The worst has happened and the social order is in a state of break-down. You had hoped that this wouldn’t happen, but you were smart enough to plan ahead in case it did. You have a comfortable home in the country. You have stored food, medical supplies, hunting and defensive weapons, a good stock of ammo, garden tools, and heirloom seeds. There’s no live water on your land but you had the foresight to have a 75 foot deep well drilled. You installed a good wood burning stove in your house and cleared off a good size piece of land where you can plant a garden. You and your family are safe; it’s day one and you are ready to survive.
First things first, you need water and fire wood to start the day with breakfast. While your wife is digging through the food storage you go out to draw some water from the well. There’s no electricity so it’s a rope and bucket. You need water for 4 people to wash up, fix breakfast and do the dishes. Three buckets ought to do it. So, you spend about 15 minutes pulling on the rope, hand over hand; and then haul the five gallons (41 pounds) of water up to the house.
Now for the fire wood. There are plenty of downed and seasoned trees from where you cleared your garden spot, but you will have to cut them up with a crosscut saw and split them with an axe. You could use your chainsaw but you know that’s not a good idea. Too much noise that might attract unwanted attention, and besides you need to save the gas. So, you spend the next 45 minutes sawing, splitting, and carrying firewood for breakfast. You can come back after breakfast and cut more for the rest of the day’s cooking and to heat the house tonight.
After breakfast you decide to get started on the garden spot. You have food stored, but it will eventually run out so you need to start right away getting the ground ready for a spring garden. This will require digging up three or four stumps, digging up roots, hauling out rocks, and hand turning the soil. You want to put in a 40 foot by 60 foot garden so preparing the ground will occupy most of your working days for the next several weeks. Of course then it will be time to start building a fence around the garden to keep deer out. You walk to the tool shed and get out your grubbing hoe, shovel, long pry-bar, and a pair of leather work gloves.
OK. Now go look in the mirror. Are you physically ready to live like this? Everything that you do will involve muscle power. We are so used to modern conveniences that we have totally lost sight of how physically challenging life is without them. Our great-grandfathers had to consume about 4000 calories a day just to maintain their body weight. Today many of us gain weight on 2000 calories a day. We have to make a special effort to indulge in any physical activity.
In our very uncertain future, the term “survival of the fittest” could mean exactly that. The physically fit may be the only ones that survive. I would suggest to you that physical conditioning is just as important to your survival plans as food storage, or self defense. You could join a gym and take the traditional route of jogging, resistance training, aerobics, and etc.; but I’ve never really understood the logic behind paying one guy to do your yard work and then paying another guy to let you work out in his gym. Wouldn’t it be more productive and more realistic to get out and do some physical labor similar to the types of things that you would need to do on a self-sufficient farm. How about starting a garden using only hand tools, splitting firewood with an axe, or hand digging post holes for a new fence. You’ll get some great exercise, and you’ll have something to show for it besides muscles. If a survival situation never arises you haven’t wasted any effort. Being fit will improve the quality of your life no matter what happens.