5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF

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5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF

As we prepare for emergencies of all levels, many of us stockpile water, food, first aid supplies and more.  What happens should those supplies run out?  What happens if the garden needs tilling and access to fuel machinery is limited or completely gone?

As Amy said in her post about running for our lives, many of us think we’ll do it what needs to be done, because, well, it now suddenly needs to be done. I believe that’s true, but I also believe many of us underestimate just how difficult that will be.

Building endurance now will make handling potential future emergencies in the future so much easier, and is so much healthier for our bodies anyway.

Endurance is more than just physical. We need to build up our mental toughness as well.  Many of us, myself included, are spoiled, and maybe a little soft, because of all our modern conveniences.

Here are 5 ways to build endurance before SHTF.  None of these will take tons of time from your busy schedule but all might be more than a little helpful in the long run.

1. Do Hard Labor

5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF - The Survival MomUse a rake and a wheelbarrow to haul leaves to the compost pile. Don’t ride the lawn tractor or use the leaf blower.  Split wood with a maul instead of a gas-powered wood-splitter. Walk to the grocery store and carry your groceries home in a backpack or haul them home in a wagon. Mend clothing by hand or with a treadle machine instead of your electric one.

We all think we can do things if we have too, but they’re generally harder than we think. Building muscle, and muscle memory, now will help later and keep us healthier now. It’s much easier to stay healthy and fit than it is to become fit. Hard labor is just that, hard. However, it gets us out of our comfort zone which is important, not only for our physical endurance but our mental endurance as well.

2. Get Uncomfortable

5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF - The Survival MomTurn the air-conditioning off. Feel the heat and find ways to deal with it. Don’t burn a fire on a borderline chilly day. Let’s feel, really feel, like we need to preserve our precious resources more and put on an extra layer of clothes until the sun naturally warms up the house. Skip that extra cookie.  I’m not for total deprivation, but remember that the extra cookie is a bonus, not a right.

Spend a weekend without electricity

It’s one thing to think we can handle any situation, it’s a completely different thing to experience it. Often, this particular step will help build our mental toughness as us much as our physical endurance. Take some time and get uncomfortable. And while you’re there…

3. Push Yourself

5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF - The Survival Mom“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up.  It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired. You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.”  – George Patton

Pull another row of weeds. Walk or run the extra quarter mile. Put on an extra layer of clothing and go for a short walk on the extra cold, windy day. Make your body do it. 

Don’t push until the point of injury but do realize your body is capable of a lot and that we just need to make our brains say so. There’s a giant sense of accomplishment that comes from doing this, from making our bodies do something that feels impossible or, at the very least, difficult. That sense of accomplishment builds upon itself and leads to all kinds of new ways in which we can physically and mentally handle hard labor and difficult times.

4. Rest Well

5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF - The Survival MomTruly rest at the end of the day. Most of us don’t do this. We’re all trying to fit in one more thing in all of our modern busy schedules. We’re racing to sports or trying to catch up on work or putting the final touches on homework.

However, rest is important for building endurance. No matter what an athlete is training for, they understand the importance of rest days, and I maintain, that’s just as important for those of us prepping.

We need to not only give our bodies rest but our minds as well. We should use time to rest our bodies and rejuvenate with our families in the evenings. Time spent reading, playing games, working on crafts, or simply just being together instead of working more. This rests the body and the mind, and helps us…

5. Find Gratitude

5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF - The Survival MomMany of us confuse hard work with drudgery. It’s hard to be grateful for drudgery. However, we can almost find gratitude in a job well done. We can find gratitude for the fact that our bodies can rake leaves and those leaves will turn into amazing compost that will feed our families.

Take time to cultivate this attitude of gratitude. Keep a journal (The Gratitude Habit: A 365 Day Journal), talk about gratitude over dinner with family, make it a part of every day and before you know it, thinking any other way will be hard to fathom.

By no means is this an exhaustive or all-inclusive way to build endurance but it is a good start for many of us.  Do you have a preferred method for building endurance?  If not, are you going to start now?

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Kathie N. Lapcevic is a farmer, writer, teacher, and homebody living in northwest Montana with her soul-mate, Jeff.

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10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Build Endurance Before SHTF”

  1. I really enjoyed this little post. It is something a lot of preppers don’t really talk about but…SO important! Thanks!

  2. Love this post. It’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of years.

    We don’t have airco. We use a double layer of curtains. When the sun is hot we use them both until the sun is at the other side of the house. Then the curtains at that side are all closed. In the evening, night and early hours of the morning, we open windows and doors, to let the cooler air cooldown the rest of the house. When it is very hot, we drench the curtains with water. the breeze coming through the curtains becomes even cooler.

    Last year our water heater broke down. All I had to do to have it fixed was one phonecall. Because we live in a rental house, no costs would be made. First I said that I would do it after the weekend (it was a friday). When the weekend had passed, I told my daughter (the only one complaining, because she was desperate for a shower to wash her hair) I would call after she went to te gym. (She could take a shower over there and she really needed to go there to work out) and when she got back. I had thought really hard on this matter and I had come to the conclusion that is was ‘summer’ and I would really like to try to live without it for a couple of weeks. In the end we did without from may until october. It was very good for our waterbill. It had dropped dramatically. No long showers, no baths. Just a quick cold shower, it really wakes you up. Only washing our hair was a problem. My daughter did that at the gym. I went to a friend.

    About two years ago I heard that once upon a time (don’t know which period, maybe the 1950’s?) the temperature in the houses was mostly 15 degrees C (don’t know how much F that is). These days, most people have a room temperature of 21 degrees. We decided to try this lower temperature. We have lived that way for two winters now. We have the sweaters, the woolen socks, thick blankets etc.. When SHTF, we’ve got everything we need. That’s a comforting idea.

    Last year we’ve tried to live of 30 euro’s a week for 4 people. We did it as a sport and it was fun. We managed for months. And it was funny to see the shock on other peoples faces when we told them.

    And last year october I decided with a friend to stop clothes shopping for a year. Within two weeks she forgot and bought something, but I managed for a long period. Untill I lost so much weight that I really needed something new. So I bought underwear, a new pair of jeans and some t-shirts and dresses in a second hand shop.

    As long as you can see all this endurance as some kind of sport, it can be fun. And as it is fun, it is no hardship. And when SHTF you’re a major step ahead of all other people.

  3. I am 68 going on 69. I believe in hard work and try to work at my garden and house . My husband has diabetes and has a large ulcer on his right heel so I have to tend to him most of the time. My question is it to late in life for me to get into a healthy condition? I like walking but hard to find time. I have been prepping for the last four years on and off and believe that America is in sad shape financially and morally and we need to be prepared for attacks on our soil either by other countries or from within. We are on a fixed income and insurance is eating our lunch so it is hard to buy food for stockpile but I try. My endurance is my most worry and need advice at my age as what to do. If someone could suggest something to get me going I would be grateful .

    1. Linda: I know of your struggles, and I know that our Blessed Lord will support and guide you as to what you need to be doing. Believe it or not, you are doing more than many others and you can get a wealth of information on this site.
      May I say, do the very best you can. God will multiply your supplies, give you the strength you need, as you need it. Why? because you are doing the best you can. Try very hard to take a few minutes to sit and reflect on what He wants you to do,now at this moment. And, please take a few moments of silence, whenever possible, to listen not only with your ears, but with your heart.
      My cousin gave me some advice re: preparation…if for example you are buying a food item, buy one or two extra. Especially if on sale. You are not alone. This is what we try to do, but like you, there are times it isn’t possible. My husb will be 76 and I will be 75. I know how hard it is. Jesus…we trust in You. God Bless you dear Linda.

  4. One thing that people seem to leave out is keeping cool under pressure. Learning to deal with stress is just as important as our physical conditioning. Learn calming and meditation techniques to help cool your head.

  5. I do a lot of the things mentioned on this list. I do not have. Running car so I walk the 1.5 miles to the store and lug all the stuff back home. I carry the lawn clipping bag to the compost and we only have a push mower so you know.
    This summer my family went without air conditioning. Thank goodness we only broke 90 a couple of times this year.
    Basically what I’m saying is that any one can increase their endurance. It just takes patience.

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