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As an example of a small lifestyle change, I now ride my bike to the grocery store. Some days I wear a backpack, some days I tow a bike trailer, some days I take both if I expect to get a lot of groceries that day.
Now, your grocery store might seem to be a bit too far for you to ride your bike there, but you can ride your bike to other places, too (no, not for fast food! You’re trying to get fit, remember?). My grocery store is only 4 miles round-trip. I think if it were anything more than 8 miles round trip I might fire up the minivan. Although, if you ask me again in about four months, I may extend that distance. Also, if your activity level has not been, um, active for a while then you should probably start slow.
Daily walking is always a good place to start, and you can walk slowly when you first start out and increase your pace as the weeks progress. If you have a dog take them with you (they will love it!)
We started by walking my daughter to school, which is one and a quarter miles from our apartment (If you’re late getting to school, you really pick up your pace, believe me). Then we decided to get “lazy” and we bought bicycles and we now ride those to school. Our daughter rides there and back once during the day (two and a half miles total each day) and my husband and I end up getting at least five miles in each weekday.
There are a whole different set of muscles in play when you walk versus when you ride a bicycle. When you walk you can feel your calf muscles developing into something other than flab. When you ride a bicycle you can feel it in your “quadriceps” which are the muscles on the front and sides of your thighs. I will cover muscles, and the exercises that develop them, in a later post.
If you have a “smart phone” then you can download an app called “Runkeeper” (you can find it here http://runkeeper.com/) which keeps track of how far and how fast you walk, run, or ride your bicycle. It also keeps track of other activities such as hiking, Nordic walking, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, wheelchair, and swimming. Although I do wonder how the swimming part works with a smart phone, the rest of it works really well. It also keeps track of your altitude, which might seem dumb, but when we take our daughter to school we actually have a 97 foot increase in altitude, so it is very slightly uphill. When you’re riding your bicycle with a load of groceries in a tow, it can make a difference in the route you may want to take as well.
There are other apps out there as well, but I like Runkeeper because it works on the fly, I don’t have to pre-plan my path and then follow that planned route, I can adjust it as needed. No, I don’t get anything from Runkeeper for promoting their app.
If your start walking or riding a bicycle to get around and to increase your fitness, please take some water with you. Water will hydrate you without adding extra calories. Keep in mind that sports drinks were designed to hydrate and replace lost electrolytes in people who engage in intense physical exercise for at least an hour and a half at a time. Those people are known as athletes, and they usually drink lots of water in addition to their electrolyte drink. If you aren’t working out that intensely, you do not need to worry about electrolyte replacement.
Now if you drink too much water you might have to worry about electrolytes, but I’ll discuss that with you on another day.
Your body and your mind are your best tools. Proper fitness in an emergency situation ensures that you can move quickly and efficiently, and minimize injury, to ensure the safety and survival of yourself and your loved ones.
Wow! Who am I? Let’s see: I am wife, a Mom to four children (three of which are grown and have moved out), a former Air Force buck-sergeant (they don’t have those any more), and a transplanted Alaskan. I have been a commercial fisherman, a grocery store cashier, an electronics technician, and avionics technician, an electrician, a vending machine technician, a computer technician/network technician/network administrator, and a welfare case worker (don’t ask how I ended up there). Presently I am living in Southern California, where my husband is attending school.
Why am I here? I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the ant and the cricket…the ant stores up food and provisions for the winter, and the cricket fiddles or some such and ends up starving to death. I have always been the ant. I have stored food, medical supplies, and camping equipment for as long as I can remember – as a child even. When I was growing up in the woods of Alaska every time we had lots of food I would store a few pounds of sugar, a few pounds of flour, some extra seasonings, canned goods, even tobacco and papers. When times were lean, I would go out into the woods and bring back my “stash” of whatever we were out of just to get us a few more weeks along until things improved.
But now I live in the city, and I no longer work as hard, so I have gotten soft and squishy and discovered that I am not as strong or quick as I used to be. We moved to Southern California, which is mostly desert, in September of 2013, and I realized that if there is an earthquake here we could be relegated to waiting for a government agency to “rescue” us. I don’t know about you, but I know that we could easily die waiting for government help, and I refuse to be put in that position.
I have once again started to stock up on food and I have added water storage to that as well, since we live in the desert, and water is really scarce. I have learned to distill ocean water to make it drinkable, as well. But here’s the rub: we are 13 miles from the ocean.
You have to start asking yourself “what if” questions in order to ensure your survival. What if there is an earthquake? What would the aftermath look like? The immediate aftermath: sand acts like a liquid when it is shaken (liquefaction, it is called), so it is likely that roads could collapse. The water lines could be severed, gas lines could break and cause fires and smoke, and our apartment (ground floor) could be reduced to rubble. In a matter of hours there would be looting in stores and food shortages (look at what happened in the grocery stores in Louisiana when food stamp cards had no limits on them). Since the water lines would be down, there would be water shortages.
So, in the aftermath, we could be without our basic needs. Air – fires and smoke. Shelter – reduced to rubble. Food and water – whatever we could salvage from the rubble, or had stored somewhere outdoors. Medical – again, whatever we could salvage or had stored. Safety – if people knew we had stored food, water, and medical supplies our lives could be in jeopardy as people began to want to take it from us.
Our option – “bugging out”. How? Hopefully, in our car. Possibly on our bikes. Probably on foot. Are we capable of that?
Not in our present physical condition.
So I am now on a journey to increase my chances of survival through physical conditioning, and I’m going to blog about it. I’m going to talk about physical readiness, mental readiness, medical readiness, and self-defense. I’m going to talk about gear, shoes, packs, clothing. I’m going to talk about walking, hiking, hunting. I’m going to talk about building muscle. I’m going to talk about being physically disabled or having physical mobility issues.
Why should you follow my blog?
Do you live anywhere in the world where you might have a natural disaster such as a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, flooding, drought, or man-made disaster affect you or your community? Could you be better educated about hanging on until help arrives if one or more of these events occurs? Do you think that watching my struggles, failures, and mistakes might be amusing, if not educational? Then you should subscribe and follow me!