Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Physical Fitness as a part of Emergency Preparedness

In order to be prepared for an emergency, one must consider the following questions:
  • Am I fit enough to walk out of here (10 - 20 miles or more) if I have to in order to survive?
  • Could I carry a pack that far?
  • Could I carry my child?
  • Could I dig myself or others out of a mudslide?
  • Am I strong enough to construct an emergency shelter, haul wood to a fire for heat and heft heavy kettles onto that fire?
  • Can I lift sandbags?

If not, you need to begin a fitness program. The benefits are not only that you will be prepared for emergencies, but include enhanced health in mind, body and soul. There is also a financial benefit in that health care costs will be reduced.


Definitions and performance standards of physical fitness vary. However, most experts agree that the five basic components aer:

  1. Cardio-respiratory or Aerobic Endurance: The ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time. It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise. Also called aerobic fitness.
  2. Muscular Endurance: The ability to hold a particular position for a sustained period of time, or repeat a movement many times. This could be the capability to required to hold a two pound weight above your head for five minutes or the effort to lift that weight 20 consecutive times. Muscular endurance is required to maintain balance.
  3. Muscular Strength: The ability to exert maximum force, such as lifting the heaviest weight you can budge, one time. It is possible to have muscular strength in one area (i.e. arms) while lacking strength in another area (i.e. legs.)
  4. Flexibility: The ability to move a joint through its full range of motion; the elasticity of the muscle. This is how limber or supple you are.
  5. Body Composition: Relates to the proportion of fat in your body compared to your bone and muscle. It does not refer to your weight in pounds or your figure.


Sleep is a major component of fitness. When we don't enough sleep, it makes us more vulnerable to illness, accidents, irritability, conflict, and depression. We have less energy and even think less clearly when we constantly get less sleep than we need. Making up for this by sleeping in or napping over the weekend only partially solves the problem.

Try setting up a trade system with yourself to get the sleep you need. Make a list of everything you do from the time you leave work until you go to bed and turn out the light. Make the same list for morning--from the time you wake until you close the car door to go to work. Do this for two weeks. By then, you know what you are doing and can shift some of that time to sleep time. The first week, eliminate one or two activities from your night list. Trade them for time at night by moving them until tomorrow or the weekend or eliminating them. By excluding one or two activities, you may gain 15 to 30 minutes more sleep.


The time to begin exercising is now. However, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. As long as your doctor agrees, you are never too old to start an exercise program. The fitness program should include weight training and aerobic exercise.

  • Work muscles with weights for a total body workout at least twice a week. This should be combined with 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 4 times per week.
  • Cardiovascular exercise should include five minutes each of warm up and cool down plus thirty minutes of exercise at your correct aerobic heart rate. After three months, you should see a difference in the way your clothes fit. You should feel it in our motivation, energy level and metabolism.
  • Dense muscle fiber burns calories which will help you lose weight in the long run. In the short run, however, muscle weighs more than fat so you may gain weight at first, therefore, only weight once a month. Rather, use the way your clothes fit plus your mirror as indicators of how many inches you are losing.


Walking is a good exercise for people of any age, fitness level, body build, energy level, etc. In about two weeks of regular walks, blood pressure begins to drop. With another week or two, unless you increase fat intake, cholesterol counts are lower. With each month of walking, your heart and lungs become stronger and more efficient. Your resting pulse rate decreases, too, a sign of better health. Even your bones will become stronger. If you keep walking and don't change your diet, you will lose a pound or two per month. Reduce your calorie intake slightly and lose even more. This is because you burn calories when you walk. The faster you walk, the more calories you burn in a set time period. Your metabolism stays slightly higher for a few hours after you exercise, burning even more calories; and your lean muscle mass increases and burns even more calories. You have a good chance of maintaining weight loss if you continue your walks. 90% of people who walked regularly kept off lost weight, while only 34% of non-walkers maintained their weight loss.

Walking offers the following benefits:

  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Disease Prevention (heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and hypertension)
  • Psychological benefits (reduced depression, anxiety and tension
  • Increased energy
  • Toned muscles
  • Youthful appearance and energy levels

A good walking program includes setting goals, making a commitment to follow the program and measurable results. Researchers found walking with hand-held weights especially beneficial.

When walking, one should begin slowly, pick up the pace gradually until there is a feeling of exertion during the walk and result in a feeling of pleasant fatigue at the end. Walks should be at least 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times weekly at 60-80% of one's maximum heart rate. As always, check with your doctor before you start your walking routine.


Water is cool and relaxing, supports the body, adds natural resistance that helps tone and strengthens the muscles of the body, and will help heal any muscle strains.


  1. You do not need to be able to swim to benefit from water exercises. You don't need to have your face in the water. any sustained stroke (including dog paddle) for swimming back and forth across the shallow end of a pool will suffice for aerobic exercise.
  2. If you swim, however, vary your strokes to work different muscle groups and allow you to swim longer. If you can't swim 20-30 minutes straight, work up to this by swimming for five minutes, then resting for one minute.
  3. Equipment necessary to start swimming consists of a bathing suit and an available pool. Swim goggles, kick boards, hand paddles and flippers can come later (or never.)
  4. Parents can take older children swimming while working out as long as they can swim unsupervised, of course, because otherwise you will be distracted.
  5. Swimming is easy on the joints.


Check with your doctor first; warm up before each water work-out; stretch out after each swim. Use sunscreen if you are swimming outdoors; check out the pool and water depth before you begin, especially if you are a poor swimmer. Realize that your maximum heart rate is 13 beats per minute slower when swimming than with other exercising. Also look for a pool that is clean and safe, has a large shallow area, has hours that fit your lifestyle and is relatively uncrowded at the times you need to use it.

Compiled by Carol A. Pooley from

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Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


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