It’s a good idea to keep fit all the time and not just for survival situations. We all know that but don’t always keep in shape, including myself at times. The last few years I’ve gotten back in gear on fitness, but with a few setbacks, more below.
What sort of fitness do survivalists need? Depends on a few things, including what scenario you think is most likely and are preparing for, and age.
In my opinion, the U.S. is currently in a slow collapse that will someday trigger a fast one. I think that if we continue on our current most likely path, a fast collapse will eventually be triggered through financial collapse. I suppose and EMP (manmade or solar induced) or something else could speed that up, but unless something big changes the calculus, I think our civilization is doomed.
From that starting point I think we’ll need to be physically capable of doing a few things; 1) a lot of walking, 2) moving, lifting, and carrying heavy things, 3) doing work that requires repetitive motions over long periods of time, and 4) less often than 1-3, moving very quickly at times.
In the early stages of collapse, fire fights might be more likely and the need to move fast will be there (I’m focusing on accuracy and long-range shooting rather than close quarters situations). But I also may need to bug out on foot and push a cart (jogging stroller in my case) for weeks/months.
So some form of weight training and cardio exercise is probably what most need. I jog, rather slowly at about 6 MPH for 4-8 miles several times a week, and lift weights heavily relative to most. I’m not looking to win any speed races, run a marathon, or be a body builder, though exercising will usually cause weight loss and build muscle mass, generally improving appearance.
Ryan noted I need to add FAST to my routine. Me, not so much. Him, yes. Ryan is an officer deployed to a war zone (also younger – it matters). I don’t know details but assume he’s in a combat arms branch and therefore has a much higher probability of getting into combat where he may indeed need to run like hell, and perhaps carry a 250+lb pound buddy out of danger, etc. If I get deployed to a war zone again, then that’s a different story.
I gave up on fast – knees can no longer take the punishment of running at 9 MPH for 10+ minutes. I work with a lot of retired military and know two guys whose knees aren’t screwed. I literally see guys late 40s/50+ gimping around at work all the time (I work for a big organization with a lot of retired military, along with AD, reserves, CIV, and contractors). Running fast is why those knees are shot, and I don’t want to make mine worse.
I did fast for awhile and am not real old (pushing 40), but decided I’d take a lesser score on my physical fitness test (max two events, do middling on the run) rather than kill my knees like I had been doing in an effort to get a better score. It was the right decision.
When they lose mobility, they start to balloon up, I’ve seen it over and over. A lot of the fat retired guys aren’t lazy, they just can move anywhere near like the used to, combined with a slower metabolism as they age.
Same with lifting as we get older, I see a lot of guys (formerly in outstanding condition) blow an elbow or shoulder, and it all goes to flab.
Keep as fit as possible for your age without sabotaging yourself a couple of decades down the road, it will matter IMO.
If my joints are shot when I’m 50 (or older), having been fast now won’t have been much benefit. Balance is the key, it’s a long race.