Now that the weather is improving in most parts of the country people can now get outdoors and shake off their cabin fever. After a long hard winter it is difficult for most of us to go from zero to 60 in five seconds, we have to work up to it, get back in shape in other words after long days of sitting idle.
Of course many of us shoveled snow and slogged through deep drifts this last winter, which by all accounts is hard work, but it may not have been enough. How much walking did you do, did you swing an ax to chop firewood, and did you have to haul water from a creek or pond and how often did you sling a pack and take a hike.
The demands physically will increase during a crisis and the less prepared you are the greater the physical demands will be on your body. You may have to carry supplies home on foot from an emergency distribution center set up by the local, state, or federal authorities during a crisis. Can you carry supplies back home from town on foot, today, right now if you had too? You may not always be able to drive your vehicle during a crisis so you have to be prepared to walk and carry.
Past articles have talked about bugging-out, but for the most part the articles have advocated for sheltering in place in all but extreme cases. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to leave your home, but to do so you would have to be ready physically.
Humans are built for walking and running, and yet some if not many of us do very little of it. However, during a crisis having the ability to get from one point to another on foot could save your life.
Note: Do not attempt any strenuous activity unless you have consulted with a medical professional to ensure you can endure the activity. Everyone needs to know the condition of his or her heart, whether you have problems with hypertension, and whether you are diabetic or pre-diabetic before doing any strenuous activity. Without knowing, you could harm yourself with over exertion. Fit the activity to your present physical condition and strengthen your heart and body at a safe pace.
Build Up Slow
You can almost guarantee your bug-out-bag is too heavy to carry for an extended period. Over the winter you likely added items without removing any. That new space age tent you just had to have along with that the new camp stove that will fold up to the size of a deck of cards all went in the bag. Not much weight added but weight added nonetheless.
Now is the time to sling your bag and really get out there and test yourself, however, reduce the weight to about 15 pounds to start with unless you have been hiking all winter with 50 pounds on your back.
You might want to consider adding a front pack that repositions some of the weight. Front packs while they have limited space are ideal for carrying items you would need to put your hands on frequently while hiking such as maps, compass, and weapons and so on.
Having weight up front also helps when walking up inclines because some of the weight is forward. A front pack can help reduce the strain on the shoulders and back as well. Most front packs can be used with a traditional backpack.
Test your hiking boots/shoes. You may have gotten a new pair over the winter, but have yet to put them through their paces. You do not want to find out during an emergency that your footwear is causing you foot problems. Find out now and break in those new boots in a controlled situation.
Once your pack is shouldered can you access a holstered pistol? Many of you with a concealed carry permit will want to carry while hiking and you generally would not want your pistol buried in the pack. With kidney pads and waist belts attached can you still carry so the firearm is easily accessible on the belt or in a shoulder rig if that is the case? Now is the time to find out in particular if you purchased a new backpack or even a new holster/pistol over the winter.
Pack shouldered, boots laced tight and now it is time to walk a mile or even two to start with. Work up a sweat to see if your body is anxious to go with the added weight. You may only be able to walk a half mile before you feel your shoulders aching and your feet killing you, but that’s ok because after a week of this you can bump up to three quarters of a mile without a problem. After a few weeks two miles will literally be a walk in the park.
After 10 days or even two weeks add 10 pounds to the pack and continue to walk and vary the terrain so you are forced to walk on uneven ground, up and down inclines, over rocks, grass and with forest debris underfoot. Continue to add weight until all items are back in the pack and then gauge whether you could reasonably expect to carry it all day every day.
There is more to being prepared than having a stockpile of supplies. You have to be physically able to handle the crisis, and the less you can do physically the more you have to be prepared in other areas. If you simply cannot walk for any distance then you have to ensure you would not have to during a crisis. This means you have everything you need at hand. You will not be able to forage, walk to an emergency distribution center, and you would not be able to hunt wild game. You have to adapt your preparations in some cases, to fit your physical situation.
Some may feel they can handle any situation as it comes up, but if you have never been trained and conditioned to handle certain situations you will not be able to in many cases. Do not assume, because you are in top physical condition that you can do it all. You need to prepare for the worst case scenario, because even a fit person cannot walk far with a broken leg.
Before you can train and gain new skills you have to be physically capable. Some of you of course cannot do certain things for various reasons, so your preparedness plan will have to take a different turn to make up for the lack of physical capabilities.