Fitness for Survival


Your chances of living through an event such as being stranded in the wilderness or civil unrest will greatly increase if you have a healthy capable body and mental determination.  These are not the only factors by any means, but when all else is equal, someone who can cover 10 miles of rough terrain a day with a pack will have a great advantage over someone that has a hard time with 20 minutes on the elliptical machine.

And while it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog, someone that has the ability to lift two or three times their body weight probably has this strength because they have the ability to push themselves.  Training hard now can give you the edge you need to make it through the inherent physical and mental challenges of survival.


Perhaps the most potentially beneficial physical skill set that one can have for nearly any survival scenario is long-distance mobility.  Whether stranded in the wilderness, fleeing a disaster area, or scavenging supplies, your odds will increase with every mile you have the ability to cover.  This might also be the most enjoyable training since all you need to do is put on a camelback and hit your favorite trail.  As your abilities increase, add distance and weight to your pack.  If that’s not enough, try more challenging terrain or covering the same ground in less time.

Speed and Agility

Speed and agility are not as applicable in wilderness survival since no amount of training will have you out-running a grizzly. But if you are running from rioters or engaged in a prolonged firefight, you will want to be able to move quickly.  And the practice of pushing yourself through your physical comfort zone will also push your mental comfort zone, something that is transferable to the wilderness or any situation.  40-meter sprints, box jumps, burpees, and pull-ups will help increase your agility.


You don’t need to have t-shirt tearing triceps to survive, in fact feeding bulking muscles isn’t easy under good conditions, let alone when fighting to survive.  But strength can be a great asset when you have to carry water, lift someone who is wounded, or fight off an attacker.  If you have access to weights focus on basic exercises like dead lifts, squats, bench press, overhead press, and bent over row.  If you are working out at home without equipment practice pistol squats, high jumps, push-ups, wall walks or handstand push-ups, pull-ups, and planks.


The only tool that you are always going to have with you is your body, and it’s the only one you get.  Don’t stock up on supplies and neglect the one thing that you can’t live without.

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