walk/run long periods with adequate breaks. However, if you start bulking up (think weightlifters, MMA fighters, the Rock, etc), your body is going to NEED more calories than the average person because it's supporting much more muscle mass and is used to operating at a much higher peak conditioning. This in turn means that you're going to need more calories on a daily basis or your body will start eating itself. Muscle is always the first thing your body cannibalizes before it goes for the fat, so it's important if you're looking at a long-term survival situation to be in good shape (but not overly fit) with at least some fat reserves. Those should help keep you operating at a level of activity that you're used to for a longer period of time even when pushing into starvation situations.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:20 am

modustollens wrote:Not only physical, but metal, fitness is required. How do you plan to prepare that?

One can be an Olympic power lifting marathon champion; but when SHTF, those with loose marbles will suffer an early demise, gold medal winners or not.

MT
I think the mind and body are linked. I am much sharper (as if I was ever sharp :lol:) once I got my blood sugar and pressure under control.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:36 am

woodsghost wrote:
Woods Walker wrote:
I have easily ran 10 plus miles with a backpack off road. Have also fielded heavy packs up hills without the usual huffing and puffing. Good cardio is like have a deep well of power and to be honest I have not come to terms with it as lost 80 lbs in a little over a year. Trained hard 3 or more hours a day 5-6 days a week in all weather except high winds. There are other survival benefits. First blood pressure and sugars drop reducing the chance of heart issues and stroke. Those will actually kill you.

WW, you are amazing. I am slowly getting more fit using a similar method, but with more walking and less running. I hope to build up to running, but right now working on increasing miles and weight in the pack.
That didn't happen over night. In fact after training for 6 months my first run was 1/8 a mile. Then it got better and better. Take it slow as an injury will sideline you and more so as the years progress. Then there is the crazy stuff.


So what do yea'll thing of my 20 lb hiking staff.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Doryman » Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:53 am

Physical fitness is priority number one, in my opinion. If you are a strong, fast, tough and healthy individual you are a much better survival unit than someone who is the opposite of these things. Health and fitness make you a little more 'antifragile' in the Taleb sent rse of the word, and give you a bit more leeway towards failure.

A general purpose fitness regimen, or multiple activities that target one factor or another should be a part of any sensible preppers lifestyle. You only get one body; if you can't be arsed to take care of it, there's isn't much hope for you.

It's weight training, kettle bells, grappling and hiking on my end. What do you guys do?


Edit: Modustollens makes a good point on the mental/emotional aspect. Fortunately, a healthy and fit lifestyle does a lot for an individuals mental well-being (goal-oriented behavior, enjoyment of activities, feeling of accomplishment, sporting community, fresh air and sunshine, etc.) as well as their physical one, so getting out there and taking care of one's body can help on both ends.
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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by Neville » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:42 pm

CharlestonU wrote:I know this may seem like a redundant or self explanatory question, but just how important is fitness when it comes to survival? When it comes to preparing for things that may or may not happen, just how important is it for people to be fit and physically active. I feel like there could be several approaches, one of which includes being adequately prepared to the extent where you will never have to leave a bunker of some sort (if you have one), then there is the more physical side which involves moving around, foraging etc. Just how fit do you have to be to survive? Does it increase your chances of survival?

It depends on your definition of fitness. Most people (mistakenly) equate fitness with attractiveness. That's a poor definition and I'll explain why. I have a friend who is thin as a rail. On the other hand, I have another friend who is quite the chunky monkey - medically he would qualify as "obese". Which one is more fit? You would guess the skinny one, right? But what if I revealed that my skinny friend gets winded carrying a 10 lb backpack 100 yards.... and my "obese" friend has completed Tough Mudder multiple times. Another thing to consider - in a restricted calorie situation, my skinny friend does not have any reserves to burn in the absence of food. My husky friend, could go quite a while on the reserves he carries around.

If we are going to use the Darwinian definition of fitness, then which ever organism has the best "fit" with the conditions it finds itself in, is the "fittest". That is the best definition of "fitness" I think.

There are probably dudes with a six-pack out there who would be exhausted after 4 hours of work my father used to do all day long, six days a week. They don't have any body fat, and they spent their time developing muscle, not stamina. If you can't do an all day trek with a backpack, and that's what your situation demands, then you aren't "fit" for those conditions, your appearance and vanity notwithstanding.

That said - I do think that basic levels of stamina, strength, aerobic capacity are all helpful when finding yourself in a changeable situation where you may have to exert effort beyond what you normally would... whether that is planting and harvesting crops and other manual labor, or moving on foot to evac an area to safer ground, or performing tasks that require a certain amount of strength (lifting, carrying, maybe physically fighting). Or running for your life, maybe up or down stairs if inside a building.

While being medically, physically able to act during a situation is important... I don't believe it's as important as the muscle monkeys at the gym would have you believe. There are going to be a lot of "Dale"'s working their way through the long crisis because they know how to swing a wrench, how to wire a circuit, how to grow a garden, and a million other "life skills" that they have picked up over their half-century plus on this planet, making up for in competence and ingenuity what they might lack in pure brawn or fleet feet. Stop an think about it... it is this aspect of mankind that has made him the most durable, adaptable organism on the planet... not the ability to physically overcome his environment, but rather the ability to modify that environment using his intelligence to better suit his needs. Man cannot go for days in the desert without water, like a camel, nor survive the cold of winter for months without food like a bear, nor breath water like a fish, nor fly through the air like a bird... and yet, he has adapted skills and technologies that allow him to do all these things and much much more.

Physical ability is important, to the extent obtainable... but mental ability is a MUCH more valuable asset IMHO.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by teotwaki » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:38 pm

"Fitness" may be variable based on your PAW situation?

Bugging out:

Be able to drive like Mad Max, wrench on any kind of car, shoot like a marksman, possess ninja skills, survive on little food and hump a 100 lb pack across barren wastelands.

Bugging in, maybe in a community:

Maybe you are in the militia and have to be able to patrol all day long, stand watch on little sleep and build defenses.
Maybe you are a farmer and need to toil all day long and intelligently plan your crop cycles.
Maybe you are a tinker and stay seated all day long, bringing old electronics back to life and running the group's radios.


I do agree that being in decent physical shape and being mentally prepared will get you a lot further if the SHTF. We just have to be honest with ourselves and keep our diets healthy, get enough exercise and work on our physical skills. Better than having unrealistic goals that are so daunting we can never get in shape.
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How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by reppans » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:47 pm

People comment that I look like I'm in great shape, I have broad shoulders and little body fat (can still easily sink to the bottom of a pool). I eat more than anyone I know (and always have) including my 18 y.o. son, who's bigger than me, and rows crew. While I love the outdoors and think I am reasonably active for my age, I'm in it just for fun and recreation, have no real workout regime, and can easily couch potato for days on end. I don't have any real stamina, and ~10 miles/day is about my backpacking limit (AT for example), and forget about jogging - not a chance.

My metabolism is what is primarily what's maintaining my high school sports build, somewhat supplemented from my outdoor pursuits, I suppose. But my fast metabolism is also what may very well do me in in a survival situation. During the cooler months, I literally get cold before meals as the calories from the last meal have burnt off. Ration my food supply, and I will weaken further. I have little body fat reserves to sustain my energy, or insulate me in the cold. In a bad situation, without a steady food supply (life raft for example), I fear I will be among the first to perish :(.

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by AraZombie » Mon May 07, 2018 7:58 pm

Great subject for a discussion. I think the fitness you are can be the difference between staying alive or death, if you are fit, you will heal faster, have more stamina and can defend yourself in a physical situation

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by AraZombie » Wed May 23, 2018 3:54 pm

It is really important and give you a plus to survive. Why? Because being fit increases your abilities to run, moving quickly, being agile. Besides, being fit decreases illnesses

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Re: How important is fitness in survival instances?

Post by MasterMaker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:33 am

Slight necro but Fitness is the second most important thing when it comes to survival, intelligence/logic/reasoning is the most important factor and too much fitness with not enough intelligence can get you killed(ref. Bear Grylls...).........
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