This guest post is by J.D. from Ohio and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
I know people who have used all of the above and have had great results. If these programs are already working for you, then outstanding! At least you are doing something. However, this article is geared towards those who don’t necessarily have time, space and/or money to invest in to the above mentioned programs.
Disclaimer: Prior to attempting anything mentioned in this article, please consult your doctor to make sure that you are physically capable of doing such things. You are responsible for you!
Walking is obviously something we all do pretty much everyday and during a WROL-type event, we may be forced to do it a lot.
There are several significant ways to achieve good fitness with walking as the base and the first way is walking with a weighted backpack. As a husband and a father, I always planned on carrying a majority of the load should my family and I be forced to escape/evade our area on foot so I have included this in my fitness regimen. However, I quickly realized that carrying just 25 pounds over a 4-mile trail was very hard! It took over an hour to walk this four miles and I was spent. And, this doesn’t counthaving to walking over obstacles, maintaining noise discipline and other OPSEC considerations required during a WROL-type event. If this is part of your bug-out plan, then it is something that you should be doing on a regular, maybe even daily, basis.
The second type of fitness walking is to walk inclines,specifically stairs or steep hills. Most of us have stair steps in our homes or apartments and one of my regular workouts is to walk up and down my basement steps for at least 25 minutes. Want to take you stairs walking to a whole new level? Add the backpack or a set of dumbbells. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I walk my steps a lot as part of my regular workouts. Adding the weighted backpack puts my workouts into overdrive.
When using dumbbells, you have a couple of options. First, you can carry them with you for the entire hike/walk and do a variety of exercises while walking, such a curls,shoulder presses and flies, one arm rows and tricep extensions. Stop long enough to add some push-ups, squats and lunges and you have a total body workout in 30 minutes or less. This is especially refreshing if you are hiking through a metro park or around a lake.
Another thing that I sometimes do is carry smaller dumbbells while walking up and down the steps. Then I pause every 2-3 reps of stair-walking to do the above mentioned exercises only with heavier weights.
Several good exercises using dumbbells and a weighted back pack were mentioned in the previous section. However, there are some other exercises and options that can be of benefit to you. Along with those previously mentioned, these exercises are designed to help you with a concept known as functional fitness. Functional fitness is basically exercises that are designed to enable you the user to be able to meet the demands of your daily life and to do so in way that doesn’tbreak you down but rather enhances your ability to thrive.
The first functional fitness option that we will discuss is calisthenics and the first things that come to most people’s minds are push-up sand sit-ups. While these are important exercises, realistically they should only make a small portion of your regimen. More emphasis should be placed on pull-ups, tricep dips and bodyweight squats. This is because that in a WROL-type scenario, your chances of having pull yourself up over an obstacle, especially while carrying a weight on your back, are quite high. This is especially true if you have to bug-out for some reason and/or escaping from two and four-legged predators.
Another awesome resistance option is the kettle bell. Kettle bells basically look like cannon balls with handles on them and they come in various sizes. I like kettle bells because they are more of dynamic motion as opposed to dumbbells or other weights and, when used properly,they enhance flexibility. Many of the exercises used in kettle bell routines are known as compound exercises, which mean that the exercise works two or more body parts at the same time. Also, many of the exercises also elevate your heart rate, which is an added bonus. One of my favorite kettle-bell routines is to do a warm-up and then do a 10 minute workout consisting of nothing but kettle bell swings. During the 10 minutes, I will swing the bell for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds of each minute. This will rock your world!
The final form of resistance exercises that I will discuss at this time is power bands or some other type of flexible cord, such as a fitness bungee. There are a lot of things that can be done with these types of bands to enhance flexibility and strengthen a certain body part. This is actually one of main devices used in Pilates. I will use these in my warm-up at times but for the most part, I only use them for an area that I have had to rehab, such as my shoulder and when I had a severe MCL strain in my right knee. Other than rehab, the main reason I mention it here is that many times women are more comfortable using, or at least starting out with these bands.
Before I finish this section I want to mention why I did not put standardized and Olympic-style weight training on here. I do this type of training myself by following the workouts in crossfitfootball.com so I am in no way opposed to it. In fact, for those who can, I encourage it. However, I also know that for whatever reason there are many people without access to the equipment/facilities necessary for this type of training.
Many times, kettle bells, dumbbells, power bands and quality backpacks can be found at a discounted price at the usual spots; re-sale shops,garage sales, craigslist, etc. This makes them more affordable and you really don’t need any other specialized equipment. They also take up a lot less space and if you are including walking into your exercise regimen, then you are getting lots of fresh air too!
Some Final Thoughts
If you have a working garden and/or take care of larger animals, then you should be getting at least some functional exercise already. Carrying hay, straw, bags of feed/mulch/dirt, buckets of water, digging and turning a compost pile on a regular basis all work to enhance your fitness. Mixing hard work with other regular exercise, plenty of fresh air and consuming the quality food that you are raising will all work together to enhance your health and your overall wellness.
This contest will end on October 10 2012 – prizes include:
- First Place : $100 Cash.
- Second Place : $50 Cash.
- Third Place : $25 Cash.
Contest ends on October 10 2012.