Friday, July 18, 2008

How Physically Fit Are You?

Physical fitness is a critical part of being prepared to deal with any disaster that occurs. With a national obesity rate that is steadily creeping towards 30%, this doesn't bode well for nearly one third of our entire population. People who are overweight or obese have problems with the very basics of helping themselves during a disaster such as exiting an airplane during an emergency landing, climbing out of a window if their home is on fire, or evacuating on foot, even if they only need to run to the nearest cross street. With that in mind, consider if you...
  • Are able to swim one mile (preferably in open water)
  • Are able to run five miles easily
  • Can do basic calisthenics (100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 40 pull ups)
  • Have a Black Belt in a martial art (karate, kung fu, judo, tae kwon do, etc)
  • Are well-versed in team sports (basketball, baseball, football, volleyball soccer, etc)
  • Are well-versed in water sports (polo, diving, SCUBA, water skiing)
  • Are well-versed in winter sports (skiing--both downhill and cross country, snowshoeing)
  • Have experience rock climbing, mountain climbing, ice climbing
  • Are well-versed in balance sports (bicycling, dance, skating--both ice and roller)
  • Are well-versed in individual sports (fencing, gymnastics, golf, wrestling)
  • Are strong (weight lifting)
  • Are flexible (stretching)
These are all important physical fitness skills to have. Of course as the population ages, the ability to do the aforementioned activities will lessen, however, any amount of physical fitness training on a regular basis will give you many added benefits when it comes to being prepared for an emergency. It may even take care of some basic health issues such as lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
If you want to begin an exercise plan, start slow. Walking to the mail box or around the block may be a good start for some people. You may also want to discuss your physical fitness plan with your doctor and get some baseline tests done in order to see how your improving physical fitness impacts your overall health. In addition, you may want to set some goals to keep yourself motivated such as walking a marathon, joining a bowling team, walking with the Volksmarchers, or even participating the the local Senior Olympics events that are common around the country.
It is never too late to start to improve your fitness level and you will probably even find that as your exercise program progresses, you will have more energy, less weight to carry around, and less aches and pains that are common as we age.


  1. Well, that's a really good question! I don't have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high chlorestorol. Not overweight either. I try to exercise when I get a chance, but with packing sacks of fertilizer and shoveling compost at the farm, not to mention working on the tractor and the farm house, working two jobs and having to walk a few miles everyday at work making my rounds, well you get the picture. I'm definitely not a couch potato and only watch an occasional movie (ifit looks interesting). Exercise if you can though. I basically try to eat a well balanced diet and try to get in a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes each day of regular exercise, even though I have a pretty hectic schedule. Hiking and camping are some of my favorite activities and this also helps.


  2. Farm living will definitely get you in good shape. Back in the day, most kids weren't obese because they had farm chores in the morning before they walked themselves a few miles to school. They played football after school then walked back home and did their evening chores--a big change from how most kids live now. I fondly recall many of the older farmers and ranchers in our rural area who could still buck hay, mend fences, climb up and repair the roof, chase after escaped cattle...basically any task the younger people could do...with ease late into their seventies and beyond.