Assess Your Health and Fitness Before you begin exercising, assess your health as it currently stands. Talk with your doctor before you begin about which exercises are best for you. After visiting your doctor, plan and execute an emergency drill. This drill will help you to determine which skills you may need to work on. Practice building a shelter, carrying supplies or people, using your emergency ladder to escape a second story room, and walking or hiking to your emergency meeting place or evacuation location with your supplies. Ask yourself these questions to determine what you need to work on:
- Can I build an emergency shelter?
- Can I lift/carry someone else?
- Can I carry a backpack full of several days (or even weeks) of emergency supplies?
- Can I fill and carry sand bags to help protect my home against flood waters?
- Can I help clean-up damages after a natural disaster?
- Work out three or more times a week. Make sure that your heart rate does not exceed 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes or longer. Moderate exercise can increase stamina. (Click here to calculate your maximum heart rate.)
- Mix up your workout regime. High intensity training, mixed in with more relaxed exercise can help you to build your endurance and stamina. Variation and moderation are important to strengthen your muscles and to help you acquire stamina and endurance.
- Strengthen your abdominals. Working on strengthening your abdominal muscles will help you to gain strength and power for any activity that involves the torso. Try adding push-ups, sit-ups, and other core-strengthening moves to your exercise regime.
- Weight training can also build strength. If you are new to weight training you may want to go to a gym or trainer to help you do it safely.
- Legs, chest, back, shoulders, glutes, abdominals. Strength is largely built through weight training. However, you can also do squats, chin ups or flexed-arm hangs in addition to shoulder presses, dead lifts, bench and leg presses, which will strengthen all of your large muscle groups.
- Strengthen your large muscle groups. Learning how to use each of these muscle groups will give you more power, leverage, and force to do heavy carrying or lifting.
- Use resistance bands. Although they are generally thought of as rehabilitation tools for sports injuries, using resistance bands while working out and stretching also builds muscular strength. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to gain strength!
- Pace yourself. Gradually build up your endurance through variation in your exercise routine. Start at a level that you are comfortable with (walk four laps around a track), then increase by 10% each week until you can run four full laps around the track without having to break. This applies to any type of exercise.
- Gradually Increase. Once you can run/walk/bike a certain distance without stopping, gradually increase speed and distance (this also applies with any form of exercise).