What's the most important thing to have when it comes to prepping? If you guessed a first aid kit, a large stockpile of food, or a bunker in the woods, you'd be wrong.
Emergency preparedness means many different things to different people. For some people, it's an economic collapse leaving millions out of work. For others, it's a weather disaster like a blizzard or solar flares.
Prepping may mean that you expect you are concerned there will be a weather disaster. Or, it might be that you worry about an economic collapse or a pandemic.
People believe in stockpiling many things to prepare for emergencies. Exactly what's in each prepper's go bag really depends on who they are, where they live, and their skill level.
There are lots of discussions in prepper forums about bushcraft skills you should be learning. Everyone knows that starting a fire without matches is something you need to master.
And, there are endless topics of skills like beekeeping, food dehydrating, basic dental skills, tracking, and outdoor sanitation.
While you certainly need a first aid kit, adequate food and water, and a safe location, there's something even more important. Your health and physical fitness.
Why you need to be healthy in an emergency
Imagine this, your most feared emergency just happened. Maybe a solar flare caused an EMP. Or, maybe the stock market crashed and caused massive unemployment and rioting. Or, maybe a pandemic hit your city, closed businesses, and caused a lockdown.
Being healthy doesn't mean you need to be a bodybuilder or spend three hours a day in the gym. But, as we get older we lose muscle mass and our abilities generally decline if we aren't actively using them.
Would you make it to safety?
So, a doomsday scenario has happened. You're ready. You have your bug out bag stocked with MREs and supplies for you and your pets. You have a safe location or bunker about 10 miles from your home. It has everything you need to keep you and your family safe.
You have your map and a few safe ways to get there either by car or on foot. Your family is ready and the time to go is now.
The car won't start. Or, it dies partway to your location. Can you make the distance on foot with your supplies? With the kids and your spouse? What if you can't?
Can you make it at home?
Or, let's say you aren't leaving your home in an emergency. You have a good location and a stockpile of food and supplies to last several years for your family.
You have all of the seeds for a garden, a water catchment system, and some livestock. You have a wood stove as backup heat for warmth and cooking meals. You are all set for the long haul right where you are.
Or are you? In an emergency situation, you may no longer have gas for your rototiller. Are you prepared to till that large garden by hand? Hoeing is backbreaking work even for someone in good physical shape.
When your wood supply runs low, are you prepared to go into the backyard with an ax to cut some more? And, are you able to haul that back home day after day to stockpile for winter?
Can you spend hours in the woods in the cold hunting? Or, are you able to walk for miles looking for berries or medicinal plants?
What does healthy mean?
Getting healthy doesn't mean you need to be a bodybuilder. Our ancestors that made it through tough times like the Depression didn't look like weight lifters. They were thin and wiry and had stamina. Do you?
People who are overweight are more likely to have health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and joint and muscle problems. How fit are you for the long term?
if your prescription medication supply was interrupted for a few months or a few years, would this have an impact on your continued health? And, how would your family survive without you able to help care for them?
Now is the time
If you're reading this and thinking that it sounds all too familiar, now is the time to see if you are capable of handling basic tasks like the ones I mentioned. You may need to in an emergency.
Load up your bug out bag with all your preps and go for a walk on a hot day or a cold day. How far do you get? Is it far enough to get where you're going?
This summer, when it's time to plant your garden, keep the rototiller in the garage and see how far you could get without it. Is that enough tillable land to plant your garden so you can make it through the winter?
Take a look at not only yourself but the other members of your family. Chances are they will be bugging out or sheltering place with you. What is their health like?
if you don't think you can manage, now is the time to change, before that emergency hits.
Grab your bug out bags or a few gallons of water and start lifting. Go on a walk. Take a hike. Break a sweat and get in shape so you're prepared when you need to be.