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.
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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
Use 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
Turn 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.
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
“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
Truly 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
Many 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?