Today's blog post about The Keys to Transitioning Healthcare: Empowerment, Education, & Prevention reminded me of one preparation that everyone should do, which costs very little, and has a very big impact on how you will live through the next 20 or more years:
Live healthy and keep a high level of fitness.
I consider this topic to be of major importance, but unfortunately I can't remember any prominent postings on this site (at least since I am following this site).
I want to give something valueable back to this community, so I think I'm going to summarize this topic a little. This is one of my most important personal preparations for the decades that lie ahead.
1. Eat healthy
We cannot rely on our ever-present, high-tech medical infrastructure. There may come times when the next capable hospital e.g. for a complicated heart surgery is too far away, or too expensive, or sold out. There may come times with shortages of drugs, even stuff like insulin could become scarce one day. I don't want to depend on medicine in difficult times, so I consider it to be very valuable to minimize the risks of getting diseases.
You have a huge personal advantage when turning away from the habits of today's supersized, fat-ladden and high carb diet. There are many diseases you can and should avoid, with diabetes being only one of them.
There are many sources (e.g. books) on how to eat healthy. But you have to want it, and you have to develop an interest in food. You should learn about the different components of food.
For example, fat is not just fat. There are many sorts of fats. Some are good, some are bad. I do not live without fats, which would be very unhealthy. But I know about the different kinds of fats and oils, and actively choose food that contains valueable fat acids.
Neither am I a vegetarian, but I reduced the amount of meat and stick to chicken and fish, because that is more healthy than pigs or cattle (although once in a while I enjoy a nice steak). It doesn't matter too much if you eat unhealthy things on an irregular basis. What really matters is: change your everyday diet to a healthy and natural one.
Three years ago, I was at 92 kg weight. I had a little "belly", and started having backaches from sitting around all day. But when I turned 30 years old, I realized that I was no longer the young and agile man I used to be. So I changed my life - step by step, because I knew that I couldn't change everything at once.
At first, I stopped eating some of the most unhealthy foods. In fact, I simply didn't buy any new of it as it went empty. After a while I stopped eating or drinking the next unhealthy thing. So my body had time to adapt to and accept the new food. It took almost half of a year to change my diet.
Then, I started to do sports. And this is what really blew me off. It had consequences for my life that I did not expect. To summarize it in a few short sentences:
I started running long distances. I read a lot about running, I began to interest me on running, and I learned the right technique on how to run efficiently and without damaging my body. This year in April, after two years of training, I ran my first Marathon in Hamburg and finished in 3 hours and 43 minutes.
In late 2007 I was feeling miserable, with 92 kg weight and backaches.
In spring 2010 I was at my best athletic form, weighing 72 kg, with a very nice body strength, low blood pressure, and no backaches. I felt at least 10 years younger. Now, I want to conservate my level of fitness over the coming decades. I plan to run a Marathon in 57 years, when turning 90 years old. :-)
To remain healthy and fit would be a good thing even if the next 20 years were to be just like the last 20 years. But times will be very different. And because of that, it is absolutely important to stay healthy and fit.
Some of the benefits:
4. How to start?
I encourage you to start or to intensify your efforts as soon as possible. It is never too late to change your diet to a healthier one. It is never too late to start with sports. Maybe you shouldn't train for the Marathon, but walking, swimming or fitness training will do either.
But: Do it on a regular basis. Eat healthy everyday. Do sports at least three times a week. I personally run four times a week and go to the gym another two times. And take your wife, husband or partner with you - this is more fun and you benefit both. :-)
"I have no time" is no excuse, it is just a sign of a serious life-work-disbalance. You have ONE body, ONE lifetime to live through. You can't afford to have "no time", especially when knowing what difficult (yet interesing) times there are ahead of you.
I would appreciate it if someone with a better English could pick this topic up and rewrite it as a part of the "Preparations" series.
Kind regards from Hamburg / Germany,
You want to know the another definition of middle class?
Can you afford regular dental care?That's two cleanings/visits per year, X-rays once per year - for each person in your family. Wisdom teeth removal, orthodontics (braces) if needed to straighten teeth if they are more than a little crooked, fillings, porcelain crowns, periodontal care, titanium-screwed whole tooth replacement, etc.
If because of money - you would go to the dentist but can't, or you delay a visit for longer than necessary, or if you have a problem but can't afford the care, if you've taken out a tooth with pliers rather than visit a dentist, then you're not really middle class. (If it's out of fear of long needles or drilling, then that's different.)
Great topic, thanks for the write up. I couldn't agree more.
As a physician I appreciate the comments above.
I would like to recommend a book by Mark Moyad, MD. "Dr. Moyad's No BS Health Care". Dr. Moyad is an internist who works for the Dept. of Urology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Moyads focus is on public health, preventative and alternative medicine. I like him because he is data driven, just like Dr. Martenson. As best as I can tell he's an honest guy.
The book presents a simplified approach to staying healthy and preventing disease. No recommendation is made unless it is backed by data, preferably randomized prospective trials, and includes information on diet, weight loss, cholesterol, exercise, (aerobic exercise and weight lifting) , etc. (and yes I do understand that any trial is subject to error, bias, monetary influence).
Sometimes I think the best thing that might happen for a lot of Americans is for the price of food to go up dramatically.
They will then be forced to stop eating so much.
Unfortunately, it seems the bad food such as cheeseburgers stays cheap while the good food (organic) is the pricey stuff.
But with peak oil, maybe that will flip around, and it will be the organic food that is less expensive, because it simply will be impossible to make a lot of crap food without oil.
Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to get healthier because who wants to deal with a collapse when you aren't feeling so hot.
The best health care is the kind you give yourself. Eat well and expect fewer trips to the Doc. Eat Burger king and smoke expect to pay!
Do not neglect your supplements or beverage
Resveratrol, Alpha Lipoic Acid, vitamin D-3 and your Dark beer or favorite Wine
I have recommended iherb.com before for people on this site. Check it out
Jk121 , Do you think it matters what brand of Alpha Lipoic Acid we buy ? I had been buying different brands so as to not build up and resistance to a particular one .
Hey full moon. I buy 2 kinds of ALA. MRI company makes a supplement called Minus 10, and I will buy R-lipoic acid from Source Naturals and take that with the minus 10. Minus 10 is time released and the R-Lipoic Acid is not.
You will find the MINUS 10 at a great price at dpsnutrition.com Also Beverly International makes a product called QuadraCarn, taking a carnitine supplement with Lipoic acid works together for a 1..2 punch for the body and mind.
Certain things are non-negotiable. Even if I know it's bad for me, should the day ever come where we see Peak Cap'N Crunch, I will be leading the revolution.
Haha yes...and I don't like the stories that suggest that chocolate may become a rare commodity someday... :-(
I wanted to revisit this thread because over the years, I've found myself asking:"What exactly is a good level of fitness?"
Some folks track it by heart rate, BMI or waist circumference, Ability to run or perform calisthenic exercises, or some combination of these.
The military, for example awards points for the amount of repetitions performed within a given time frame, or distance over time; but how "fit" does this make you? It's certainly an easy and simple way to measure a lot of people's "overall" fitness quickly, but is it practical?
So - I've been looking for answers to this question all morning - How exactly do you measure someone's fitness?
I'm looking forward to hearing peoples' answer to this nebulous question.
IMO, a "good level of fitness" will be one that will allow a given person to work 3-6 hours a day at hard labor without incurring injury or undue fatigue (i.e., one can do 6 hours of hard labor, eat a meal, hit the sack, and then wake up 8 hours later and do it over again. And again....).
Due to bone spurs on both my big toes (old injury from my hard-core days of rollerblading the streets of Manhattan, dodging buses and taxis [and peevish pedestrians]), I couldn't run a 10k without tweaking my knees/ankles (although I bet I could swim 3-4 miles).
But I can lay stone wall for 8 hours, or dig ditches half a day and then put up split-rail fence, or climb around on scaffolding helping my boy D put up a slab-frame addition to his barn. And get up the next day fine, give or take the odd bump (and a couple-three advil ). I know all this because I'm doing it a couple days a week up at the Homestead.
I'd wager that the sort of "fitness" the coming world will require will look nothing like the training that goes into doing a triathlon. Rather, strength, reasonable flexibility and endurance will be far more important. And a strong immune system will certainly be a fine thing to have.
One man's US$0.02...
VIVA -- Sager
But I can lay stone wall for 8 hours, or dig ditches half a day and then put up split-rail fence ...
I know all this because I'm doing it a couple days a week up at the Homestead.
I'd wager that the sort of "fitness" the coming world will require will look nothing like the training that goes into doing a triathlon. Rather, strength, reasonable flexibility and endurance will be far more important. And a strong immune system will certainly be a fine thing to Sager
Give that man a cigar! That is the only fitness that ultimately counts. I've seen many farmers do this right into their sixties and put much younger men to shame.
If you're looking at physical fitness, there's obviously no one single measure or parameter. For aerobic/cardiovascular fitness, one can look at such factors as VO2 max (i.e. maximum oxygen uptake) and heart rate recovery times. For strength fitness, simple tasks such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc. (or their one-armed and one-legged variants) as well as grip strength (very important and often neglected). Also, such whole body strength/power tasks as jumping height and distance, sprinting ability, throwing, lifting, and carrying ability are relevant. With strength, however, one also has to demonstrate not only dynamic strength but static strength (i.e. the ability to hold a position for prolonged periods of time). To demonstrate reasonable fitness, one should have normal range of motion in all joints, from the big toe (i.e. 1st metatarsophalangeal joint) to the wrists and everything in between with particular significance to spinal flexibility (which has a significant effect on movement efficiency since human ambulation is initiated by spinal contra-rotation). Balance, coordination and movement efficiency (the latter of which are harder to document and quantify), and the various components of speed (as utilized in martial arts, for example) such as hand and arm speed, kicking and footwork speed, waist and body turning speed, touch speed, directional change speed, reaction and timing speed, and speed with power are all relevant.
Fitness, to me is the ability to have the range of motion, strength, endurance, neuromuscular control, etc., to perform any motor task you wish for a prolonged period of time with the least fatigue and the least injury to your body and the fastest recovery time to do it again whether that task is squatting down, swimming a river, hiking up a steep hill, walking through a swamp, climbing a steep cliff, alancing yourself on a log walking over a creek, shimmying up a tree, pulling yourself out of water when you've broken through ice, starting a fire with a hand drill, carrying a canoe and pack over a portage, running for your life, physically defending yourself, cutting down a tree, preparing a garden, building a greenhouse, skinning an animal, scraping a hide, etc.
How do we measure these things?
The military uses Pushups, situps and a run as a metric for your level of fitness, but it's always seemed horrendously incomplete to me.
So, what types of events would be included in a comprehensive fitness test, and what constitutes a 'good' level of fitness in these events?
Thanks for the reminder Dorrian.
When I was younger I use to work religiously towards athletic goals. Many people work out for vanity.
As people get older perhaps both of these things become less important as work and family commitments take up much more of our time.
Although being fit does have it secondary benefits like still being able to enjoy and play competitve sports and looking good, we forget why it's most important.
Being healthy, increasing strength & stamina for work and life, having more energy, feeling good and ideally avoiding as much unnecessary medication, surgery or poor medical care and costs as possible is very important.
Ultimately being physically prepared for survival situation can mean life or death.
It's not about your best time, points per game, batting average, great photos or how you look in the mirror anymore. It's about being able to defend yourself, living life energetically to its fullest and prolonging a good quality of life.
People have different reasons and goals but bottom line you just want a long and healthy quality of life in where you can protect yourself and your loved one and have enough energy to take advantage of all that life has to offer.
Thanks for reminding us Dorrian.
I really like Sager's answer, "fit" is part of the question "fit to do what?" Obviously fitness for a marathon is radically different than fitness for gymnastics.
Fitness to live sustainably? That would certainly include hard labor of various sorts.
If you want a metric, it must come from the end goal, i.e. fitness for bike racing is empirically obtained by racing said bike.
The folks at CrossFit seem to feel THEY are the measure of fitness, but then, their measurements ARE their training regimen, even though it's reasonably solid.
So here's my pet list of what "fitness" is-
1. grip strength. Your hands connect your will to the world, if they are weak, so are you. The world doesn't come with handles!
2. maximal strength, based on body weight. How much weight can you move, measured as percentage of your body weight?
3. strength endurance. Moving huge weights is great, but how long or often can you do it?
4. aerobic fitness. If you can't swim or run worth a lick, your strength is of limited usefullness.
For exercises, I really like-
Bodyweight stuff of all sorts. You simply CANNOT match the core strength achieved through gymnastics-style work. Here's some guys that don't need a gym membership-
For mobility, parkour is simply amazing. Note these two activities directly compliment each other-
If all you did was these two things, you'd be in pretty good shape, I believe.
And then there's this guy, exercising with improvised everything. He also has a website chock full of ideas-
That video makes me tired...:)
As a previously passionate teacher of excercise, I love this topic! I am now a very passionate mother and homemaker, and as such my attention to physical condition has completely changed.
I have become less interested in my looks, although I have not had a difficult struggle with weight in my life. But I tell you, after spending a very intensive week practicing my homemaking arts, I personally believe that a life post-peak will include one that gets folks in shape, notwithstanding the lack of mechanized equipment to assist. Here's what I mean:
I am a 38 year old, decently strong woman who lugs around two heavy kiddos, and all that goes with that, plenty of bike rides, hikes, games, etc.
I made cheese for the first time this week, mozzerella, and WHOA. I got to the part where you "work the curds" and I thought my hands were going to sieze. It was twenty minutes solid of handling hot, heavy white stuff continuously.
The next day my husband brought home about 50lbs of gleaned corn from a local farmer. Shucking, then de-husking it took all day! I was pooped by the end of it.
And just today, my kids and I went apple picking at a friend's house. It was also exercise, not in a gym, but I was using my body to do work and it performed well. REaching, bending, picking, moving heavy bags, etc...
My personal opinion is that physical fitness has less to do with strength metrics *ie how long a person can do something or what weight a person can lift. What it means to me to be fit is that I am capable of completing any activity that I wish, and I can do it without being limited by my physical body. I can go for a 30 minute run, which I do every so often, no problem. Can I sprint for 30 minutes straight? It would hurt, but I am certain I could do it. I simply do not have the time to work out for hours a day. Then again, it is built within my lifestyle to be active and strong.
That said, I do wish I had the time and money to study martial arts. It seems to me an amazing way to learn how to control your strenght and use that control to leverage against attacks. The ol' "it's how you use it" thing comes to mind. As a woman with small children, a day does not go by where I worry slightly about our physical safety post collapse. There are folks here who have some great recommendations for schools out there. It is just not in the cards for me at this time, but maybe it will be in the future.
Good to hear from you again. I was becomingly increasingly concerned about your well being when we hadn't heard from you for a while.
When you say "these things", do you mean what I mentioned in the first paragraph or the second?
In the first paragraph, for some of the measures, specialized equipment such as a metabolic measurement cart, treadmill, electronic timers, etc. would be needed but generally, a tape measure, stop watch, scale, and simply counting will suffice.
In the second paragraph, measurement can be a bit more difficult but measuring the same parameters as heartbeat, recovery time, time, distance, height, and weight would be appropriate for some tasks while other tasks may defy more simple quantification.
If I may take the liberty, I get the sense your question is more about how do we weight the measurements of these things and determine how significant they are and how certain more measurable tasks correlate to other tasks which are similar but more difficult to measure. A comprehensive military type obstacle course/parcourse would seem to be appropriate. But again, what performance paramaters are the most important and how do you weight each of them? That question would appear to be a rather subjective one and involves what one's ultimate functional goals are.
To tell you the truth, insurance companies (and society in general) are so pressuring us to quantify everything, that in my non-professional life, I tend to overcompensate and reject quantification in favor of the qualitative aspects of the experience. The more the various quantification demands permeate our society, the more dehumanizing I find the process .... but that's just me.
AO, the events in your second paragraph.
I generally agree with you that quantative thinking isn't always a reliable gauge - especially in a stochastic world where peoples physical characteristics vary wildly, it's unlikely any "real" meaning can be assigned.
That said, it's a useful measure of progress when you can say that "X" amount of "Event ___" was performed at "Y weight or Z distance".
Then, there's the question of was the event productive or useful.
I like the idea of standards for most things, not as a "hard and fast" rule that this is a value assigned to a person, but to serve as two things:
1. A baseline for Improvement/Regression
2. A general level of competency in a given area
The military's system really only takes into account two things: Core/Upper body strength, and Endurance.
With Push ups, Sit ups and a run, you've got a very vague impression of a persons ability to actually perform tasks under pressure.
Further, it fails to take into account diminshed returns.
For example, the functional difference between running a mile (unencumbered) in 6 minutes versus 7 is not particularly relevant if you're moving in a formation and your slowest person moves at an 8 minute mile pace. Since there is no way to reconcile this gradient in ability, Arbitrary numeric values are established.
The Air Force has an "aptitude" test for Special Operations, and it includes a good battery of exercises, with corresponding minimums. Each event must be passed or the entire test is a failure. The test is given with each even being "back to back", which tests endurance across categories. This is how I remember it:
2x 25M P/F (Surfacing constitutes a failure)
500 Meter Surface Swim - 12:00
1.5 Mile Run - 10:45
Push Ups - 45
Sit Ups - 45
Flutter Kicks - 45
Pull Ups - 6
This test does a good job doing away with the diminished returns, and testing a variety of skills, but it still doesn't test your ability to sprint under 60lbs of gear and aquire your target and make quick, clean shots.
What I'm driving at is this:
Is there a test we could use as a general guide for fitness that is more comprehensive?
Just some thoughts.
I have to laugh, just a little, at the goals you are suggesting - at least for me.
Fitness is very individual. Should we get as fit as we can? Absolutely. And as someone who decided to look for a second husband when my kids were grown, and stayed in shape for the twenty years to make that happen after my ex abandoned us, I know what it takes for me to stay in decent shape. I remarried at 54 and my level of fitness was a big reason why.
My career, up until a couple of years ago, usually meant that I walked 2-3 miles a day. Coupled with very eating healthy food and getting a lot of outdoor exercise (wearing a hat and sunscreen, and usually gardening), I joined gyms on a month-to-month basis when I was occasionally assigned to desk jobs. When in the gym, mostly I swam and used exercise bikes and treadmills, but I also lifted light weights and did a little resistance training.
That all changed when--three months after getting remarried--a congential problem with one of my hips caused me to despertely need a hip replacement. There was a six-month period of severly decreasing physical activity where I tried everything else first: cortisone shots, and PT - mostly to convince the insurance company a hip replacement was necessary. It got so bad I sprained my wrist leaning on a cane and needed crutches. Eventually, in March of 2010, the hip was replaced and I started on the road to recovery. During this time I was concerned that we'd have a crash and that I'd either not get the hip replaced or not recover in time to deal with a SHTF scenario. I was, as you can imagine, rather motivated to get well. But calesthenics and the sorts of fitness reginens I hear you folks talk about were not in the cards for me (except for Dimarie's post).
My fitness reginmen started with being able to walk again, and slowly increasing my stamina and distance. I joined a gym again, for a year, and did a lot of swimming - laps mostly, but a litlle water aerobics and worked my way up to small weights and resistance training again. I let the gym membership lapse when I was well enough to not only walk to the mailbox but around the neighborhood; I was unable to justify the expense to myself when I was able to do my own homeaking tasks. And now my "fitness habits" are being able to do my own chores, including intesive gardening, canning, massive home improvements and prep tasks (I am, by modern standards, very active... you all know the sorts of things preppers do.)
My goal now is to stay healthy as I cannot depend on a bankrupt healthcare system. For a younger person, fitness goals in this period of world history might be very different. But I see my goal as not only assisitng in my family's survival, but as a teacher and repository of knowledge. Frankly, how many pounds I can bench press, how many miles I can run, and how many push-ups I can do does not even enter into the equation.
Safewrite brings up excellent points. Fitness IS very indivdual. My father nearly died, and afterward just being able to dress himself was a success. He is now living by himself, a major accomplishment for someone we had a "should we pull the plug" meeting for.
Journals can be very helpful. For Safewrite, a journal could keep track of her progress, which is more important than "can I do 20 pullups?" A journal can also show you, quite clearly, what periods of laziness, er, inactivity, can do to you. There's no way I can even do half the workout I did last year, because I did too much ass-mashin' this year. Totally my fault. If i had an injury, though, it could also provide a realistic goal for me, based on past performance.
Another thing related to Safewrite's material is that if your fitness regimen gets you hurt, maybe it's not practical. I'm talking about the type of stuff athletes and ex-athletes like to do. A few years ago, i injured myself several times doing gymnastics-type work. Why? It does not serve "the end goal", which was in fact very similar to Safewrite, get as fit as you can. My injuries made me LESS suited to physical labor while I was recovering, the exact opposite of why I thought I was doing this in the first place!
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