Yesterday & Today : Pain !

Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-down

note: first appeared April 2015

Wow! Normally I have my articles ready days in advance to be published each morning. This morning I held off on it because I wanted to share with you something that came to light yesterday. Health & Physical Fitness.

I am 59, great health, and good physical condition. I do physical training 3 – 6 times a week. My normal workout consists of jogging, walking, push-ups, sit-ups and occasionally weight lifting. When I jog I go for 2 – 3 miles at a stretch. I have a specific routine that I worked on for years to meet the physical demands of my job. Annually I am tested to ensure I am field-ready. I have to walk 3 miles in 45 minutes or less wearing a wildland firefighter pack test45lb weight vest. That is a 4mph pace.

Now, before you roll your eyes and think how easy it is, try it yourself. If you are sub-30 years of age you should be able to do it easily if you maintained a healthy life-style and stayed active. If you are 30 – 40 it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for you if you are in good shape and play sports, hike, bike, etc. If you are over 50 you probably can’t do it, period…unless you have trained and work-out for it. As I turn 60 next week I can easily do it but my hips hurt like crazy during the last mile and for the next day. Yesterday was that test.

My hip hurt more than normal yesterday but I still had a very respectable time. I even beat a number of the 40-somethings. Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-downBut we had a work project to do yesterday as well. So immediately after the test I changed clothes and we headed off to the mountains to work on a thinning project. There were large piles of cut limbs and tree trunks waiting for us to chip. Thank means we pull the piles apart, drag the stuff to the chipper. and repeat until the pile is gone. Then go on to the next pile.

Some of you might be wondering why a US government firefighter supervisor is doing such manual labor. Well, when we are not fighting fire we do “project work” to help maintain federal lands to make them more resistant to wildfire. And, if I am going to ask my guys to do it, then I am going to do it as well. I don’t go on all the projects but enough of them to show that I only ask them to do what I am willing to do as well. And to remember what I am asking of them.

So the average age of these guys is in the 28 – 32 age range. And they are all in very impressive physical shape. And the only thing I have going for me is my ego. I won’t be out-done!

So we wrapped it up yesterday about 3:00pm and headed in, cleaned up and went home. Yeah, and then it started…the pain.

I took an Aleve. Then I laid down. Then I got up to eat dinner and took two Ibuprofens. Then I laid back down. I went to bed at 8:00pm.

I got up this morning at 5:30am which is usual for me. But…and that is a serious “but” that I speak of. I was hurting. My hips hurt a lot, my back hurts some, as does my arms. And I am worn out.

So why in the heck am I sharing this with you? Simple…at least it’s simple to me.

During times of emergencies, disasters, but most assuredly during a “grid-down” it will be very physically demanding. Probably far exceeding whatever you might normally be used to. So I make the following suggestions, have an exercise routine that is right for you:Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-down

1 – The #1 thing to do is walk. I would suggest you make a target of walking a minimum of 10-miles per week, in a minimum of 2-mile increments. Walking might well be the #1 thing you will do during rough times, and a lot of it.

2 – Lift weights. No, I am not talking about body-building weight lifting. I am talking about Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-downcommon-sense kind of weight lifting. Start with maybe 5lb dumb-bells and doing regular curls, French curls, then overhead press, then tricep lift, etc. Work up to maybe 5 reps of 10 curls each. Do that for a maximum of 90-days and move to the next higher 5lb increment. It’s really up to you, but weight lifting can really improve your health, mental and physical, while improving your core strength.


3 – Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-downPush-ups. Yeah, good old fashion push-ups are great for you. You don’t have to be some one-armed or one-legged push up crazy person but just do them at your own pace. For me I do mine inclined. I broke my back in three places over 25 years ago in a house fire. Since then I have to do my push-ups with my shoulders at about 2’ higher than my feet to take some of the stress off of my back. Or I can do push-ups from my knees vs. my toes (called a woman’s push-up in the old days). When I am at the track doing my jogging I stop on every lap and do a set of push-ups. So when I am done with my 3 mile jog I have done 90 – 180 push-ups as well.

4 – !!!Stretch!!! This is the single most important part of exercising! I spend about 6 minutes stretching before I do my Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-downjog with push-ups. I do the following:

  • Arm windmills.
  • Arm stretching to the front and then to the rear.
  • Next I do toe touches with my feet together.
  • Then ground touches with my feet about should width apart.
  • Then ground touches with my feet spread as far as they will comfortably go.
  • Physical fitness and exercising for grid-down and emergencies, stay in shape for grid-downThen 12” from the ground touches with my feet crossed over each other (outside of one foot laid alongside of the other foot). I do each foot twice.

5 – When I am done jogging and the push-ups I do the same stretch routine and add:

  • Holding a 3” fence post with one hand I swing each leg forward/up and backward/up as far they will go.
  • Holding a 3” fence post with both hands I swing each leg left/up and right/up as far they will go.

This exercise routine has done wonders for me! Since doing it passionately week after week my lung capacity has significantly improved. My blood pressure is now 108/68. And my stamina is far better than when I was lazy and wasn’t committed to an exercise program.

So back to yesterday and this morning – If I wasn’t into a good exercise program I can’t imagine what would have happened to me yesterday. Maybe a heart attack. This morning might even be worse. But most importantly it reminded me how important it is to be “prepared” physically and not just have food storage, water filtration and a closet full of guns/ammo.

I will be stepping up my physical training, pushing myself just a little more. Not sure what to do about the hip pain, growing old can do that to you.

Family hiking, bugging out, during grid-downHow does this all affect you? I want you to think about this and see where you are. Is this an area of preparedness that you need to work on a little bit more? Maybe just a little?

Maybe just start by taking a walk with your family a couple of evenings a week.




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