For many people, the side effects of physical fitness are at least as rewarding as the actual numbers on the scale and lab report and clothing sizes. In my case, my weight loss has also resulted in more self-confidence, a higher energy level, and feeling generally more positive.
Making the time and doing the work to increase my fitness level also has made me an abler homesteader. Long hours on my feet during canning season, racing to the chicken house to investigate a sudden commotion, and weekend firewood-processing marathons are now less taxing.
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And if disaster strikes, I will be more capable of keeping myself and my loved ones safe. While there are a lot of other factors that are important, the ability to walk, run, climb, push and haul might be some of the most needed.
Many Americans are obese, or lead sedentary lives, or live with addiction, or suffer from conditions that are exacerbated by lifestyle. This will not serve them in the event of a disaster, and could possibly even jeopardize the welfare of those around them.
Consider the many scenarios in which physical fitness would be crucial. People may need to run to save a child or slip quietly out of sight in a forest. They might be called upon to walk long distances, climb a tree or ladder, rappel, pound a nail, heft an axe, operate a scythe, paddle a boat, swim, carry heavy loads, and work long days—all of which are possible for unfit people but will be more challenging.
Dependence upon cigarettes, alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, or even technology could possibly result in placing oneself at risk for a fix. Nobody wants that for themselves. Nobody wants to land in a post-disaster scenario with a bad knee, poor dental health, or gout, either.
None of this is to say that everyone has complete control over their own health. Accidents happen. Diseases happen. Genetics happen. But for the rest of us, it makes sense to do all we possibly can to be fit and healthy.
No one is perfect, and thank goodness we do not need to be. We all struggle with at least one issue — my family history of heart disease and diabetes and my fondness for Dr. Pepper and Little Debbie’s will always be present in my life. But facing our health challenges head-on and dealing with them now instead of later is a win-win. We win now, we win in the event of a disaster, the people around us win because we will have fewer special needs and instead will be able to help others, and we also win in terms of comfort and longevity if disaster doesn’t come. The only people who really lose out if Americans become fit and healthy are the big pharmaceutical companies.
We do not need to look like bodybuilders or run like track stars. But we do need to reach for our personal best and make health and fitness a central component of our survival and prepping goals.
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